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.
Pulsing through the main artery of the Great Lakes in the St. Lawrence River are many dozens of ﬁsh species. However, these populations are regularly being impacted by a variety of circumstances. The October 10 session of Science and Nature on Tap at Schnitzel’s is all about the fish of the upper St. Lawrence River. The health of fish and the status of their populations has always been a key research area for the River Institute in Cornwall. Matt Windle is an Aquatic Biologist actively engaged in ﬁsh research at the River Institute. Windle has travelled the waterways of Canada to study ﬁsh populations and has an especially keen interest in species that are under stress.
Many of the original ﬁsh stocks in the St. Lawrence have changed over the years. The upper St. Lawrence is well known for small and largemouth bass, northern pike, carp, and muskellunge (a.k.a. muskies). However, impacted by pollution, invasive species, as well as commercial ﬁshing, iconic species such as herring, sturgeon, American eels, and salmon are now at a fraction of their historic populations. There are also government advisories connected to the rate of safe consumption of fish due to specific contaminants identified within certain populations.
A collaboration with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the Fish Identification Nearshore Survey (FINS) is a research project spearheaded by Matt Windle that is serving to provide indicators that provide information about the health of the River. Nearshore ecosystems are important as they serve as nursery and feeding grounds for many valuable species of fish and invertebrate species. Given their proximity to upland activities, these communities may be particularly sensitive to changes in land use and developmental pressures.
Since 2015, Windle and a summer team of students have been studying the interactions between markers such as nearshore fish and aquatic wildlife populations, water quality, habitat features, shoreline alterations, and invertebrates. They do this by sampling the unique coastal areas along the St. Lawrence from the Thousand Islands through to the Quebec border.
The goal of this project is to better understand these areas as well as to identify and map fish populations along the upper St. Lawrence River. These findings will ultimately help to inform a 2020 St. Lawrence River Health Report Card being developed by the River Institute and its partners as well as provide information towards creation of habitat rehabilitation and recovery strategies.
Discover science and nature with OPG from June to September. This community partnership with the River Institute delivers fun and informative sessions on a range of topics that appeal to all ages, every third Saturday of the month EXCEPT for the workshop in July that will be held during a week night.
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.
March 12th : Water Wonders
March 13th: Eco-Arts
March 14th: Wild for Wildlife
March 15th: Feeling Fishy
March 16th: Living Green
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.
For more information contact:
613-936-6620 ext 240
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
2018 – Joe Belmonte
2017– Upper St. Lawrence Protection Network
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