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Coordinated Groundwater, Surface Water and Climate Monitoring Program, Northeast BC

Lead Researcher(s):  B. Shepherd, T. Van Dijk

Key Researcher(s):  D. Cottrell, E.G. Johnson

Project ID:  2019-023

Key Research Organization(s):  Matrix Solutions Inc., BC Energy Regulator, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Shell Canada Ltd.

Project Location:  Northeast BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Water


This project is one of three that contributed to the Pilot Collaborative Water Monitoring Program, Northeast BC. It provides foundational research that can help inform evidence-based decisions for industry, governments, Indigenous groups and communities. 

Specifically, this project installed climate stations and groundwater monitoring wells at selected sites in British Columbia’s Northeast Region (NEBC) and in proximity to hydrometric monitoring sites from the Northeast BC Hydrometric Monitoring Network Improvements project. The project also conducted sampling for surface water and groundwater quality at selected locations and an analysis of the benthic invertebrates.

Visit the following program page to learn more about this project



Specifically, the goals of this project were to:

  • Install up to four climate monitoring stations for long-term monitoring in BC’s Northeast Region;
  • Install four shallow groundwater monitoring wells near hydrometric stations for Geoscience BC projects Northeast BC Hydrometric Monitoring Network Improvements and Traditional Knowledge and Scientific Data Education, Comparison and Collaboration in Northeast BC Surface Water Use;
  • Collect groundwater and surface water quality samples between 2021 and 2023;
  • Provide training for local First Nations personnel on collecting surface water and groundwater quality samples, as well as in operating surface water, groundwater and weather monitoring equipment;
  • Provide improved datasets to assess groundwater and surface water interaction through the adjacent groundwater and surface water monitoring; and
  • Share results of the pilot project findings in a presentation to Treaty 8 First Nations.


In addition to collecting baseline data recommended in the Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report, this program aims to combine the data from both Western science and Traditional Knowledge from Treaty 8 First Nations in the study area, and to build local capacity for monitoring surface water, groundwater and climate for future work.

As well as developing capacity and creating new monitoring opportunities for Treaty 8 First Nations, the Program provides an opportunity for the Nations have a say in – and access to – research that informs water use and resource development decisions in their traditional territory. The projects provide an opportunity for Traditional Knowledge to be included alongside other data when assessing watershed health.

The inclusion of Western science and Traditional Knowledge data will help to more accurately inform water management decisions, and will provide additional and helpful data to the Northeast Water Tool (NEWT), which is used to support water management decisions.

The new public data generated by the Pilot Collaborative Water Monitoring Program, Northeast BC is improving the understanding of surface water quantity, quality and availability in the region, as well as providing supporting groundwater and climate data to begin assessing watershed water balances and groundwater-surface water interaction for regulators, energy companies, communities, Indigenous groups and academia. This pilot program will be used to assess the methodology proposed, including the use of Traditional Knowledge, and use any lessons learned in expanding and/or adapting this type of project work in the future, as well as further developing relationships with the First Nations involved.


Northeast Region, British Columbia