Water stewardship is more important than ever as toxic algal blooms and uninhabitable water temperatures continue to impact the health of our national water bodies. After managing local lake stewardship groups in B.C, Georgia Peck, the program coordinator for Living Lakes Canada, and her co-coordinator, Camille Leblanc, saw first-hand how water monitoring can improve the conditions of a community and its surrounding habitats. “Our experience made us realize that there’s a continuing need to normalize water stewardship throughout the country to raise water awareness,” says Peck.
In response to this need for national collaboration, Peck and Leblanc created an annual National Lake Blitz event for all Canadians to take part in until September. As a participant, you’ll help provide a snapshot of Canada’s freshwater temperatures by sampling your local lake one to four times per month. Lake Blitz Kitz are provided by your local stewardship group and contain a thermometer and instructions on data collection. It’s the coordination team’s mission to “standardize water stewardship by providing simple, accessible, and engaging community-based water monitoring and citizen science opportunities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Canada,” Peck says.
You can also take part in the project’s Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge until the end of July. All you need is a camera or a smartphone and a Canadian lake. The goal is to take a photo that captures the biodiversity of your lake or an eye-opening display of the human threats to its health without disturbing the natural environment. The most biodiverse and impactful photos will be winners. “So far, more than 50 participants across Canada have signed up with a stewardship group or submitted a biodiversity photo,” says Peck. “That means Lake Blitz volunteers are monitoring 50 individual bodies of water.”
To connect with your local stewardship group or to submit a photo to the Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge, reach out to Lake Blitz coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our goal is to get Canadians thinking about the health of their local lake and to take personal responsibility for it by volunteering with their stewardship group,” says Peck. “We need a collective effort for everyone to become more informed about how climate change impacts our water.”