© Heather Crochetiere Free Flowing Water Monitoring


Working with community-based water monitoring groups to improve freshwater health across Canada.

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Monitoring and Assessment) is a collaboration between WWF-Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the University of Guelph and Living Lakes Canada. The goal of the partnership is to address identified data deficiencies and support community groups who want to monitor their own waters to improve freshwater health. STREAM supports these groups by providing expert advice, training, equipment and sample analysis.

© Heather Crochetiere Water Monitoring the Liard

What is the Issue?

  • Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) can be crucial in addressing freshwater data deficiencies, but it is significantly under-utilized as a monitoring resource in Canada. Local CBWM groups know their waters and the issues better than anyone else, but they often lack the necessary techniques and resources to be as effective as they could be.
  • Benthic invertebrates — the tiny bugs that live at the bottom of riverbeds — are also key in determining the state of our rivers. These flies, beetles, aquatic worms, snails and other creatures can tell us a lot about the health of a freshwater system. Traditional benthic invertebrate monitoring is quite expensive, time consuming and limited to a particular time of year when the individuals are large enough to be observable by taxonomist.

What WWF-Canada is Doing

WWF-Canada’s 2017 Watershed Reports identified priority areas that require increased benthic monitoring and freshwater data. Along with its partners, WWF-Canada is engaging local groups in these priority areas with STREAM’s field courses that offer the tools and training needed for the collection of bulk samples, which are then sent to the University of Guelph for eDNA (environmental DNA) analysis.

WWF-Canada and partners are committed to working with these groups to provide tools and resources as needed to help establish sustainable monitoring programs that can be led by the groups.

What You Can Do

North American beaver

Adopt a Beaver


Testing Freshwater

Generation Water Technology Challenge

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Shoreline Cleanup Participants


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© Terry Kelly / WWF-Canada landscape of freshwater

Learn More About our Freshwater Work

WWF-Canada is working towards a future where all Canadian waters are in good condition, by building water-resilient communities, bringing big-water data to decision-making tables and creating a culture of water stewardship across the country.

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