We’re working with DataStream to make a splash in the Great Lakes

Announcing our collaboration with DataStream

Beginning in 2021, we’re working with DataStream to publish community water monitoring data from the Great Lakes and Saint-Lawrence regions!

Community water monitoring is a growing movement in the Great Lakes and across Canada. Water Rangers- who equip communities with the tools required to actively monitor and manage their waters- are playing a leading role.

Dissolved oxygen test used in the Water Rangers kit.
We’re working with DataStream to make it easier for anyone to share their water quality data

Now, through a new hub-to-hub connection, anyone in the Water Rangers network can share data on Great Lakes DataStream, an open access hub for sharing water data set to be released this fall.

“This is an exciting time to join forces,” says Kat Kavanagh, Executive Director of Water Rangers. “People are passionate about keeping their local waters healthy and community water monitoring is a great way to do this, but it can’t end there. We need to think through what happens with this data.”

That’s where DataStream comes in. “Diverse community monitoring organizations are dispersed across regions,” says Carolyn DuBois, Executive Director of DataStream. “This is powerful, allowing us to have a collective finger on the pulse of watersheds, where local people are best placed to see and respond to changes.”

Volunteer using the Water Rangers kit to take a water sample. The data that some of our testers collect will now feed to DataStream, as part of our collaboration with them.
Testing the water is fun, easy, and incredibly important to do

However, these strengths of community monitoring also present challenges. Pulling together a mosaic of community datasets to tackle water quality problems on a regional scale is difficult. The new collaboration between DataStream and Water Rangers addresses this.

“Water Rangers groups are out there monitoring in order to answer local questions, fill data gaps and feed into larger studies on freshwater health,” explains Kavanagh. “The ability to publish their data on the new Great Lakes DataStream platform will be a game changer, increasing the visibility and impact of community monitoring efforts.”

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance is among those benefiting from the collaboration. “It’s been an exciting year for our Lake Erie Guardians program,” says Raj Gill, Great Lakes Program Director. “Working with Water Rangers, 50 volunteers have been out water testing in the Lake Erie watershed. Having their results on Great Lakes DataStream allows them to get a fuller picture of what’s happening within the Lake Erie watershed and also start seeing how this compares to the other regions in the Great Lakes.”

One of our Lake Erie Guardians testing this summer. The Lake Erie Guardians' water data is on DataStream as part of our collaboration with them.
One of our Lake Erie Guardians testing this summer!

Learn more about the Lake Erie Guardians program

This summer, Water Rangers and Canadian Freshwater Alliance have equipped more than 50 individuals and families with the tools to collect water quality data. Now, we’re working with DataStream to get this data into the hands of people who need it! Learn more here.

This data sharing is essential because even in the Great Lakes- one of the most populated watersheds in Canada- some areas lack basic monitoring data. “We’re excited about what collaborations like this can achieve,” says DuBois. “The key with water monitoring efforts is to ensure that the data are well managed and that tools like ours are connecting wherever possible to serve the community.”

About DataStream

DataStream is an online, open-access platform for sharing water quality data that allows water monitors to standardize, store, and share their data. Anyone can explore, visualize and download the data. DataStream was developed by The Gordon Foundation and is delivered in collaboration with regional monitoring networks. 

With three existing hubs across Canada, DataStream currently houses over five million open data points collected by over 135 water monitoring and research groups. Great Lakes DataStream will be the fourth hub, coming online this fall. Find out more on their website and connect with DataStream on Twitter and Facebook.  

About Water Rangers

Water Rangers is a not-for-profit social enterprise, established in 2015 as the first Aquahacking winner. We empower communities with the tools to understand and care for their local waterways. We also work towards a vision where every community understands and addresses the health of their water bodies. To achieve this, we equip communities with our easy to use fresh and marine water field test kits, data management and sharing platform, field app, and extensive community education programming. Currently, we have over 150 groups using Water Rangers testing equipment and sharing data. There are currently 18 Water Rangers groups integrated with DataStream’s platform. Learn more about us here and connect with Water Rangers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you haven’t already!

Contact us to learn more

For more information and interview opportunities please contact Emelia Duguay, Sustainable Development Coordinator at Water Rangers.