River Health: Past, Present & Future

27th Annual River Symposium | October 28 & 29 2020

Live Streamed from Cornwall, ON, Canada

For the past 27 years, the River Institute has hosted an annual Symposium to bring together researchers and stakeholders to explore issues and challenges facing large rivers and their watersheds. This sharing of knowledge is powerful as it leads to a better understanding of fresh water resources and ecosystems, as well as the development of strategies for renewal and protection.

Thank you for joining us our virtual 27th Annual River Symposium! Please enjoy the session recordings and stay tuned for information about our 2021 River Symposium. 

River Health:

Past, Present, & Future

For the River Symposium 2020, all talks will be available online and will focus on the health of our freshwater ecosystems. We will have both a Community and Science Day providing a platform for researchers, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and citizens to understand current ecological health as well as in-depth analysis of trends and future needs/actions.

The Symposium will share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems.  The scientific presentations and community involvement sessions will address current topics important to all freshwater ecosystems and of immediate concern for the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes.

 Community Day- Wednesday, October 28th

Join us for our Community Day. Engage with local scientists and community partners to learn about the challenges that face our freshwater ecosystems and the ways in which we are working towards finding solutions to these challenges.

Science Day- Thursday, October 29th

Join us for our Science Day. For the River Symposium 2020, we will focus on the health of our freshwater ecsystems to coincide with our Great River Rapport – an ecosystem health report of the Upper St. Lawrence River. The Symposium will share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems.

Thank you for joining our virtual River Symposium!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Steven Cooke

Fish Ecology Expert

Cooke is a Professor of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His work spans the natural and social sciences with a particular focus on developing solutions to problems facing fish and other aquatic organisms. He has much experience working with practitioners, policy makers and stakeholders to co-create useable knowledge. Cooke founded the Canadian Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation and is working with diverse partners to build capacity for evidence synthesis in his various roles in the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. He has published more than 700 peer reviewed papers on topics such as conservation science, knowledge mobilization and enabling interdisciplinarity but recognizes that bi-directional knowledge exchange with potential knowledge users is even more rewarding.

Guest Speakers

Abraham Francis

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne- Environment Program

Abraham Francis has a BS in Microbiology, 2014, and MS in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. His past experiences include community empowerment, engagement, and research with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and a variety of other community-based organizations. His Masters’ Thesis focused on applied research to develop a biocultural land stewardship strategy for existing and newly settled Native American Land Claims on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Akwesasne. Currently, he works as the Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne – Environment Program. The position allows him to develop and implement projects that are inspired and directed by community needs as well as influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities.

Fin Donnelly

Founder & Chair, Rivershed Society of British Columbia

From 1990 to 2000, he made 14 environmental marathon swims, covering more than 3,200 kilometres in BC’s rivers, lakes and ocean; including twice swimming the 1,400 km length of the Fraser River in 1995 and 2000 to draw attention to the declining health of these water bodies and to encourage communities to engage in environmental advocacy.

Fin served as a member of Coquitlam City Council from 2002-2009 and as Member of Parliament for Port Moody-Coquitlam and New Westminster-Coquitlam from 2009-2019. While in the House of Commons he founded the All-Party Oceans Caucus.

As NDP Fisheries & Oceans critic, Fin introduced many bills to protect West Coast waters including legislation to ban oil tankers off BC’s north coast; transition West Coast open-net salmon farms to land-based, closed containment and ban the importation of shark fins to Canada, which became law in 2019.

Fin has a Philosophy degree from the University of Victoria. He grew up in Port Moody and lives in Coquitlam with his wife Lynda.

This year the River Symposium was organised by a dedicated committee. A very big thank you from the River Institute to all who contributed their great ideas, their time and hard work to make it a success. Diverse contributions from administrative and technical support, delivering a great new website, bringing together Community and Science Day programming, and inviting colleagues and community members. It was a pleasure to witness this great collective effort, and we appreciate the extra dedication it took to move it from an in person event to an online one. Thanks extended to the Ramada Inn for being flexible with our changing plans! Looking forward to working together again for the next one!
Cristina Charette
Christina Collard
Emilie DeRochie
Jaclyn Franceschini
Lexy Harquail
Stéphanie Guernon
Brian Hickey
Stephany Hildebrand
Jennifer Lauzon
Pam Maloney
Leigh McGaughey
Mary Ann Perron
Natasha Pozega
Jeff Ridal
Louis Savard
Katie Verhoeven
Matt Windle