Community Based Monitoring in Canada

Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) is a fundamental part of collecting freshwater data in Canada. Mackenzie DataStream depends on the hard work of these CBM programs and their willingness to share their data online. However, many people around the country and the world do not know what CBM is or what it does.

Tyler Carlson (Simon Fraser University), Alice Cohen (Acadia University) and Kat Hartwig (Living Lakes Canada) have put together “ A Snapshot of Community Based Water Monitoring in Canada ” to help educate people on CBM and answer some important questions surrounding the topic.

This report surveyed over a hundred Canadian CBM organizations and created a current “ snapshot ” of CBM in Canada.

"Our research, consisting of a nation-wide survey of CBM organizations, indicates that CBM programs are filling information gaps on watershed health, informing decision-making at various levels of government, and fostering environmental stewardship in communities across Canada." — (Executive Summary of The Report)

This document answers some of the following important questions people might have including:

  1. Where are CBM organizations located?
  2. How many exist ?
  3. What are they testing for?
  4. How are the data analyzed ?
  5. How are CBM programs funded?
  6. Where is data being housed and managed ?
  7. How is the data accessed ?
  8. What is the relationship between CBM and policy development ?

The report not only gives a snapshot of the CBM programming happening in the country, but also some of the benefits and reasons for success.

"Some of the key strengths of CBM are its cost-effectiveness compared to government programming, and its diverse and place-based focus. " — (Conclusion of The Report)

The report also emphasizes the increasing numbers of CBM programs in Canada, some of which provide their data to Mackenzie DataStream.

Community-based monitoring is playing a formative role in monitoring the health of Canada’s watersheds. This is particularly relevant when federal and provincial governments’ capacity to monitor rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands can be uncertain due to shifting priorities and funding constraints. " — (Conclusion from The Report)

If you are interested in reading the full report please click here.

Tyler Carlson : Graduate Student, Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University

Alice Cohen : Earth & Environmental Science and Environmental & Sustainability Studies, Acadia University

Kat Hartwig : Executive Director, Living Lakes Canada