Accelerating the science and practice of agricultural stream restoration in the Great Lakes Basin (Canada) and Canterbury (Aotearoa, New Zealand)

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Catherine Febria

Publication Date:

The solution for water quality and ecosystem health issues in freshwater ecosystems lies on the land through a suite of measures and coordinated activities at individual, community and watershed scales. This is especially clear for human-impacted, agricultural landscapes where individual farm actions have the potential to address and mitigate the losses of soil organic matter, nutrients and other run-off. Rather than a single solution, the reality is that a toolbox of approaches is required from farm field to tile-drain, and from headwaters to downstream waterbodies. Individual actions therefore rely on coordination and robust evidence. Here I present two case studies of aligned science-practice across lowland agricultural streams: one in Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand, and another in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin of North America/Turtle Island. Shared between these examples were a commitment to engaging in local communities, from farmers to Indigenous stewards, and a broad range of practitioners, agencies and community groups. We engaged in a reciprocal process of knowledge co-production and coinnovation of possible solutions. Notably, the Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment (CAREX), was a five-year region-scale experiment on waterways located on privately owned farms. The CAREX approach was then adapted for the local socio-ecological context of agricultural watersheds in southwest Ontario, Canada. This talk will illustrate how community responsive, local-context driven approaches have been crucial to accelerating and coordinating science and actions on the ground, and will be the critical factors underpinning successful freshwater restoration on local to global scales.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program