LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The lack of communication between different government agencies and between governments and stewardship groups is concerning,” stated Nikki Kroetsch, DFO’s Community Engagement Coordinator with the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre in West Vancouver, when she explained why the current state of environmental monitoring in BC communities is a call to action (May 2021)
Note to Reader:
Nikki Kroetsch, a highly motivated young professional with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Nikki has a vision for collaboration across generations. Bringing it to fruition is her career mission with DFO. In the interview presented in Doing Science Differently in Local Creeksheds, her passion for the mission shines through.
The story of the interview weaves two themes into a storyline. One theme is the payback when governments collaborate with the stream stewardship sector to fill a stream health data gap. The second theme is what it means to have an intergenerational vision to build bridges of understanding from the past to the present and future.
In May 2021, the Partnership commenced Living Water Smart in British Columbia: The Series to facilitate knowledge-transfer. The Series comprises downloadable documents on featured topics. Download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Doing Science Differently in Local Creeksheds.
A Vision for Collaboration Morphed into a DFO Program
“At a moment in history when an attitude of “what’s in it for me, right now” is so prevalent, it is refreshing to meet someone like Nikki Kroetsch who aspires to make a difference through a career commitment. Remarkably, she is already translating her Master’s research into an on-the-ground program that fixes an environmental monitoring need in local creeksheds,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“Nikki Kroetsch, working with a team of biologists at PSEC, played a pivotal role in creating the vision for the Community Stream Monitoring project, known by the acronym CoSMo. She is currently tasked with implementing it through DFO’s Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC). Her story reflects well on those leading PSEC as the following anecdote reveals. “PSEC as a whole is addressing the ‘lack of collaboration’ issue quite simply by embracing and facilitating collaboration,” Nikki told me.”
Current state of environmental monitoring in BC communities is a “call to action”
“According to the federal, provincial, and local government employees and the stewardship group volunteers I interviewed for my Masters research, data collection is currently siloed and unorganized. Many people are collecting essentially the same data, but because there’s very little communication and data sharing going on between them, it means a lot of duplicated efforts, which is a huge waste of resources given that monitoring is often time consuming and expensive to conduct,” stated Nikki Kroetsch.
“The lack of communication between different government agencies and between governments and stewardship groups is concerning, because what results are persistent environmental monitoring gaps that make it really difficult to answer resource management questions such as should we be concerned about, for example, the health of this urban stream? or which part of the stream would benefit most from restoration work? or, a few very important, related questions, did the restoration project benefit the ecosystem? By how much? Should we do the same type of project elsewhere or should we try something different?”
“In 2017, the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre, threw open its doors to the community, and embraced the idea of ‘doing science differently’, which has involved partnering with First Nations, academia, not-for-profits, and other stakeholders. Pre-pandemic, we also invited secondary school students to tour, and even participate in science activities, on site; it’s just such a cool place to work!”
“PSEC as a whole is addressing the ‘lack of collaboration’ issue quite simply by embracing and facilitating collaboration, but in my role as Community Engagement Coordinator I’ve also been specifically attempting to address the lack of communication regarding environmental monitoring; albeit slowly and methodically, as I’m only one person!”
“Specifically I’m doing this through the PSEC Community Stream Monitoring project, which we call CoSMo for short. In short, CoSMo is a steam monitoring collaboration between DFO and many stewardship groups in the Metro Vancouver region that has also involved communication with the provincial government and local governments.”
To Learn More:
Download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Doing Science Differently in Local Creeksheds.