CABIN & Indigenous Knowledge
Living Lakes Canada learns from experience in the field with First Nation communities and with mentoring from Canada’s top water scientists. We develop and deliver successful citizen science, community-based water monitoring initiatives, and are the one of the only Canadian NGO trained by Environment and Climate Change Canada to train community groups, professionals, industry and First Nation communities in the CABIN methodology (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network), which is the most widely used national protocol to assess stream health.
We are partnering with First Nation communities across British Columbia to simultaneously integrate traditional western science by using the standardized CABIN protocol with the inclusion of indigenous language, as the first stages of a cultural preservation project. Living Lakes Canada will continue with the momentum developed in the Cultural Connections Pilot project in partnership with the Ktunaxa Nation Council to integrate Indigenous Knowledge and western science for joint watershed health evaluation and stewardship to support informed decision-making, working towards on the ground examples of Reconciliation in action.
The 2019 field season includes workshops with the Liard River Guardians (Dene Nan Yadeh) program and 9 different First Nation representatives from the Skeena watershed. Staff support from the province is being provided via the Environmental Stewardship Initiative to ensure coordination with the First Nation representatives attending the CABIN training in the Skeena. Financial support is provided through the province covering training costs. With additional resource support, this program has the potential to expand and include more communities and research for evolving the CABIN database.
CABIN & environmental DNA
Living Lakes Canada and partners, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, University of Guelph and WWF-Canada, are field testing the use of Environmental DNA (eDNA) for benthic invertebrates.
eDNA is an emerging tool for monitoring present biodiversity. It uses gene sequencing linked to DNA/RNA barcode libraries to allow for faster, more complete profile of biodiversity content from very small samples. This will make benthic invertebrate analysis faster, more accurate and more affordable for community groups water quality monitoring initiatives. Target regions are selected based on WWF's Freshwater Health Assessment data deficient areas for benthics, which included the Sunshine Coast and Central Ottawa for the initial year.
For the 2019 field season, Living Lakes Canada and team will be in the Liard watershed in Northern B.C. in August working in partnership with the Lower Post Guardians to establish a biomonitoring program and host a two-day CABIN field practicum. Staff support from the province is being provided via the Ministry of Environment for monitoring site selection to build out the CABIN database with Reference Sites. Financial support has been offered for water quality and benthic sample analysis at Reference Sites. With additional resource support, the program could train more community members to monitor their waterways and contribute data to the national database, filling data deficiencies.