Grant helps researcher seek watershed dialogue

(Edmonton) The role of water and the relationships water has with all other elements in the watershed—such as forests, streams, fields and, of course, people—are as diverse and complex as the regions the watershed supports.

Unfortunately, according to environmental policy researcher Lars Hallström, people approach integrated watershed management from all sorts of standpoints, which tends to lead toward water deficits.

What amplifies the problem is that, despite each district having different water needs and a host of individual variables to deal with, a common theory on how to manage Canada’s waterways doesn’t exist.

Hallström, with the help of a $28,000 Public Outreach Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), will attempt to get some consensus on an integrated watershed management best practice when he helps host the Integrated Watershed Innovation Forum at Augustana Campus Aug. 8 and 9.

“The purpose of the grant is to bring representatives from watershed management organizations in different provinces, as well as researchers from across the country, to talk about this question of integration across a number of different dimensions,” said Hallström, the inaugural director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities. “Part of the forum is to inform watershed management on the different perspectives of integration. How do you integrate public-health concerns, for example, into watershed management? It is very much practitioner-oriented, with an overarching goal of advancing a research and practice dialogue on the integration of ecosystems, social systems and health systems.”

The forum comes in the wake of the creation of the university water initiative, which gears the collective capacity of researchers and university partners toward tackling various water issues, including water and sustainability issues in rural communities.

“Our mandate and our priority areas align nicely with the university’s water initiative,” said Hallström. “Basically, without water in a community, you have no community.”

SSHRC’s Public Outreach Grants were created to mobilize and leverage research for a range of audiences beyond the academic community to inform Canadian and international debate, decisions and actions.

More SSHRC funding

The following projects were awarded Public Outreach Grants.

Open Category

Sean Caulfield, Lianne McTavish, Royden Mills, Timothy Caulfield
The body in question(s), $73,150

Guillaume Tardif, Michael MacDonald, Kathy Robinson, Thomas Dust
The genius of the violin project: Documentary and virtual application, $66,823

Lin Snelling
Re-writing distance, $50,350

James Muir
Lessons from the past, visions for the future: Doing workers' histories in, for and with the public, $45,125

Carol Léonard
La fransaskoisie sur la carte, $55,813

Dominique Clément (collaborator)
People’s citizenship guide dissemination project, $31,625

Digital Economy

Natalie Kononenko
Ukraine alive: Interactive teaching resources online, $60,162

Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity

Paul Dubé
Transferts des saviors, saviors des pratiques: Production et mobilisation des savoirs pour une communauté, $98,419

Michael Frishkopf
Mnohai'ia lita: Celebrating Eastern European communities and cultures in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, $182,990