Principal Investigator: Dr. Cathy Conrad
SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance Grant
Project Website: www.curah2o.com
While significant amounts of valuable data are collected each year through the process of community-based environmental monitoring, the integration and use of this data by resource managers and decision makers remains limited. One of the most prevalent challenges in integrating environmental data gathered by volunteers is a lack of consistency in the collection methods, which results in uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the data. CURA H2O focuses on community-based water quality monitoring to address this lack of consistency by standardizing the data collection process at the community level. The mechanism by which this standardization is occurring through a water monitoring training and certification course and an accompanying toolkit that will provide all of the necessary monitoring equipment. This research is engaging the public in meaningful participatory management, and is providing resource managers with a broader set of reliable data upon which to base more informed decisions. In addition, the theoretical research that is directing CURA H2O will generate new knowledge around issues of effective community-based resource management, improved accuracy of data collection, and the successful integration of volunteer monitoring into resource management. To ensure the advancement of knowledge and the social benefits of this CURA, the research components are being carried out by a well-developed alliance of academics, community members, and government partners. Students will also work closely with partners in carrying out this research. Knowledge mobilization will occur not only through the training, research, and Stewardship Showcase that is taking place during this CURA, but also through educational outreach programs, an educational exhibit at the Discovery Centre in Halifax, and the planned international expansion of the CBEMN.