Having access to something like DataStream really helps us with our objective of making data accessible and usable. And that’s a really important tool for any citizen science program.Bradley Peter, Alberta Lake Management Society
Communities and Monitoring Groups
Communities and monitoring groups in the Lake Winnipeg watershed are gathering critical information about the health of their shared waters through a diversity of monitoring, stewardship and guardian programs.
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Water quality monitoring in Alberta is undertaken by a broad range of groups including First Nation communities, federal and provincial agencies, non-governmental organizations, and engaged individuals. Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) play an important, collaborative role in relationship-building, data and information sharing, and providing direction for water management in order to achieve Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy objectives. The Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) works closely with WPACs, the province, and citizen scientists to build an evidence base for comprehensive management of lakes and reservoirs in Alberta, including those associated with the Lake Winnipeg watershed.
In Manitoba, water monitoring within the Lake Winnipeg watershed relies on the joint efforts of multiple communities and groups working to develop a regional understanding of water quality. The list of groups monitoring and protecting freshwater health in the watershed is growing, and includes federal and provincial governments, citizen scientists, First Nation and Métis communities, industries, researchers and NGOs. This includes the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF). Since 2016, LWF has been co-ordinating the Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN), a growing network of conservation organizations and citizen scientists that is identifying phosphorus hotspots across Manitoba’s landscape. LWCBMN volunteers follow scientifically vetted sampling protocols to ensure LWCBMN data is credible and easily integrated into evidence-based decision-making.
The Lake Winnipeg watershedcoversa large portion of Northwestern Ontario including the Lake of the Woods area and sub-watersheds of the English and Seine rivers and their tributaries. Within this region, the Experimental Lakes Area is home to one of Canada’s most important long-term aquatic ecology research sites. Here, a unique whole-ecosystem experimental approach is used to understand the impacts of stressors on lakes and watersheds, providing critical evidence to inform management not only of the Lake Winnipeg watershed, but of freshwater systems across Canada and internationally. Treaty 3 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario are laying the groundwork for community-based water monitoring programs in traditional territory within the Lake Winnipeg watershed.
In Saskatchewan, the Lake Winnipeg watershed encompasses the Saskatchewan and Assiniboine River drainage basins as well as that of Lake Manitoba. The rivers, lakes and streams that make up these freshwater systems span the better part of central and southern Saskatchewan, providing water for human and ecosystem health, recreation, and economic activities. Long-term water quality monitoring in Saskatchewan builds an understanding of freshwater health to inform local stewardship objectives including those outlined in water protection plans and agreements with First Nations, as well as cross-provincial and international water management frameworks.
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We are committed to working with communities and organizations throughout the region.