May 31 and June 1, 2017  Ontario Power Generation Visitor Center
The 2017 Assessing River Ecosystem Challenges in a Changing Environment Symposium hosted by the River Institute, Ottawa University and Blue Fish Canada. The event 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.

Hey! Don't forget to Register,

Seating is limited.

Schedule at a Glance

Symposium  – Science Day May 31  Day 1

8:00  – Registration Opens (Coffee service)
845 am – Traditional Native Opening
9:00 am – Keynote address
Dr. Laurie Chan, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health and Toxicology, University of Ottawa
Title: Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption

Click here for Dr. Laurie Chan's Biography

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.

945 am  Guest Speaker:
Dr. Satyendra Bhavsar is a Research Scientist with the Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Title: Safe eating of Ontario fish and assessing Fish Consumption Beneficial Use Impairment

Click here for Dr. Satyendra Bhavsar Biography

Dr. Satyendra Bhavsar is a Research Scientist with the Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. He represents the Ministry at various provincial, national and international committees on contaminants.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, University of Windsor and Ryerson University.  He is a Professional Engineer and received his Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto. Dr. Bhavsar’s research focuses on studying contaminant fate‐transport, food web dynamics and exposure to humans through fish consumption. The overarching goal of his work is to guide policies and management actions regarding contaminants in environment.


10:45 am Panel Discussion

Title: Angling and Fish Harvest Practices, Traditions, Research and Regulations, Chaired by Lawrence Gunther, President Blue Fish Canada

Description: Commercial, indigenous and sport fishing and the people who conduct these practices depend on fish health. At the same time, their rights to engage in the capture of fish means taking responsibility for the long-term sustainability of fish stocks. This session will bring together stakeholders to exchange information and identify opportunities for achieving synergies. Topic areas include community engagement, public education, citizen and indigenous knowledge, best practices, commercial and sport fishing research and regulations, and Fish habitat and health.


12:00 (noon) Lunch

Concurrent Afternoon Sessions

1:00 pm Concurrent Session –  Species at Risk – Chaired by Dr. Brian Hickey, River Institute

1:00 pm Concurrent Session – Land-Water Interface: The Importance of Natural and Anthropogenic Inputs to Nearshore Water Quality St. Lawrence River. Chaired by Chris Critoph, Raisin Region Conservation Authority

3:00 pm – Concurrent session  – Water Quality Indicators and Modelling, Chaired by Dr. Goeff Hall, Queen’s University

3:00 pm Concurrent Session – Contaminated Sediment Assessment and Management, Chaired by TBA

4: 00 pm – Traditional Native Closing

4:30 pm  – Stomping Ground Bistro and Cafe – Social Mixer
(110-705 Cotton Mill Street,  Cornwall)

8:30 am  – Community Environmental Exhibitors
10:00 am Lawrence Gunther, President, Blue Fish Canada, will speak and inspire you about his documentary film “What Lies Below “.

Lawrence Gunther has a Masters in Environmental Studies, and is North America’s only blind professional tournament angler and outdoor writer.

Lawrence founded “Blue Fish Canada” in 2012, a charity dedicated to fish health and sustainable fishing.

His “Blue Fish Radio” podcasts and “Feel the Bite” videos are enjoyed by thousands, and his “Blind Fishing boat” blog has entertained and inspired people for over ten years.

The documentary “What Lies Below” features Lawrence as he meets people throughout Canada who live by and from the water.



Ontario Power Generation Visitor Center

2500B 2nd Street W, Cornwall, ON K6H 5R6

Free Parking


Are you interested in submitting an abstract.

Contract Christina Collard, River Symposium Coordinator

Symposium Coordinator

Christina Collard
Christina CollardProgram Leader, Administration and Fundraising

+1 613-936-6620 ext 222 –

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