Photo Credit: Living Lakes Canada


The Collaborative Monitoring Initiative (CMI) is a partnership of BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative and Watersheds BC, both projects of MakeWay, and the POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

CMI is improving outcomes for BC watersheds by supporting Indigenous and non-Indigenous community-based water monitoring groups through creating a province wide “community of practice” that helps build watershed related monitoring capabilities and competencies. CMI also uses this experience to help in scaling up a long term province wide collaborative program that aligns with regional, provincial, and federal watershed management efforts.

Three people standing outside in front of green bushes
Left: Oliver Brandes, Co-Director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, based at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies (CFGS), where he leads the award-winning POLIS Water Sustainability Project.  Middle: Ania Javorski, Collaborative Monitoring Initiative Coordinator.  Right:  Ian Sharpe, Strategic Advisor for the Collaborative Monitoring Initiative.

British Columbia needs:

  • a comprehensive and collaborative, province wide approach,
  • standardized methods for water monitoring,
  • coordinated monitoring efforts for better integration of the myriad of data management systems in use.

This will help maximize the value of the data collected for planning and decision making as part of a provincial watershed security strategy.

CMI aims to connect the numerous monitoring groups and their programs across the province by supporting the growth of regional collaborative partnerships. This creates economies of scale, assists in setting watershed scale objectives, and integrates monitoring programs to better meet province wide cumulative effects challenges.  All governments recognize the need for this level of collaboration,  and their support for it is growing.

Water Leaders Network

CMI builds on the work and leadership of the BC Water Funders Collaborative by supporting communities in pooling the knowledge gained by water monitoring and influencing policy making at many levels. This approach emphasizes one of the four “Ps” embraced by the Water Funders Collaborative (Pooling Knowledge, People, Places and Policy), in a way that integrates all four.

Pooling Knowledge Strategy:

  1. Watershed reports are available & informed by Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Western science, and community-based water monitoring
  2. Water monitoring initiatives are informing decision making
  3. British Columbians are engaged in community-based monitoring

Approximately 200 monitoring and reporting initiatives have been identified across BC, with 40+ diverse data hubs being used for sharing data online. By working to standardize these monitoring programs and data systems, and build competencies among communities, CMI can increase trust in the large amount of data generated. This added credibility will result in better integration of the data in regional, provincial, and national levels of watershed related planning and decision making.

CMI’s outreach and education efforts are providing existing and new tools and guidance to Community Based Water Monitoring groups. This includes a web based resource library that consolidates this information for easy access. Resources housed or linked to in the library are curated for their relevance to community based monitoring groups’ needs, including guidance, training, and protocol materials for monitoring, planning, operations, data management, data sharing, and reporting.

CMI’s mandate to support pooling knowledge helps:

(i) inform policy development,

(ii) engage people where they live, and

(iii) inform better place-based decision making.

Advisory Network

CMI has assembled an Advisory Network to help develop and implement priorities.  This network currently consists of over a dozen highly experienced people representing many organizations and disciplines related to water monitoring and management. This includes representation from local, regional, provincial, and federal governments, First Nations organizations, regional collaborative monitoring champions, water leaders and funders, veteran water management and monitoring professionals/managers and academics.

Members provide formal input through scheduled workshops and meetings, as well as ad hoc review and comment on issues and activities over the course of the initiative.  The Advisory Network provides regional knowledge and advice to guide the work and to help ensure that the CMI Coordinator’s work is supporting the advancement of inclusive province wide water quality monitoring and reporting efforts.  It also provides a conduit for CMI to expand its reach among monitoring groups and influence among senior governments.

The combined efforts of CMI personnel and Advisory Network members provide the needed momentum in establishing CBM as an integral component in BC’s water monitoring systems. The desired long-term outcomes are:

  • To identify and remove barriers to progress in the desired evolution of CBM through the collaborative actions of the CMI and Advisory Network members.
  • The emergence of new ideas and approaches through collaborations to sustaining and growing CBM in BC.
  • For governments, industries, ENGOs and communities to coalesce around a common vision of participation in water monitoring and its place in adaptive management.




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