Banner Photo: Pink salmon in Stawamus River. (Credit: Bob Turner)

2020 Rating

2020 Rationale

There are a large number of citizen science activities in the Sound. 

2017 Rating

2017 Rationale

Many community members play an important role in monitoring the health of Howe Sound. Citizen science effort is increasing and contributes to a positive sense of place.

The following is an excerpt from the full updated article. Download the full 2020 article for all content and references.

Citizen Science: protecting
and restoring the Sound

Authors:  Aroha Miller, Manager, Ocean Watch, Ocean Wise Research Institute

Contributions by: Ruth Simons, Executive Director, Future of Howe Sound Society, Lead Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative

Reviewer: Bob Turner, Geoscientist and citizen scientist, Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island, Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound

Excerpt from 2020 article

Community members continue to play an important role in monitoring the coastal and marine environment in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound, as well as engaging with the public to share their knowledge and encourage participation in activities. This is reflected by the continuation of many previously identified citizen science initiatives, some of which have been running since before 2000, plus the formation of new initiatives. Volunteers in these groups generously spend considerable time taking part in these activities.

Read the full article to see what else is happening.

Background: Orca celebration in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. (Credit: Paul Watt)

What’s been done since 2017?

The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.

2017 Action Action Taken
Individual and Organization Actions
Encourage citizen science participation within your company or organization. Ocean Wise’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup frequently organizes local cleanup events for the organization. Information from other organizations is lacking
Government Action and Policy
Continue to support and raise awareness of the ongoing citizen science projects within Átl’ḵa7tsem/ Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. Some citizen science groups partner with government institutes such as DFO. Overall, however, the groups are non-profit organizations and rely on volunteer time and donors/sponsors or external funding to continue their work.
Provide resources needed to enhance and continue local citizen science projects as funding permit. DFO’s Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery supplies the Bowen Island Terminal Creek Hatchery with salmon for their hatchery.

What can you do?

A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below. Additional actions marked as NEW also follow.

action-individual Individual and Organization Actions:

    • Get involved with an ongoing citizen science project in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound (Table 1).
    • Share your photos and videos of Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound nature on your favourite social media platform.
    • Join NatureWatch (, a partnership of Nature Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation to engage Canadians in four ongoing citizen science projects: FrogWatch, PlantWatch, IceWatch and WormWatch.
    • Donate. Almost all the groups engaged in citizen science projects in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound are non-profit groups and projects depend upon donations to continue.
    • Learn more about citizen science and how to do it at Citizen Science Central sponsored by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology:
    • NEW Collaborate across citizen science groups to strengthen advocacy for use of data within decision making.
    • NEW Create a central hub where members of the community can find all of the ongoing citizen science projects in the region.

action-governmentGovernment Action and Policy:

    • Provide and maintain a central portal of information including; citizen science project listings, data gathering, community training, and a tool-kit for best practices of designing and maintaining citizen science projects.
    • Promote closer relationships with stakeholders to citizen science projects in order to facilitate further participation and awareness.
    • Increase the use of citizen science data contributing to natural resource and environmental science, natural resource management, and environmental protection and policy making.
    • Develop policy to recognize and weigh citizen science, in addition to other scientific evidence and traditional knowledge, submitted for review in the environmental assessment process.
    • Invite citizen scientist representation at public engagement events for policies and management to add their voice to input throughout decision-making processes.
    • Partner with non-government organizations and other groups to create more citizen science projects on diverse subjects.
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