Canadian Watershed Research Consortium

INITIATIVES Page Image watersheds

Canadian Water Network established a Canadian Watershed Research Consortium in 2010 to support the development of regional cumulative effects assessment frameworks. Cumulative effects assessment involves monitoring and predicting environmental impacts that accumulate over time. The Consortium has since contributed to a community of practice leading to more consistent monitoring approaches, better understanding of baseline conditions and variability, as well as predictive models and adaptive management.

Our synthesis report brings together insights from the Consortium’s six research nodes created in diverse watersheds across Canada. These include: Slave River and Delta in the Northwest Territories, Tobacco Creek in Manitoba, Grand River and Muskoka River in Ontario, Northumberland Strait in the Atlantic, and Saint John Harbour in New Brunswick. Although not a formal node, research was also conducted in the Murray River watershed in British Columbia.

Each research node tailored its approach to meet specific knowledge and decision needs of the region. Reports from the individual watershed nodes are bundled here within our report library:


Research Snapshot Watershed Nodes

Collective learnings across the research nodes translated into key recommendations for the design and implementation of cumulative effects monitoring frameworks. These insights highlighted the importance of:

  • Common understanding:
    Defining shared terminology, reaching agreement on what to measure, and developing consistent monitoring methods.
  • Partner-focused collaboration:
    Bringing partners together early in the process to support co-creation of a common vision and values.
  • Place-based approach:
    Tailoring science to watershed contexts as well as the capacity of partners and unique needs of communities and decision makers. No single shared framework can address the requirements of diverse watersheds.
  • Value-added benefits:
    Articulating concrete benefits, including cost savings, efficiencies, and enhanced credibility of new monitoring approaches, to encourage uptake.
  • Implementation:
    Linking monitoring frameworks to decision making processes. Taking a phased approach to adoption, and ensuring dedicated resources are available to sustain monitoring over the long-term. 

CWN's synthesis report takes a reflective look back at the Consortium and what was learned about adaptive monitoring and the implementation of collaborative cumulative effects monitoring frameworks.


Canadian Watershed Research Consortium Report EN 2016