Conservation Ontario is a non-profit association that represents Ontario’s 36 community-based Conservation Authorities. Conservation Ontario needed a clear and documented protocol to guide lake managers in the design, implementation and adaptive management of nearshore monitoring programs in Ontario to help ensure the responsible management of Ontario’s watersheds.
We conducted an extensive literature review of methodologies used in North American and international jurisdictions and consulted conservation authority staff and academic experts.
We synthesized this work into a decision-making framework to help lake managers select monitoring variables based on issues of concern, habitat, nearshore characteristics and sensitivities, and capacity of the monitoring organization. The framework provided instructions on methods and equipment to use for monitoring to create as detailed and accurate a picture of environmental conditions and response to stressors as possible.
With flexibility in mind, we designed the protocol to be adaptable to local conditions and varying degrees of capacity and expertise. We also produced a one-page factsheet as a guide on how to use the protocol.
The result was the development of the Nearshore Monitoring Protocol. The protocol helps lake managers identify standardized methods to characterize the nearshore environment, identify stressors and issues, and undertake field collection, data analysis and assessment.