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Water 2017, 9(3), 212; doi:10.3390/w9030212

Monitoring, Restoration, and Source Water Protection: Canadian Community-Based Environmental Organizations’ Efforts towards Improving Aquatic Ecosystem Health

1
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, 1459 Oxford St, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
2
Department of Geography and Planning & Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, 68 University Ave, Kingston, ON K7L 3N9, Canada
3
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, St. Mary’s University, 923 Robie St, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Patrick
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 4 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3659 KB, uploaded 13 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

In Canada, environmental monitoring has been the responsibility of government for decades; however, funding cutbacks have left many agencies unable to provide comprehensive coverage. This has stimulated a rise in community-based water monitoring (CBWM) organizations. These organizations, operating at multiple scales, have tasked themselves with monitoring aquatic ecosystems. Additionally, they often engage in restoration projects stemming from their monitoring work. Despite the growing abundance of CBWM organizations, there is uncertainty as to whether their activities lead to aquatic ecosystem benefits. A thematic analysis of photographic and qualitative interview data was employed to examine restoration projects conducted by five CBWM organizations, and the projects’ potential impact on source waters. Findings show that while they are conducting activities that show physical change, which is indicative of ecosystem improvement, examples of measurable responses within aquatic ecosystems remain rare. Monitoring, restoration, and source water protection processes are challenged by a lack of funding, capacity, and monitoring procedures. Funding, particularly, restricted the extent to which monitoring could be conducted and influenced project scope and scale. This leads to a lack of capacity to conduct large-scale restoration and rigorous scientific monitoring. Consequently, our findings highlight the issues with detecting effects of small-scale projects at the watershed scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: community-based water monitoring; restoration; environmental assessment; aquatic ecosystems; source water protection; Canada; photo elicitation community-based water monitoring; restoration; environmental assessment; aquatic ecosystems; source water protection; Canada; photo elicitation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garda, C.; Castleden, H.; Conrad, C. Monitoring, Restoration, and Source Water Protection: Canadian Community-Based Environmental Organizations’ Efforts towards Improving Aquatic Ecosystem Health. Water 2017, 9, 212.

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