About AB Enviro & Parks

Public servants working with Albertans to protect our environment.

Hide and go zoo?!

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) can run, but they most certainly can’t hide – especially with all the help we receive from our partners and concerned citizens who are always reporting suspicious species! This spring, one AIS was found and luckily, quickly lost this round of hide-and-go-seek.

You may be wondering, zoo is the culprit here? Yellow floating heart, that’s who! On
May 23rd, 2019, the Integrated Pest Management team from the City of Edmonton contacted the AIS team to report a weed issue in a moat adjacent to the lemur enclosure at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The AIS Specialist confirmed on May 27th that the plant was the Yellow Floating Heart 2prohibited species, Nymphoides peltata or yellow floating heart. This perennial species is native to Asia and Europe, and is a serious ecological threat to fish and their habitat by creating dense mats on the water’s surface, which crowd out native plants and reduce oxygen levels.

 

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Yellow Floating Heart roots in the soil and sends up leaves to float on the water surface. Flowers are bright yellow and have 5 petals. (Photo credit: Nicole Kimmel)

Fortunately, the moat system in the zoo is isolated and yellow floating heart has only been found in this one location. Unfortunately, the moat has been drained into a nearby storm drain that is connected to the North Saskatchewan River. This was concerning as yellow floating heart spreads in many ways: seed, rhizomes (below ground runners), stolons (above ground runners) and basically, through any fragments of the plant. The river is now under surveillance. Since this species is particularly challenging to eradicate, this weed issue quickly turned into an emergency response. On June 12th, the AIS team joined Edmonton Valley Zoo staff in hand removal of this plant. Water was hydro-vacuumed out of the moat and disposed of at hazardous injection well sites to ensure any possible fragments were not spread.

 

Yellow floating heart - Photo Credit Tanya Rushcall

AIS and Edmonton Valley Zoo staff hand removing all plants and fragments of yellow floating heart from the moat (Photo credits – Tanya Rushcall & Nicole Kimmel).

AIS and Edmonton Valley Zoo staff have been monitoring the site and will continue to dYellow Floating Hearto so for two additional years to guarantee yellow floating heart is no longer hiding in the shallows of the lemur moat! Although, an ASERT response was initiated, it’s thanks to reports like these that help us catch those AIS that hide and fuel us to seek immediate reactions. No more, “you’re it” but instead “you’re zoo out of here!”

 

How can you help?

  1. Don’t let it loose! Never release unwanted aquarium species – it’s illegal, unfair to native species and harmful to the environment.
  2. Report what you see! Call the AIS hotline at 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) or use the EDDMapS Alberta.
  3. Learn to identify Alberta’s 52 prohibited aquatic invasive species using our pocket guide.
  4. Fill out Fisheries and Oceans Canada survey on water gardens to help them gain a better understanding of the use and movement of aquatic plants.

Fish you were (NOT) here

There’s something fishy going on… and thankfully a few concerned citizens “caught” it!

On July 10th 2019, the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Hotline received a report of numerous dead fish in the Elbow River, just outside of Bragg Creek. Fish biologists confirmed on July 11th that the fish were tilapia. This warm-water species is native to Africa and the Middle East, and pose immense risks to native fish species by creating turbid waters and outcompeting them for food and space.

Tilapia 2 - Credit Travis Shield1

Photo credit: Travis Shield

Unfortunately for the tilapia, their warm-water loving trait likely lead to their demise – depending on the species, they can die from temperatures ranging from 7 to 17°C. Although, the Elbow River was 11.7°C on July 11th, the thermal shock from their tank environment to the Elbow River was enough to o-fish-ally end this scare. Tilapia’s intolerance for low water temperatures makes their establishment in the Elbow River highly unlikely, as temperatures between 0°C to 4°C are common in winter months. Even though the tilapia did not survive, any parasites or diseases that they may or may not have been carrying have the potential to affect native and stocked fish populations.

So how did these fish get into the Elbow River? Even if they end up on your dinner plate, they certainly do not belong in our rivers and streams! Tilapia have been introduced around the world as a food source, as they are easy to grow and are mild-flavored. There are several licensed aquaculture facilities in the Calgary area, where the fish could have been deliberately dumped from. Facilities have been contacted regarding this fish introduction, as the release of fish into Alberta waters is illegal and prohibited under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act.

Tilapia - Credit Paul Christensen1

Photo credit: Paul Christensen

Environment and Parks staff will continue to scale the Elbow and Bow Rivers to ensure the tilapia aren’t lured into any warm spots, where wastewater treatment plants discharge their water. You too can help us by keeping your eyes peeled while you’re fishing, floating or hiking in the area!

How can you help?

  1. Don’t let it loose! Never release unwanted aquarium species – it’s illegal, unfair to the fish and harmful to the environment.
  2. Report what you see! Call the AIS hotline at 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) or use the EDDMaps Alberta app.
  3. Learn to identify Alberta’s 52 prohibited aquatic invasive species using our pocket guide.

4. Fill out Fisheries and Oceans Canada survey on live seafood to help them gain a better understanding of the use and movement of commercially available live seafood.

The “crab-divating” story of illegal species transport

Alberta is always on the lookout for aquatic invasive species (AIS), specifically the 52 species listed as prohibited on the Fisheries (Alberta) Act. Sometimes, however, we get very interesting species that have the potential to get us in hot water, if they went undetected! Over the years, we have flushed out as many invasive species as we can and this month we will be elaborating on a few Aquatic Anomalies that have tried their luck at entering Alberta waters.

What wears mittens, enjoys long walks on the beach and has eight legs? The answer is… Chinese Mitten Crabs! At less than 10 cm in size, they may not seem like a big deal but these little crustaceans pack a big pinch by wreaking havoc both on the environment and human health. Importing these crabs into Canada alive is illegal without a license but recently, people have been testing the waters.

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Photo credit: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

On October 24th, 2018 the Canadian Border Services Association (CBSA) seized a shipment destined for a Calgary residence that was declared as “TV Lights”. This ill-marked Styrofoam box contained 21 kg of very real, very live Chinese Mitten Crabs. These greenish-brown crawlers are best known for their two claws with white tips and thick furry hair that resemble mittens. This species is native to East Asia and is considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine.

The shipment seized at the Calgary International Airport came from Hong Kong. Additionally, the importer did not have a fish import license, which is mandatory for anyone that wishes to import live fish or fish products. When CBSA finds an illegal species, they often connect with other government agencies more specialized in dealing with the species in question. In this situation, CBSA contacted both the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program staff and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The package was detained and the case was handed over to the CFIA, where the crabs were euthanized.

Luckily, this invasive species was detected and stopped, as Chinese Mitten Crabs can threaten aquatic ecosystems by eating fish eggs and damaging fish habitat through their burrowing activities. In Alberta, the extent of environmental threats was deemed low because the crabs were unlikely to survive, if released. However, this still left a human health concern. Chinese Mitten Crabs act as an intermediate host for the oriental lung fluke, a parasite that can be passed to humans who consume it raw.

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Photo credit: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The CBSA doesn’t just help in the fight against invasive species at the airport, they also collaborate with AIS program staff at land borders. In 2017, the province worked with CBSA to develop a border notification system to keep AIS staff informed when a boat passed the border outside of watercraft inspection station operating hours. Over 900 boats have been reported to date that could have otherwise been missed without this partnership. Collaboration is crucial to protect Alberta’s environment and ecosystems and we hope that you can continue to help us claw through the threat of aquatic invasive species by:

Alberta’s water scientists team up with EPCOR on 885 kilometer quest for improved data collection along the North Saskatchewan River

By Jeannine Goehing, Office of the Chief Scientist
August 2019

Have you ever noticed the changing colors of the water in the North Saskatchewan River – from clear teal to murky brown? Looking over the river from his ninth floor office in downtown Edmonton, Dr. Craig Emmerton points out that, under certain conditions, the river’s color reveals its glacial origin. “Under low-flow conditions, the river’s mountain water signature with its glacial fine sediment influenced teal color is visible in Edmonton – some 400 kilometers away from the Rocky Mountains,” he says. In contrast, high-flow conditions during spring-melt and storm events bring about the murky appearance, the river’s water and coarser sediment signature from lower elevation landscapeEPCOR1s downstream of the mountains, he explains.

With a total length of 1,287 kilometers, the North Saskatchewan River is Canada’s 12th longest river, discharging an average 210 cubic meters of water, the equivalent of 1,500 bathtubs, every second in Edmonton, and providing drinking water for over 800,000 people in the Edmonton Capital Region alone.

With a common goal of protecting the source of our drinking water supply, Alberta Environment and Parks, EPCOR, the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance and the City of Edmonton, have teamed up on a four-year long project to improve our knowledge of the health and water quality of the North Saskatchewan River.

 Journey through Alberta

“One of the beauties for me of the North Saskatchewan River is the transition from its pristine headwaters in the mountains through agriculturally-dominated areas all the way to the grasslands along the Saskatchewan border,” says project lead Dr. Cristina Buendia-Fores, Aquatic Scientist with the Environmental Monitoring and Science Division at Alberta Environment and Parks. “It seems like a totally different river.”

Originating from the Saskatchewan Glacier in Banff National Park and fed year-round by snowmelt, rain events and glacial meltwater from the Rocky Mountains, the North Saskatchewan River picks up speed and volume on its way through the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Moving east, it first winds its way through steeply sloping, then rolling hills of the Foothills Region. From there, it leisurely continues downstream in a well-defined valley through Alberta’s Parkland, where it is an essential water source for municipal, industrial and agricultural users.

Along its 885 kilometer long journey through Alberta, the North Saskatchewan River flows through five distinct natural regions, six rural counties and one of Alberta’s largest populated watersheds, the Edmonton Capital Region. On its way towards the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, the river passes through prairies before joining its southern EPCOR2namesake – the South Saskatchewan River. Final destination: Hudson Bay.

Along this journey, numerous tributaries –– smaller freshwater streams that flow into the larger river (the mainstem) –– feed into the North Saskatchewan River for a total length of 3,600 kilometers. It’s these tributaries, and their effects on the water quality and quantity of the mainstem, that are drawing the research team’s full attention.

 Quest for improved data

The water quality of the North Saskatchewan River and its tributaries reflects the combined effects of human activities, including industry, agriculture and urban centers, and natural processes, such as changes in precipitation patterns or the erosion of different soils and geological material. For example, much of the mainstem and tributaries upstream of Edmonton contain easily erodible silts and clays that can cause the murky (turbid) appearance of the river during high-flow periods. This in turn affects the water treatment process EPCOR uses to ensure clean and healthy drinking water to Albertans.

Historically, water quality and quantity data collection has primarily focused on the mainstem of the North Saskatchewan River and a few of its mid-reach tributaries. “The problem is that we don’t fully understand the source, transport and fate of contaminants, or which tributaries are the main drivers of the patterns observed in the mainstem,” Cristina explains.

The solution: turning the spotlight on major tributaries along the entire length of the river basin, including the western headwater streams. The advantages of collecting data from representative tributaries are many. “Monitoring tributaries will improve our knowledge of source water supplies and contaminant sources. These data will help us target management actions to specific, disturbed tributaries that negatively impact water quality of the mainstem or protect those areas less impaired by human activities,” Cristina continues.

Sampling underway

Originally from Spain, a country facing long-lasting water scarcity problems, Cristina has always been fascinated with river ecosystems and water resource management. She studied sediment and water management in regulated rivers before serving as Technical Advisor on the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance. She then joined the four-year partnership between EPCOR and the Government of Alberta as project lead under the direction of Dr. John Orwin, Executive Director at Alberta Environment and Parks, who designed the monitoring program.

Project co-lead Craig joined Alberta Environment and Parks as Watershed Scientist after spending over 15 years studying lakes and rivers across Canada, from one of the world’s EPCOR3largest arctic marine deltas –– the Mackenzie Delta –– to the world’s largest high arctic lake.

Under their joint leadership, a team of four technicians conducts sampling at 19 representative tributaries and four mainstem locations. Since November 2018, the team has installed hydrometric stations –– five by five feet-sized shacks that are solar-powered and equipped with sensors –– to collect water quality and quantity data in near-real time. The team also repeatedly dips bottles, literally, at the same locations to analyze major water quality parameters, including minerals, nutrients, metals and dissolved organic matter – a parameter that influences water color and has financial implications for water treatment processes.

Additional studies will reveal how aquatic species are faring and provide information on the overall health of the aquatic ecosystem. These studies look at a range of indicators, from sediment and water quality, to the physical condition of the river and the state of biological communities.

Path towards improved water quality

For Cristina, the path towards improved water quality is clear.

“We need science and monitoring to understand what is driving water quality and water quantity and to support management,” she says.

Although research takes time and resources, the benefits are many. Ultimately, the long-term monitoring initiative of the North Saskatchewan River and its major tributaries will inform decision makers about risks to the mainstem and help maintain high source water quality for Albertans.

“Identifying areas that need stabilization or riparian rehabilitation and making actual improvements on the ground could ultimately be the most rewarding part of this program,” Craig adds.

For him, this project presents an exciting opportunity to work on another great Canadian waterway, “It’s amazing to see the diversity of the rivers and lakes across this province and country and I’m excited to see more parts of the North Saskatchewan River over the next four years.”

 Access to near real-time data

Near real-time river flow data from this project can be viewed and downloaded on the Alberta River Basins website.

Indigenous Lake Monitoring Program: Learning and working together with Indigenous communities to monitor lakes across Alberta

“Water is essential to our culture, which is why our people always camped by the water. Without the land and water, there is no people”, Troy Stuart, Lands Manager, Bigstone Cree Nation.

Water is of cultural and spiritual importance to Indigenous peoples and is seen as the interconnection among all living beings.

Indigenous communities across the province have questions and concerns about their local water bodies. What are the impacts of industrial and recreational uses on lakes? Is it safe to eat the fish and drink the water? “It is in the best interest of our people now and the people of the future to secure our water,” Troy Stuart, Bigstone Cree Nation.

To tackle questions on water quality and fish health, Bigstone Cree Nation and Alberta Environment and Parks’ Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD) worked together to monitor the North Wabasca Lake. “The collaboration with Bigstone Cree Nation is an exciting and new opportunity within our Provincial Lake Monitoring Program to address concerns of indigenous communities while building local capacity for collecting scientifically credible lake monitoring data,” says Dr. Ron Zurawell, Lake Ecosystem Scientist with EMSD.

Best available knowledge: Indigenous knowledge meets western science

The pilot project saw community members and government scientists jointly sampling, analyzing and reporting on the condition of North Wabasca Lake, located 300 km north of Edmonton. Learning from each other was key to the success of this project. “Incorporating local knowledge provided by Bigstone Cree Nation was critical to understanding potential influencing features of the lake basin and assisted in sampling site selection,” says Dr. Ron Zurawell of EMSD.

Joint sampling and sharing of technology also helped the community technologist develop a deeper understanding of and trust in the scientific data. “I think the project is very successful. When the data is gathered and shared with the community, we know that our drinking water condition and fish habitat is normal. Now that I have participated in the project I am actually confident about the water,” Gilmen Cardinal, Bigstone Cree Nation.

Gilmen Cardinal Bigstone Cree Nation conducting lake water sampling

Gilmen Cardinal, Bigstone Cree Nation, conducting lake water sampling on North Wabasca Lake. Source: Zoey Wang 

Shared journey

Mutual interests were key drivers for the launch of the Indigenous Lake Monitoring Program that is filling scientific data gaps and addressing community questions on water quality and fish health. “It’s a shared journey and takes time, passion and commitment to do things right,” says Zoey Wang, Community Monitoring Program Coordinator with EMSD. Success of the shared journey is grounded in respect for cultural and scientific protocols, open and timely communication and support from government and community leadership.

What’s next?

Bigstone Cree Nation is the first of four Indigenous communities participating in the Indigenous Lake Monitoring Program. The program has expanded to six other lakes in 2017 and 2018 with participation from Whitefish Lake First Nation, Dene Tha’ First Nation and Cold Lake First Nations, in addition to Bigstone Cree Nation.

Working with participating Indigenous communities, EMSD will report on the water quality of lakes monitored in 2017 and 2018, and evaluate the Indigenous Lake Monitoring Program to guide a long-term monitoring program based on the respectful braiding of Indigenous and scientific knowledge systems.

Learn more

 

 

Knowledge for a Changing Environment: 2019-2024 Science Strategy

A Five-Year (2019-2024) Science Strategy for the Environmental Science Program to monitor, evaluate and report on the condition of the ambient environment in Alberta.

In 2016, under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Section 15), the role of the Chief Scientist was established with the mandate to develop and implement an environmental science program. To deliver on this mandate, the Five-Year (2019-2024) Science Strategy was developed as strategic guidance for the coming years.

The Science Strategy is the framework for the environmental science program that outlines the collaborative approach, tools, and priority areas where science, local and Indigenous knowledge systems can be used to create and share information. The Science Strategy seeks to broaden the way we understand the implications of a changing environment through adopting a multiple evidence-based approach.

Advances in Alberta’s Environmental Science program will require enhanced coordination and collaboration with the wider Government of Alberta, and other external science and technology partners such as federal science departments and univerInfographic_pasture_Page 5-01sities. It is through these collaborative relationships that we will be able to ensure an evidence-based, publicly transparent and scientifically credible environmental science program”.

– Dr. Fred Wrona – Chief Scientist, Alberta Environment and Parks

The Science Strategy outlines five priority areas and opportunities for the implementation of an integrated, inclusive, adaptive, publicly transparent and scientifically credible environmental monitoring and science program for Alberta. The success of the program relies on collaboration across the Government of Alberta and with others, including external research and academic institutions, and Indigenous and local communities.

The five priority areas collectively address key environmental issues and challenges in Alberta:

  • Biological and ecological change
  • Consequences of a changing and variable climate
  • Condition and sustainability of Alberta’s water resources
  • Chemical contaminants and biological stressors in the environment
  • Environmental responses to natural resource development

These five areas build on existing program strengths and increase our ability to understand and predict the cumulative effects of multiple environmental stressors on the condition of the environment.

The Science Strategy will be a foundation and a catalyst for ongoing dialogue and collaboration with internal government organizations as well as external partners, in the planning and delivery of an integrated, inclusive, adaptive, transparent and credible environmental science program. The environmental science program seeks to answer pertinent questions, relevant to all Albertans, on current and emerging environmental issues.

Learn more about the Chief Scientist of Alberta Environment and Parks

Women in Science – Part of the Sis-STEM

Bright and passionate individuals in science fields are working to answer society’s most difficult questions and find solutions to our biggest challenges. The innovation, creativity and competitive advantage that comes with having a diverse workforce is more important than ever, yet women remain underrepresented in science.

In honour of International Day for Women and Girls in Science on February 11, our Chief Scientist, Dr. Fred Wrona invited women from across the department to talk about their work and share their experiences as scientists. Meet scientists Faye Wyatt and Karen Anderson. 

Karen Anderson, Parks Ecologist

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Karen Anderson, Parks Ecologist, Alberta Environment and Parks

Karen Anderson grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta and completed her BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences with a double major in Conservation Biology and Land Reclamation at the University of Alberta. She is also currently an Agrologist-in-Training (AIT) and Biologist-in-Training (BIT).

Karen has been with Alberta Parks for 9 years and currently works as a Park Ecologist in the Kananaskis region, specifically the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.

Could you give our readers some insight into your role as a Park Ecologist?

My job as a Park Ecologist consists of a mix of office work and fieldwork throughout the Kananaskis region. My wonderful office is located in the grasslands of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park where I predominately focus on environmental reviews for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan as well any vegetation-related, monitoring or species-at-risk projects that are occurring in the region.

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Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

How does your work as a Park Ecologist affect the lives of Albertans?

As part of the Alberta Parks team of ecologists, we try to facilitate meaningful and effective integration of scientific research into the Alberta Parks system, which benefits the ecological, social and economic health of the parks for Albertans. We promote science-based decision making to assist with balancing the Alberta Parks dual mandate of conservation and recreation.

Can you share a success story you have had while with Alberta Parks?

A success story out of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park was when Alberta Parks worked with AltaLink to install an Osprey nesting platform in March 2018. The previous Osprey nest was removed within a private right-of-way in fall 2017 due to its proximity to a railroad. It was imperative that we provided alternative nesting habitat because Osprey had been returning to that nesting location for at least 15 years.

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Osprey nesting platform in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

Through a series of connections and very fortunate events, AltaLink generously provided the nesting platform structure and pole, the equipment, the installation vehicles and the staff time for the project. The day that we installed the structure was one of the coldest days in 2018, but the amazing staff from AltaLink, along with Alberta Parks staff, tirelessly put up the nesting platform. Fortunately, the osprey pair returned and successfully raised two chicks in summer 2018!

Dr. Faye Wyatt, Geospatial Scientist

Faye Wyatt (1)

Dr. Faye Wyatt, Geospatial Scientist, Alberta Environment and Parks

 

Can you speak to your experience as a female scientist in the department?

I have had a really positive experience in the department, and I really appreciate that there are very strong female scientists in leadership positions to look to as role models. Being female has not affected my work, which I think speaks to how inclusive the department is. Our work as scientists and public servants is far more important than our gender, and I feel that opinion is shared by everyone I work with.

Tell us about your work as a geospatial scientist.

FayeWyatt2As a geospatial scientist, I am looking at ways to use geospatial science to support Alberta’s Environmental Science Program and the joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Program. For example, this year I analyzed remotely sensed data of about 300 lakes across Alberta to understand how these lakes are changing over time. This project uses geographic information systems (GIS) to understand relationships between landscape drivers and lake characteristics, such as lake level, area, shape, climate regime, land use changes and location.

Have you experienced any “ah-ha” moments in your science career?

One big “ah-ha” moment was realizing that in order to understand a system, you have to experience it first-hand. Geospatial science often uses computer programs, models and satellite imagery to understand ecological processes and trends. By visiting a place in person, these processes start coming to life and help inform your analysis.

Another “ah-ha” moment was understanding the need to collaborate with others. There are many skilled scientists in the department, and when you start talking to experts in different fields you cross-fertilize ideas, leading to more integrative and better research. Finding ways to work together often advances the science much further than we would be able to on our own.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the field of geospatial science?

FayeWyatt3To be successful in geospatial science, you have to be interested in the world around you. It is also important to think across disciplines since geospatial science is interdisciplinary by nature. One piece of advice for anyone wanting to become a geospatial scientist, and a scientist in general, is to learn a skill that you can apply to your discipline. For me, that meant learning remote sensing and geographic information systems

Advancing knowledge through citizen science

Citizen science is an expanding field referring to public involvement in scientific research or monitoring with professional scientists. The public involvement may include anything from aiding in  data collection, to all aspects of a project (co-created) – from project design analysis and sharing of results. Citizen involvement in the scientific process is beneficial because it can increase scientific understanding, allow people to contribute to research on topics that interest them, create trusted results, fill data gaps and address local information needs and environmental concerns.

Albertans are helping advance this field of practice in our province. Through involvement in air and water monitoring initiatives to biodiversity programs looking at invasive species, pronghorns and bees, Albertans are supporting efforts in monitoring the environment and building resilient ecosystems.

Alberta Environment and Parks and the Miistakis Institute recently co-hosted a workshop titled: ‘Advancing Citizen Science in Alberta: Changing Perspectives, Breaking Barriers.’ The event explored best practices in the field of citizen science and identified priority actions to advance the field in Alberta. It also provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange and co-learning between citizen science experts, practitioners, resource managers and community members.

Alberta Environment and Parks’ Chief Scientist Dr. Fred Wrona remarked, “citizen

Fred and Panel 1

Dr. Lea Shanley (South Big Data Innovation Hub), Chief Scientist Dr. Fred Wrona (Alberta Environment & Parks), Jade Lauren Cawthray-Syms (University of Dundee), and Dr. Jennifer Shirk (Citizen Science Association).

science offers a unique approach to advance a generation of knowledge” and build public trust. A number of challenges and barriers need to be overcome, however, including perceptions around credibility and relevance of citizen science data and connecting this data with decision-makers.

“Be water on stone – wear it down or move around it” was one piece of advice shared by Lea Shanley, a passionate workshop panellist from South Big Data Innovation Hub. The workshop focused on overcoming barriers and growing the field of citizen science in Alberta.

Limitations to citizen science need to be considered and understood to ensure programs generate credible data and information. While more work is required to understand the role and utility of citizen science in Alberta, the workshop highlighted that engaged and trained citizen scientists can make meaningful contributions to science and monitoring programs by following recognized monitoring protocols and accredited data standards.

What’s next?

Working with the Miistakis Institute, Alberta Environment and Parks is developing principles and strategies to guide good practice and appropriate application of citizen science as part of the provincial environmental monitoring and science program.

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Working session on citizen science in Alberta.

Learn more

Science guides policies and actions in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes

When Albertans think about the Rocky Mountains, we inherently think of the wild, rugged mountain landscape that always leaves us wanting more. Hiking those rigid mountain peaks, jumping into those cold glacial lakes, and waking up to fresh mountain air are some of the greatest pleasures Alberta’s Rocky Mountains offer visitors and residents alike.

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Alberta Parks: Castle Area

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It’s All Hands on Deck to Protect Alberta’s Waters!

As summer comes to a close, Albertans will soon be packing up their summer floaties and digging out their warm winter gear! Instead of going into hibernation instantly, your important role as citizen scientists must continue on through the cold times ahead. We must remain diligent and keep our eyes peeled for invasive species. This year, we’re asking Albertans to band together and lend an extra helping hand while they are packing up their cabins at the lake. Continue reading