Bringing Back the Fish – International recognition for Alberta’s fisheries science

By Jeannine Goehing, Office of the Chief Scientist
September 2019

Equipped with balloons, a group of biologists traveled from across the province to Dr. Michael Sullivan’s lab in Edmonton for a special announcement. The Provincial Fisheries Science Specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks is the 2019 recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Fisheries Management Section of the American Fisheries Society, recognizing his inspirational leadership in the fishery profession and substantial achievements for fisheries resources.

“First, I thought it was a joke,” Michael laughs. “I’m honored that my colleagues think I did something good, but to me the award is nothing compared to a three-year old catching walleye at Lac Ste. Anne, or telling Néhiyaw high school kids in Wetaskiwin to go fishing because fishing is good again.”

By receiving the prestigious international award, Michael joins a group of 32 exceptional individuals awarded for substantial achievements in the fishery profession. The award recognizes his outstanding contributions to walleye recovery in Alberta, his leadership in systems thinking and his mentorship in developing the fisheries team at Environment and Parks.

 

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Dr. Michael Sullivan with a silver redhorse fish – a bottom feeder native to Alberta – on the North Saskatchewan River.

From local pressures to international recognition

When it comes to fishing, Alberta finds itself between a rock and a hard place. “We have the rock of low fish productivity and the hard place of lots of people, tons of development and road access,” Michael explains.

Alberta’s fisheries are busy places: with 800 naturally fish-bearing lakes and over 300,000 anglers, think of 375 anglers for every lake in Alberta compared to two anglers for every lake in Saskatchewan with its tens of thousands of lakes.

Alberta’s cold climate and short growing season also results in fewer fish species and fewer individuals compared to southern locations. This in turn makes Alberta fish more susceptible to being caught – ultimately increasing their vulnerability to overharvest.

“The enhanced catchability in northern locations compared to similar species in southern locations is because northern waters have fewer fish species and thus fish can’t be picky. Northern predators must eat whatever is available, whenever it is possible,” Michael explains. “Anglers see this as: these northern fish are easy to catch. They bite on anything!”

The dilemma hasn’t gone unnoticed. The international fisheries community is looking to Alberta for solutions.

“This weird combination of what we call northern style biology and southern style fishing pressure led us to be at the forefront of fish conservation. We didn’t have a choice but to solve this,” explains Michael.

Shifting the baseline

Growing up in northern Saskatchewan, Michael always knew what he wanted to be. It all started with tales told by his dad, a military helicopter mechanic with the Geological Survey Canada in Canada’s North.

“He told me tales of caribou herds stretching to the horizon, barren-ground grizzly bears coming to the camp, dropping biologists off in remote places in the tundra, and I just fell in love with the wilderness and the stories,” Michael remembers. “Right from my father’s knee I wanted to be one of these guys – a biologist.”

Michael’s passion for wildlife biology led him through three academic degrees at the University of Alberta, where he currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Being from Saskatchewan, Michael also knew what good fishing looked like. During his first job as a junior biologist in St. Paul in 1983, however, he discovered fishing in Alberta wasn’t comparable to Saskatchewan.

“Fisheries had been collapsed so long in Alberta, people thought that poor fishing was normal – it’s called the shifting baseline,” he elaborates. “Luckily, I came from a different place without blinders on my eyes and I spent 15 years fighting to change the baseline.”

But shifting the baseline was no easy task.

“We couldn’t just tweak our way out of these problems. We had to throw some levers hard – for example, we had to go catch-and-release for years on the North Saskatchewan River,” explains Michael.

Part of the change was a new culture of fisheries science: “We changed the culture to one of systems thinking, critical thinking, hypothesis testing and adaptive management.”

The second part of the change meant having boots on the ground and waders in the water to test hypotheses in the field using scientifically-designed monitoring. Good data collection is essential to assess fishery status and inform effective management of Alberta’s fisheries.

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Michael and colleague Laura MacPherson seining for fish on Whitemud Creek using a fishing net called seine.

Heartfelt successes

The hard work has paid off in many ways.

“In the past decades, fishing in the North Saskatchewan River was so poor that anglers were mocked,” says Michael. “Now, with good water quality and science-based, effective fishing regulations, restored fisheries for walleye, goldeye, mooneye, northern pike, five species of suckers, and lake sturgeon support tens of thousands of anglers each summer in the Alberta Capital Region.”

For Michael, the restoration of healthy fish populations for traditional use is one of the fisheries team’s most heartfelt successes. “In the 1980’s and 90’s, of the 63 walleye fisheries in the traditional territory of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in the Lac La Biche area, only two fisheries were sustainable while the rest were overfished to the point of collapse.”

With scientific information, good communication and effective trade-offs – such as harvest regulations including catch-and-release fishing and seasonal or spatial fishing closures – designed by engaged stakeholders, recovery happened.

“Fishing is now better than grandparents remember,” says Michael. “By 2018, 20 of those 63 fisheries were fully sustainable, with another 17 close to recovery and Alberta’s Indigenous peoples can once again celebrate this culturally critical connection to the natural world.”

All peoples benefit

Changing the culture through actual successes on the water and ground takes effort and time. “It was decades of work and I tell my people that,” Michael says. “Change is difficult. The benefits, however, have been overwhelmingly worth it.”

“Knowing that kids are growing up in an environment where fishing and fish are part of their culture. Knowing that urban aboriginal youth are catching fish and urban seniors are watching fish spawn at the sweat lodge at Whitemud Creek – right in the city. That’s why we should care,” Michael says.

And while huge strides have been made and many lakes have recovered or are on the way to recovery, there is still a lot of work to be done, for example, recovering native trouts in the eastern slopes of Alberta. Michael is hopeful.

“Looking at my students who talk R-code, seeing them become adjunct professors themselves and seeing them training even younger people gives me huge hope. There’s a much more heartfelt desire amongst the younger biologists for Indigenous rights, for restoration, for reconciliation and it’s not that the policy says you must do this, it’s heartfelt.”

Michael and his team would also like to be more engaged with the public.

“Please stay tuned, please contact your local biologist. When you read the fishing regulation or hear us talk about closing fishing in an area, don’t just immediately come to a simple conclusion – sometimes the problem is more complex than it seems. But also understand that we’re going to make mistakes. We would really like to be much more engaged.”

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Michael and colleague from Parks Canada sampling Westslope Cutthroat Trout along tributary to Bow River. Westslope Cutthroat Trout are listed as Threatened under the Alberta Wildlife Act and the federal Species at Risk Act in Alberta.

Crossing the stage for Canada

Following his late mentor’s advice, Michael will travel to Reno, Nevada, to cross the stage to collect his Award of Excellence from the Fisheries Management Section of the American Fisheries Society on September 30, 2019. The ceremony takes place at one of the largest gatherings of fish and wildlife professionals – the first-ever joint annual conference of the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society.

“My mentor Joe Nelson berated me: so few Canadians get these international awards, next time, you get an award, you’ll stand on that stage because you’re there for Canada,” Michael grins. “My hope is that this award will be used as a small box on which Alberta’s biological science family can stand to highlight the difficult changes, challenges and ultimate benefits of Alberta’s fisheries science success stories. Science!”

His advice to younger colleagues: “We’re in it for the long game. Don’t get caught up in the crisis of the moment. Remember we’re trying to restore these populations for the next seven generations.”

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

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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

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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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Women in Science – Part of the Sis-STEM – Shoma Tanzeeba

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. This is the second of three interviews celebrating the fabulous females in this field.

Shoma Tanzeeba is a hydrologist working in Alberta’s South Saskatchewan Region.Shoma5
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Women in Science – Part of the Sis-STEM – Tanya Rushcall

Bright and passionate individuals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) 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 STEM.

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. This is the first of three interviews celebrating the fabulous females in this field.

Meet Tanya Rushcall! An aquatic invasive species biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks.Tanya1 Continue reading