The results are in! National CBM Survey Highlights

March 15, 2018

Written by Aislin Livingstone

By Aislin Livingstone, The Gordon Foundation Water Program

Growing Momentum

Through a diversity of monitoring, stewardship and guardian programs, communities across Canada are playing an increasingly important role in gathering critical information about the health of their watersheds. As interest in community-based water monitoring (CBWM) grows, investments to organize and implement community-driven initiatives are being made. However, to realize the full potential of these efforts, there is a need for strategic thinking, collaboration, and coordination, including at the national level.

Our Survey

To find out more, the water team at The Gordon Foundation, Living Lakes Canada and WWF-Canada sent out an online survey to ask you – the water community – what federal support is needed to help sustain the growing CBWM network. Specifically, we hoped to:

  1. Build a better understanding of common issues CBWM initiatives face and prioritize future efforts around these; and,
  2. Identify strategic opportunities at the federal level to build on CBWM work across the country.

Who We Heard From

We heard back from 146 people from a wide range of backgrounds doing work in every corner of the country.

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We heard from technical leads, project coordinators, executive directors, volunteers, policy analysts, researchers, funders, government representatives, and many more. Most respondents represented non-governmental organizations (45%) and government departments at different levels (17%).

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Priorities to Advance CBWM in Canada - What We Heard

Among other issues identified, participants pointed out that in many cases, despite the successes of CBWM programs - data collected are not being used to their full potential and groups are struggling to maintain long-term monitoring activities on a shoestring budget.

When asked to identify their specific concerns, the highest ranked priorities included: sustainable funding (33%), data management (17%), interjurisdictional coordination (16%), communicating results (15%), and strategic monitoring (8%) .

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Collective Action is Needed

Survey respondents agree that there are opportunities for national-level supports to help sustain and network CBWM across the country. Participants further agree that convening a national discussion would help federal departments put in place more effective institutional and collaborative processes to maximize the value and impact of CBWM.

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Our key findings from open-ended responses suggest that outcomes from a national discussion should focus on:

Next Steps

We are taking the advice provided through our survey and running with it! Stay tuned for more information on our plans for an upcoming national-scale gathering on CBWM. This event is intended to highlight the successes of CBWM to-date and identify key opportunities for the federal government to help sustain this growing movement.

This is a collaborative initiative being led by The Gordon Foundation, Living Lakes Canada, and WWF-Canada.

To see all of the survey highlights please visit:

Feature image credit: Living Lakes Canada

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