River Health: Past, Present & Future

27th Annual River Symposium | Fall 2020

Join us at the Ramada Inn | Cornwall, Ontario, Canada

For the past 27 years, the River Institute has hosted an annual Symposium to bring together researchers and stakeholders to explore issues and challenges facing large rivers and their watershed. This sharing of knowledge is powerful as it leads to a better understanding of fresh water resources and ecosystems, as well as the development of strategies for renewal and protection.

COVID-19 Update

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 River Symposium.

Considering the current situation with the novel COVID-19 virus, the River Institute has decided to postpone the 27th Annual River Symposium and reschedule the event in the fall of 2020. The format for the event in the fall will remain unchanged, with a both a Community Day and a Science Day, providing a platform for researchers, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and citizens to discuss current ecological health of our freshwater ecosystems.

The Symposium committee would like to extend a thank you to those who have already submitted abstracts and look forward to seeing everyone in the fall. We will keep the abstract submission open and update the timeline of events on the website as they are established. We will continue to post updates on the website and via social media as we move forward.

Wishing you all the best in health and safety.

River Health:

Past, Present, & Future

For the River Symposium 2020, we will focus on the health of our freshwater ecosystems. We will have both a Community and Science Day providing a platform for researchers, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and citizens to understand current ecological health as well as in-depth analysis of trends and future needs/actions.

The Symposium will share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems.  The scientific presentations and community involvement sessions will address current topics important to all freshwater ecosystems and of immediate concern for the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes.

 Community Day

Join us for our Community Day. Engage with local scientists and community partners to learn about the challenges that face our freshwater ecosystems and the ways in which we are working towards finding solutions to these challenges.  

Science Day

Join us for our Science Day. For the River Symposium 2020, we will focus on the health of our freshwater ecsystems to coincide with our Great River Rapport – an ecosystem health report of the Upper St. Lawrence River. The Symposium will share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems.

Join us this fall for another great symposium!

Keynote Speakers

Jérôme Marty

Project Director, Council of Canadian Academies

Jérôme Marty is a project director at the Council of Canadian Academies in Ottawa where he has been working at the interface between science and policy. His current work at the CCA involves 2 main topics, one the links between natural disasters prevention and climate adaptation and the second on circular economy. Prior to joining the CCA in 2016, Jérôme held positions as a research scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute, as director of environment in a large consulting firm (WSP Canada), and as a science advisor at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Jérôme is a past President of the International Association of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) and the Society of Canadian Limnologists (SCL). He is a Board member of Watershed Canada and a member of several scientific advisory committees working on water science and governance. In 2019, he became the Chair of Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE) and was nominated on the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC). As a freshwater expert, he continues to advise governments on water related issues. When not working, he can be found biking, paddling with his family, or playing accordion.

Abraham Francis

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne- Environment Program

Abraham Francis has a BS in Microbiology, 2014, and MS in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. His past experiences include community empowerment, engagement, and research with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and a variety of other community-based organizations. His Masters’ Thesis focused on applied research to develop a biocultural land stewardship strategy for existing and newly settled Native American Land Claims on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Akwesasne. Currently, he works as the Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne – Environment Program. The position allows him to develop and implement projects that are inspired and directed by community needs as well as influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities.

Fin Donnelly

Founder & Chair, Rivershed Society of British Columbia

From 1990 to 2000, he made 14 environmental marathon swims, covering more than 3,200 kilometres in BC’s rivers, lakes and ocean; including twice swimming the 1,400 km length of the Fraser River in 1995 and 2000 to draw attention to the declining health of these water bodies and to encourage communities to engage in environmental advocacy.

Fin served as a member of Coquitlam City Council from 2002-2009 and as Member of Parliament for Port Moody-Coquitlam and New Westminster-Coquitlam from 2009-2019. While in the House of Commons he founded the All-Party Oceans Caucus.

As NDP Fisheries & Oceans critic, Fin introduced many bills to protect West Coast waters including legislation to ban oil tankers off BC’s north coast; transition West Coast open-net salmon farms to land-based, closed containment and ban the importation of shark fins to Canada, which became law in 2019.

Fin has a Philosophy degree from the University of Victoria. He grew up in Port Moody and lives in Coquitlam with his wife Lynda.

Pricing & Registration

Our goal is to keep our conference affordable for all. Our community day (May 27) remains FREE to attend and everyone is welcome, but we kindly ask you to register.


Early bird


Community Day

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