Assessing Aquatic Ecosystem Health Benefits Arising from Activities Associated with Community-Based Monitoring
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In Canada, government funding cutbacks have decreased the capacity for government- sponsored water quality monitoring. In response, many community-based water monitoring (CBWM) organizations have been established that have undertaken the role of water monitoring and restoration. CBWM has the potential to aid in greater understanding of aquatic ecosystems and to assist in restoring ecosystems degraded by anthropogenic stressors; however, CBWM is often faced with challenges of credibility and capacity, and there is very little understand how, and if, CBWM benefits the ecosystems where they are established. To address this knowledge gap, my research utilizes a case study approach of 5 CBWM organizations within Atlantic Canada to identify and assess the potential ecosystem benefit of 15 different restoration projects. Using semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation, my research looks at the planning, conducting, and follow-up of each projects and identifies cases where monitoring and restoration have led to benefits within aquatic ecosystems.