Citizen-based monitoring and lakewide management: recommendations for information sharing and partnership development in the Lake Superior Basin
Master of Environmental Studies
DisciplineEnvironmental Studies : Northern Environments & Cultures
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The Lake Superior Basin has a diverse range of stakeholder partnerships and citizen based monitoring programs focused on ecosystem protection, restoration and management. This research explores how partnerships for environmental citizen-based monitoring can contribute to information sharing and successful lakewide management within the Lake Superior Basin. This goal was achieved by fulfilling the following objectives: 1) To collect an inventory of citizen-based ecological monitoring programs around the Lake Superior Basin; 2) To explore the dynamics (strengths and weaknesses) of multi-scale partnership development and information sharing in the Lake Superior Basin; 3) To identify a framework for adaptive, ecosystem-based management partnerships in the Lake Superior Basin; 4) To compile recommendations for partnership development that improves citizen-based monitoring and information sharing in lakewide management. Results were compiled based on a qualitative theme analysis and were gathered through a three stage data collection process including an emailed survey, 22 individual, semi-structured interviews and participant observation at a Lake Superior workshop in September of 2011. These results were then compared to the literature review on partnership development, citizen-based environmental monitoring and their role in ecosystem-based adaptive management. This comparison begins to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of current partnerships in citizen-based monitoring and multi-scale collaborative resource management efforts. Citizen-based monitoring (CBM) inventory results show a variety of interest groups and organizations engaged with the incorporation of CBM into their monitoring and restoration activities, however, further collaboration and communication across jurisdictional and geographical boundaries may offer potential benefits in the reduction of duplicated efforts, development of common monitoring methodologies, and availability of information. The role of multi-scale, binational partnerships is of vital importance in implementing an ecosystem approach to the management of Lake Superior and for the Laurentian Great Lakes system and can further development of multi-stakeholder management efforts of cross-jurisdictional water resources around the world.