The 2017 Assessing River Ecosystem Challenges in a Changing Environment Symposium will provide a platform for researchers, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and citizens to share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems, and their responses to changing conditions.  A focus this year will be identifying and assessing challenges relating to fish health, contaminants and population changes in the light of a changing ecosystem.  Topics are expected to explore issues relating to climate change and invasive species impacts, contaminant sources and uptake, fish consumption concerns and other problems affecting our ecosystem.

Scientific presentations and community involvement sessions are invited that address these and other current topics important to all freshwater ecosystems and of immediate concern for the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes.  We especially invite presentations that involve aspects of community engagement, public education, awareness, communications, and citizen involvement.

This is the first call for Session Chairs.  We welcome past Session Chairs to propose sessions or workshops and encourage others who are interested to volunteer.  We invite your participation and value your input in proposing a session from the suggestions below or propose your own session.  As always, the Symposium will provide plenty of opportunity for networking, discussion, and collaborative planning.  Topics are suggestions only, actual sessions will depend on response to this call, including suggestions made by invited chairs.

Community Day 2016

River Symposium Venue

Where: Ontario Power Generation Visitor Center

When: May 31 and June 1



The River Institute is pleased to present its 24th Annual International Symposium on the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River and its watersheds.


 Symposium Guest Chair – Dr. Laurie Chan, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health and Toxicology, University of Ottawa

Interested in Organizing a Session?

You’ll be asked to provide the following information:
  • title of the proposed session
  • brief description (2-3 sentences) of the session focus
  • estimated number of contributors
  • names and contact information (address, telephone, fax and e-mail address) of the individual(s) willing to serve as session chair(s)
Please contact the Symposium Coordinator to identify a session that you would like to Chair or propose an alternative topic.  Please submit a title and a brief paragraph describing the proposed session.  Session Chairs will be asked to invite speakers to the session.

Possible Sessions Topics include:

Water Quantity, Hydrodynamics, Transport and Related Issues

  • Issues relating to Plan 2014 Implementation
  • Modelling and Water Quality Source Tracking
  • Spill Preparation and Incidence Management


Governance, Education and Community Outreach
  • Shared responsibilities – First Nation collaborations in the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes Environment
  • Effective Practices in Mobilizing Communities for Environmental Protection
  • Progress on Remedial Action Plans

Climate Change Impacts

  • Evidence of Environmental Change within the Rivers, Lakes and Streams
  • Human and Ecological Impacts of Changing Ranges for Wildlife/Fish/Plant/Insect Populations


 Biodiversity and Invasive Species and Habitats

  • Applications of Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Informing Science
  • Progress on Species at Risk
  • Habitat Mapping and Assessment Initiatives
  • Invasive Species in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Ecosystems
  • Changing St. Lawrence/Great Lakes Fish Populations
  • Challenges and Progress in Protecting and Enhancing Habitats

Water Quality and Contaminants

  • Changing Aquatic Food Webs – Impacts on Contaminant Uptake, Fish Consumption Restrictions and Fish Health
  • Sediment Quality and its Management
  • Recent Advances in Contaminant Research in the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes
  • Algae Blooms and Nutrient Inflows

2016 Community Day Photos

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Laurie Chan, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health and Toxicology, University of Ottawa

Title: Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption


Prof. Laurie Chan was born in Hong Kong and obtained his B.Sc. and M.Phil. at the University of Hong Kong and Ph.D. at the University of London in Toxicology.  He held faculty positions at McGill University and the University of Northern British Columbia and joined the University of Ottawa as Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Toxicology and Environmental Health and Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics in 2011. Prof. Chan is a world renowed expert in mercury toxicology has worked with Indigenous populations for over two decades.  His research in environmental and nutritional toxicology spans from the lab developing new techniques for contaminant analysis, to participatory research in the community on the risk and benefits of traditional foods and impact of environmental change on food security. Prof. Chan has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and supervised over 70 graduate students.  He has also served as an advisor for international and national governments and organizations and numerous Aboriginal communities on environmental health issues.  Prof. Chan is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Symposium Coordinator:

Christina Collard
Christina CollardProgram Leader, Administration and Fundraising

+1 613-936-6620 ext. 222

Coming Soon, for more information Contact Christina Collard.

Sponsored by: