River Symposium

symposiumbWelcome to our 23rd Annual International Symposium on the
St. Lawrence / Great Lakes ecosystems

May 25, 2016 & May 26th, 2016

Great Nations, Great River:
Collective Efforts to Engage Communities through Science and Action

held at St. Lawrence Power Development Visitors Centre
Directions to the Center click the link

8:00 am Registration Opens
8:30 am Traditional Native Opening
8:45 am – 11:00 am  Hot Topic Speakers (see below)

Sessions are available all day
Download the 2016 River Symposium Program (subject to changes)

5:15 pm Traditional Native Closing –  Symposium ends

As part of our Science and Nature speakers series there will be an
Evening Preservation with by Yves de la Lafontaine –
“The State of the St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem: Indicators and Trends
7 pm Aultsville Lobby, St. Lawrence College
2 St. Lawrence Dr. Cornwall, Ontario Canada (parking is free)

 On May 26th, 2016 we will be hosting a community free to all. Click for details
Symposium Community Day May 26, 2016 (pdf)

Contact: Christina Collard ccollard{@}riverinstitute.ca


Confirmed Keynote Speaker for Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

8:45 am 
Keynote: Yves de Lafontaine, Ph.D.
, Director, Sciences regional directorate, Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Government of Canada

From green to blue waters: the impact of a large river on the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence ecosystem.

Mr. de Lafontaine has over 25 years of experience in scientific management and research. He began his career as an associate research professor at Université du Québec à Rimouski and has since occupied various scientific positions with progressively more responsibilities at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada. He recently co-chaired the St. Lawrence Action Plan’s “Water Quality Improvement” committee. Mr. de Lafontaine has been honoured with an International Joint Commission Certificate of Appreciation and an Environment Canada Excellence Award. He has also written or co-written over 100 scientific publications and communications.

He has a master’s degree in oceanography from the Université du Québec à Rimouski and a doctorate in marine biology from McGill University

9:15 am

Gilbert CabanaGuest Speaker: Gilbert Cabana, Ph.D
. Gilbert Cabana is professor at the Département des Sciences de l’Environnement at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (Québec, Canada).

Where do fish from the St-Lawrence come from?

He is a member of the RIVE Research Centre at UQTR, which is dedicated to the study of the interactions between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Cabana has been conducting research on lake, stream, and river food webs combining the use of stable isotopes of various elements (C,N,S) with data on contaminants in fish and invertebrates. I am interested in broad patterns in food web structures and ecological subsidies, as well as applications of this approach to bioenergetics at the level on individual organisms.  One of my current interests involves the ecological role of the floodplain of Lac Saint-Pierre, a threatened hot spot of biological diversity and potentially a keystone component of the functioning of the St-Lawrence River ecosystem.

From its source at the outlet of Lake Ontario to the start of brackish waters near Quebec City, the St-Lawrence River is comprised of a series of constrained segments interspaced with wider fluvial lakes connected to major tributaries. How do these habitats contribute to the productivity of this major river? Can we identify fish species trophically connected to specific water masses or tributaries? Does the floodplain contribute to fish productivity? Do the output of nutrients from the effluent of the City of Montreal play an important role in the food web? Using a biogeochemical approach to the study of riverine food webs, students in my lab and collaborators have been investigating these questions.

10:00 am


Guest Speakers:  Jérôme Marty, Ph.D. Science Advisor, Environmental Science, Ecosystem Science, Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Government of Canada

Marine Shipping and Spills in the St Lawrence River: trends, probability and impacts.

Dr. Marty has worked for the last 15 years on his favorite topic: water and the creatures living in it. He has explored the response of food webs to flow perturbations in northern Quebec reservoirs and in rivers affected by dam operations. At the River Institute, he studied the influence of nutrient inputs on the water quality of the St Lawrence River and also studied a newly discovered invasive species (Hemimysis – small shrimp) to understand its effects in the Great Lakes and in the St Lawrence River. Over the last couple of years, he developed methods to be applied in risk assessments of aquatic systems. His latest work evaluated the risk of spills associated with marine shipping in Canada.

Jerome is currently a science advisor in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, and teaches at the University of Ottawa. He is the President of the Canadian Society of Limnology, promoting science and awareness of Freshwater in Canada.

10:30 am
Guest Speaker:
Regina Jacobs, Emergency Response Officer, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne,

Emergency Management  in the Territory of Akwesasne: A Multi-Jurisdictional Response Effort.

Ms. Regina M. Jacobs  is a registered First Nation member of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA – Canada) & the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT- Unites States). The Mohawks of Akwesasne are part of the Iroquois Confederacy and its community lies on the border of both Canada (Quebec & Ontario) and the United States (New York State). Ms. Jacobs began her career in Emergency Management in 2004 as a hobby and it bloomed into a career after meeting her predecessor, Mr. Lawrence “Larry” White who was the Emergency Manager for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne for 18 years. Mr. White retired from MCA in 2010 and Ms. Jacobs became his successor that same year.  She currently chairs the Akwesasne & Local Emergency Planning Committee (ALECP) and sits on the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Standards and Practices committee – representing First Nations. She is also a co-researcher/ consultant for the Applied Research in Environmental Sciences NonProfit, Inc. (ARIES) which is organized and operated for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes. ARIES is a research association in which multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary projects such as USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) whose mission is to improve the Nation’s security through the development of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism and to guide economically viable investments in homeland security. However, she shares all of her success with the MCA’s Chief and Council who are strong supporters of Emergency Management in Akwesasne as it addresses the various obstacles with being a multi-jurisdictional community.


  1. Fish Populations and Ecosystem Health, Chaired by Dominique Lapointe, PhD River Institute.
  2. Water Quality and Watershed Processes Chaired by Geof Hall, PhD, Queen’s University
  3. Nuisance Algae and Aquatic Plants, Chaired by Frances Pick, PhD University of Ottawa
  4. Species at Risk, Invasive Species and Regulations When Working Around Water, Chaired by Naomi Langlois-Anderson, South Nation Conservation Authority.
  5. Update on Remedial Action Plans, Chaired by Andrew Morley, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.


Contact: Christina Collard- River Symposium Coordinator info(@)riverinstitute.ca

Advisory Committee

River Institute Staff, Jeff Ridal, Christina Collard and Karen Cooper
Emily Conger Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative
Lee Willbanks, Save the River
Henry Lickers, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Andrew Morley, MOECC
Rimi Kalinauskas, EC
Michael Twiss, Great River Centre, Clarkson U
Chris Critoph, Raisin Region Conservation Authority
Geoff Hall, Water Research Centre, Queen’s U
Mark Kaddie, Cornwall Lunker Club

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