Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau (G3E)
This is one of the featured case studies of the Elevating Community-Based Water Monitoring in Canada roundtable discussion.
G3E operates in Québec, Prince-Edward Island, French communities in New-Brunswick and Manitoba.
Since 1989, G3E has worked towards the protection of aquatic ecosystems. They have developed citizen science initiatives as well as educational and scientific tools useful for aquatic ecological monitoring. G3E invites communities to use them to keep an eye on the health of their home waters and to make informed decisions about conservation, restoration or awareness activities.
G3E operates many programs under four broader umbrellas: citizen science; nature and education; training and education toolkits; and broader public activities. Under the citizen science umbrella are three main programs, each with its own goals, target audience and methods: 1) J’adopte un cours d’eau (Adopt a River), 2) Survol Benthos (Benthic overview), and 3) Des cours d’eau branchés (Live-stream Your River App).
Having a team of regional coordinators has allowed the program to reach a greater area and audience and to collaborate with a diverse group of external partners. Knowledge sharing and transfer is achieved in large part by the regional coordinating team and the openness of G3E and its partners in sharing tools and experience.
Since 2000, 50,000+ youth and 50+ organizations have participated in G3E projects, and more than 275 bodies of water have been studied and adopted. The province uses the benthic data collected, which has doubled the territory covered by benthic monitoring. Regional coordinators, watershed groups, provincial parks and certain NGOs also integrate the data into their own assessments, guiding protection and conservation actions.
Having received initial support from ECCC’s Biosphere and from a variety of different partners, G3E now finances its activities through both government and private funding.
Each program targets different sectors of society, from education and school groups, other ENGOs and watershed groups, labs, government departments (such as SEPAQ) and the public. The different programs offer the training necessary for participants. Scientific and educational tools as well as protocols are adapted for the audience.
Adopt a River is an educational program with a citizen science approach. It encourages youth to take action to protect their rivers. Participants assess freshwater health through physicochemical and bacteriological tests, by monitoring benthic macroinvertebrates and recording fish observations. These activities are followed by environmental awareness raising and restoration efforts. The Survol Benthos program monitors the health of small streams using benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators. An online interactive map allows for anyone to quickly understand the health of sites using indices. The Live-stream Your River App is available through iTunes and includes a step- by-step protocol to quickly identify the health of a water body.
Des rivières surveillées: s’adapter pour l’avenir is a permanent CBWM project aiming to document the impact of climate change on riverine ecosystems.
For more information, see the G3E website: https://www.g3e-ewag.ca/