The Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT) invites you to a talk titled 'A pan-Canadian comparison of cyanobacteria bloom management policies, programs, and practices' by Ms. Rebecca Gasman, Master's Degree candidate in Geography at York University, Canada. The talk will be held on February 22, 2021 at 7:30 PM.
Cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (cHABs), are a water quality issue of global concern that have been increasing in severity and frequency in both eutrophic (nutrient high) - where the risk of occurrence is high - and oligotrophic (nutrient poor) systems - where risk of occurrence is low. cHABs are detrimental to water quality and human and ecosystem health due to the production of cyanotoxins and unpleasant taste and odour compounds, the build-up of surface scum, and their contribution to anoxia - which kills multicellular life. Many provinces across Canada have implemented policies and management strategies to mitigate the occurrence of cHABs and minimize their risk to public health, usually through nutrient reductions of phosphorous and monitoring programs. Management of blooms is a provincial responsibility that may vary between provinces. The extent to which these strategies differ, their effectiveness, whether their programs are based on current science, and their applicability to blooms in oligotrophic systems is presently unknown. My research is attempting to address these knowledge gaps by assessing provincial public policy documents and programs that are implemented in five Canadian provinces - Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. A policy analysis was used to identify policies and programs in place for nutrient management, risk management, water quality monitoring, drinking water quality treatment methods, wastewater treatment methods, the monitoring of stressors, and guidance from and cooperation with the Federal government. Case studies for each province were then selected and interviews conducted with key stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of these policies and programs in practice. This research will hopefully contribute to future cHAB management strategies in both oligotrophic and eutrophic freshwater systems in Canada.
About the Speaker
Rebecca Gasman is currently obtaining her master's degree in Geography at York University. Her research is in Canadian water quality management with a focus on cyanobacteria blooms in freshwater systems. She has honours bachelor's degrees in Biological Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Guelph and York University, respectively.