Our community programs help us connect with our neighbours and build a deeper local appreciation for the vital scientific, social and economic importance of our river ecosystems.
The River Award is presented each year by the River Institute Board of Directors. The award recognizes an individual, organization or company that shows leadership in environmental awareness, conservation and respect for the St. Lawrence River and its watersheds. If you know of an individual or business that meets this criteria, please submit a nomination.
River Award recipients
2016 – Dave Merpaw
2015 – Kate Schwartz
2014 – Susan and John Towndrow
2013 – Dr. David Lean and Dr. Peter Hodson
2012 – Lydia Johnson
2011 – Walter Oeggerli
2010 – Henry Lickers
2009 – Elaine Kennedy
For more information contact:
613-936-6620 ext 240
Discover science and nature with OPG from May to September. This community partnership with River Institute delivers five fun and informative sessions on a range of topics that appeal to all ages, every third Saturday of the month.
2017 Scheduled Topics:
Mad Scientist (May 27, 10 am-2 pm)
Critters and Rivers (June 17, 10 am-2 pm)
Nocturnal Wildlife (July 15, 6 pm- 9 pm)
Amphibians & Reptiles (August 19, 10 am-2 pm)
Animal Mania (September 16, 10 am-2 pm)
Discover science and nature with OPG during March Break. River Institute scientists and educators will present five half-day workshops from 10 am to 12:30 pm.
2017 Scheduled Topics:
Monday March 13 : Mad Scientist
Tuesday March 14: Man vs Wild
Wednesday March 15: River Protectors
Thursday March 16: Nature Nut
Friday March 17: Eco-Arts
For more information contact:
Karen Douglass Cooper
613-936-6620 ext 229
Every summer, River Institute invites the community to join our scientists on research expeditions and conducting experiments during our annual open house. Bring your questions, meet our scientists, check out our displays, examine specimens in the lab, and join a river expedition to sample fish and collect and identify invertebrates. Drop in and take part!
What is an Area of Concern (AOC)?
What is the Remedial Action Plan (RAP)?
In 1987, the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Water Quality was signed to provide a more specific framework for restoring Areas of Concern in Ontario.
Each AOC has a Remedial Action Plan to help guide environmental improvements for a sustainable ecosystem. Remedial Action Plans are completed in three stages:
Stage One: Determine the severity and underlying causes of environmental degradation.
Stage Two: Identify goals and recommend actions that will lead to the restoration and protection of ecosystem health.
Stage Three: Implement recommended actions and measure progress of restoration and protection efforts in the AOC to ensure that local goals have been met.
Once Stage Three is completed the AOC is considered “delisted”. The decision to delist is made by the federal, provincial and local RAP participants, with advice from the International Joint Commission.
Where is the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Area of Concern?
The St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) AOC is approximately 80 kilometers in length and stretches from the Moses-Saunders power dam to the eastern outlet of Lake St. Francis. This is a Bi-National and transbounbdary AOC with similar restoration efforts in both Quebec (http://www.slv2000.qc.ca/index_a.htm) and the United States (St. Lawrence River (Massena) Area of Concern) :
What has been happening locally?
In the early 1990’s seven major environmental issues of concern were identified by the Cornwall RAP Stage 1 Report for the Cornwall / Massena section of the St. Lawrence River :
- Mercury contamination
- PCB contamination
- Presence of other Contaminants
- Bacterial (fecal) contamination
- Habitat Destruction and Degradation
- Excessive Growth of Nuisance Aquatic Plants
- Exotic Species
- Fish and Wildlife Health Problem Related Contaminants (Emerged when Stage 1 Report was released
Called Great Lakes, Great River, in 1997, the Stage 2 Report for the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Area of Concern was completed. Within this document 64 recommended remedial actions are listed to address the environmental problems in the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) AOC.
The RAP program and the recommendations within the Stage 2 Report were designed to restore Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). A BUI is the inability of an AOC to provide for a particular beneficial use of the aquatic ecosystem. A set of fourteen BUI’s were listed in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Stage 2 Report identified 7 BUI’s that were degraded in the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) AOC. These included:
- Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption
- Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations
- Degradation of Benthos
- Restrictions on Dredging Activities
- Eutrophication or undesirable Algae
- Beach Closings/Water Contact Sports
- Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat
A list of 3 possibly impaired BUI’s was also created. Further research was required to determine if these uses were in fact impaired. These included:
- Fish tumours and other deformities
- Bird or other animal deformities or reproduction problems
- Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations
Each BUI has associated delisting criteria that are used as targets to assess the recovery of the aquatic ecosystem. Once the delisting criteria for a BUI has been achieved through the implementation of remedial action that criteria is considered “delisted” and is checked off the list. Once all the delisting criteria have been met for a specific AOC it is reported as “Delisted” and the AOC is removed from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
Please click here for an overview of the BUI status for the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Area of Concern as of September 2010 as provided by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
St. Lawrence River Restoration Council (SLRRC)
The St. Lawrence River Restoration Council (SLRRC) was formed in 1998 in order to complete the 64 recommended remedial actions and address the BUI’s identified within the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern at Cornwall. Over the years SLRRC membership has been comprised of local environmental organizations, the general public, industry, municipalities, the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, Raisin Region Conservation Authority, and government agencies including the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.
As individual environmental issues have continued to be addressed over the last decade, the SLRRC has sought to re-examine its mandate, responsibilities, and scope of activity on and around the St. Lawrence River. In 2013, three public forums were held to look into SLRRC’s next steps and its future role within the ever changing riverscape that is the St. Lawrence. As a result, in 2014, SLRRC will develop into a new organization that hopes to serve as a River related environmental communication, education and coordination hub for future activities on the St. Lawrence River in eastern Ontario. They hope to organize a comprehensive network that supports ongoing research and remediation on the River while at the same time encouraging an environmentally balanced and sustainable approach to recreation and development.
Those interested in more information should contact the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Transition Coordinator, Karen Douglass Cooper at 613-936-6620 (ext.229) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Involvement Committee
The Public Involvement Committee (PIC) is a sub-group of the St. Lawrence River Restoration Council. The PIC is responsible for communicating RAP awareness, environmental stewardship and RAP project achievements to the public. The local lead for the PIC is the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences (http://www.riverinstitute.ca).
The Upper St. Lawrence River Protection Network brings together community groups, first nations, conservation authorities, municipal governments and other interested parties who are committed to protecting the upper St. Lawrence River. With more than twenty member organizations, the network’s goals are to share information and initiate joint projects that promote the sustainability and improvement of the health of the upper St. Lawrence River.
Science and Nature Rocks is an exciting program for young people hosted by the Cornwall Public Library. Join River Institute staff and volunteers to learn and explore topics in science and nature.
Science and Nature on Tap is dynamic speaker series that features interesting topics presented by scientists, naturalists, and other experts. Sessions are friendly, accessible and open to everyone. Seating is limited so book your seat in advance.