UPPER ARCTIC BASIN ENGAGEMENT FOR WATERSHED HEALTHCategory: 2013, Completed, Grant, Major Project, Water
The Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol was developed by Environment Canada, and is an aquatic biological and chemical monitoring program for assessing freshwater ecosystems, primarily stream and river habitats. Community members trained in CABIN gain access to a suite of web-accessible tools and resources such as a national database of biological reference condition information, a data management system, analytical software and reporting tools. CABIN training provides the tools necessary for users to conduct consistent, comparable and scientifically credible assessments of streams. Results provide rationale to direct policy and planning efforts.
The complexity of issues in the Athabasca Watershed has been overwhelming for watershed communities to address. As a community-based organization, Living Lakes Canada (LLC) recognizes the value of a peer-to-peer approach to support the development of knowledge of water monitoring methods and the implementation of data so that community groups can help to direct policy development in their watersheds.
LLC members, Keepers of the Athabasca (KOA) and their supporters have expressed concern for the lack of public and government involvement in water monitoring, management and policy development, and incomplete datasets. Their vision for a healthy Arctic Basin begins at the community level, and they want to be involved in the solutions. KOA and their umbrella organization, Keepers of the Water (KOW) are comprised of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples; environmental groups; concerned citizens; and communities working together for the protection of the air and water in the Arctic Drainage Basin. Success of the Upper Arctic Basin project will be characterized by engaged aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in the upper reaches of the river, who are working together using a best practices approach to build community capacity and support for the protection and conservation of water quality.