From our beginnings as an initiative of The Gordon Foundation, our goal was to support community involvement in freshwater stewardship.
We started in the Mackenzie River Basin, where lack of access to data was identified as a major barrier to freshwater protection. The Foundation teamed up with the Government of Northwest Territories to build a publicly accessible hub to house the results from 21 community monitoring initiatives — and ultimately other datasets across the basin.
The Mackenzie Basin was just the beginning.
Following the launch of Mackenzie DataStream in 2016, groups across the country were facing similar challenges and asked us to establish hubs in their watersheds. Within five years, The Gordon Foundation had created open-data portals for the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and the Atlantic provinces. It wasn’t simple to convert data from different sources into standardized formats, develop a user-friendly platform, and create a culture shift towards open data. But we’ve succeeded.
DataStream established as an independent charity
In 2021, we established the DataStream Initiative as an independent charity. Today, with ongoing support from The Gordon Foundation and others, we employ a team of software developers, water scientists and data specialists from coast to coast to coast. We’ve established ourselves as a go-to source for water quality data, a trusted community convener and thought leaders on data sharing practices and community-based monitoring.
We are committed to making environmental data a public good — now and for years to come.
DataStream has dramatically improved access to water data across Canada. But much work lies ahead. In the years to come, we will continue to work with organizations across jurisdictions and sectors. Our goal is to make data as readily available as possible to inform action when and where it is needed to protect freshwaters in Canada.