Aquatic biomonitoring network news and events

Bringing the network together. It is important to Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) to keep its users informed. On this page you will find updates on our program and our partners.

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A new protocol for wetlands

CABIN's wetland protocol offers a consistent approach to invertebrate sampling and data collection but does not yet include analytical or interpretive tools for assessing wetland health. Along with CABIN partners, the Canadian government will strive to develop wetland specific study designs, metrics and analytical tools for this protocol. These will be added to the CABIN database and website as they are developed.

We will also be rolling out wetland training modules similar to the wadeable streams training. These online modules as well as a field course will be offered in 2019. Stay tuned! Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Science forum

Find information on past and upcoming Science Forums

Whirling disease and aquatic biomonitoring

Whirling disease has been found in Canada (Alberta). It is caused by a parasite that invades cartilage and impairs the nervous system of salomoid fish.

National team

  • Release of updated CABIN database website.  See all the new features with improved functionality and accessibility
  • Development of CABIN Field Assistant Certification course. This is offered through other agencies and educational institutions.  If you are an instructor at a college/university and interested in incorporating CABIN field protocols into an existing field course/program, please contact us
  • Watch our instructional video on collecting invertebrates with a kick net in wadeable streams

What we are working on

  • Expansion of our mapping tool to allow users to quickly see where reference models are. It will provide links to associated reports, contacts and provide additional information about each model
  • Revision and review of CABIN Wetland Sampling preliminary document. It is based on initial field work in the St. Lawrence River, Prairie Pothole Region and Peace-Athabasca Delta to capture a range of wetland types
  • Development of a guidance document for data verification and validation. The document is intended to provide recommended quality assurance and quality control procedures for all users to ensure data quality with all aspects of data collection within their own CABIN projects
  • Watch for the next generation of CABIN assessment tools. New federal funding is supporting the development of a DNA-based CABIN assessment model for the Atlantic Region. Parallel activities are also underway in Ontario (South Nation watershed) and in Alberta (Peace-Athabasca Delta)

Science Team

The CABIN Science Team (ST) is an advisory committee to the National Team that provides advice and recommendations on improving the scope, effectiveness, efficiency, and scientific credibility of the CABIN program.

Specific roles of the Science Team

  • Provide a platform to share scientific opinions and information for CABIN
  • Identify and prioritize key technical, research, and scientific development issues for CABIN
  • Provide advice and recommendations on technical and scientific issues
  • Guide the development and implementation of new tools and methods and
  • Manage peer review of CABIN science procedures and documents

Current activities of the ST include reviewing proposed bioassessment models, developing improved bioassessment procedures, evaluating the potential application DNA methods for CABIN monitoring, developing national standards for use of GIS data, and developing a wetlands macroinvertebrate sampling protocol.

Members of the ST include monitoring and research scientists from Environment Canada’s Water Science and Technology Directorate and as well as external scientific experts from other agencies, universities, and consulting groups.


  • Stephanie Strachan (Co-chair), Environment Canada, BC
  • Lee Grapentine, (Co-chair), Environment Canada, ON
  • Sheena Pappas, (Secretariat), Environment Canada, BC
  • John Bailey, Government of Yukon, YK
  • Wendy Monk, Environment Canada, NB
  • Robert Brua, Environment Canada, SK
  • Jan Ciborowski, University of Windsor, ON
  • Nancy Glozier, Environment Canada, SK
  • Adam Yates, Western University, ON


Selkirk College, September 25 2018
In a program loaded with experiential learning opportunities, second-year students in the Integrated Environmental Planning Program of the Selkirk College (British Columbia) spent the opening week of the semester taking part in leading edge freshwater research. Furthermore, they fulfilled successfully training requirements for the CABIN Field Assistant Program.

Canadian Rivers Institute 15 years of Impact on Aquatic Science and Policy 2016
This report highlights some of the major contributions by CRI to aquatic science in Canada over the past 15 years along with their partnership with CABIN.

Canadian Rivers Institute spotlight on training, 2016
Federal Government, Canadian Rivers Institute and Canadians team up to assess river health

Environment Canada study finds land-based fish farms affecting ecosystem, CBC 2016
Federal research unit finds significant changes in biodiversity at some Nova Scotia hatcheries

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 2015
Why care about aquatic insects: Uses, benefits, and services

Water Canada Magazine 2011
The CABIN program was featured in the January/ February 2011 issue of Water Canada magazine. The article entitled "Infesting Wisely: Using Bugs to Assess Water Quality" by Kelly Cowper describes the use of biological monitoring to get a bigger picture of aquatic ecosystem health. Cowper explains CABIN and the reference condition approach in a very clear and simple fashion so that it is easily understood by decision-makers and non-scientists.

Arrow Lake News 2011
The "Arrow Lakes News" proudly profiles the work of “citizen scientists” dedicated to assessing the health of wadeable creeks in the Columbia River Basin using CABIN as part of BC’s Arrow Lakes Environmental Stewardship Society on November 13, 2011.

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