Supervised by Andrew Trant and Simon Courtenay
Integrating aquatic monitoring and management, considering cumulative effects assessment and response, to build social-ecological resilience to anthropogenic and natural impacts, in the Grand River-Lake Erie region of Ontario.
My goal is to contribute to our understanding of human-environment interactions and (bidirectional) impacts, while increasing capacity for social-ecological resilience to undesired change. Applying systems thinking to the context of aquatic management at the whole-watershed scale, I focus on engaging scientists and government (and other stakeholders) to sustainably co-manage freshwater resources in Ontario, Canada. I am developing an integrated, EIA-inspired process to identifying and prioritizing aquatic monitoring indicators, which impact the entire aquatic monitoring and decision making process. The scalability and generalizability of this indicators process will be determined through multiple scales of pilot studies: local (Grand River Watershed), regional (Grand River-Lake Erie drainage basin), and whole-system (Lake Erie-Great Lakes system). As part of this research, I examine how cumulative effects monitoring programs can generate relevant, usable data for both science and decision-making, and how it contributes to the management of freshwater resources by turning known ecological monitoring approaches into more integrated, holistic, and engaging practice. In addition, I aim to reconcile theoretical and practical definitions of resilience, analyzing the progression of the concept from what it once was to what it is now understood to be.