An ecosystem health report on the 

Upper St. Lawrence River

Rapport definition: A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

Why an Ecosystem Health Report on the Upper St. Lawrence River?

A primary reason for producing an ecosystem health report is to provide you with information on the state of the ecosystem – to answer your questions about the health of the river now, how it compares to the past, and what we can do to make it better tomorrow. We want this report to inspire you to become engaged, interested, and aware of how the health of the ecosystem is intrinsically linked to all of us. The Upper St Lawrence River encompasses the region from Kingston/Cape Vincent to Lake St Francis and includes the international waters shared by the Mohawks of Akwesasne, Canada, and the United States. Ecosystem health reports exist for many of Canada’s waterways (at national [1], regional [2], and local [3] scales), but none focus on the Upper St Lawrence River. An excellent program currently exists for the Quebec section of the St Lawrence River here.  In addition, the river ecosystem presents unique challenges that need our attention – we want the report to focus on the issues that matter to you.

Who will be interested in the report?

The report will focus on topics that are important to you. We will address questions like “Is the water safe?”, “Is the natural system healthy?”, ”Can I eat the fish from the river?”. We want your input and we want you to become involved. This report is for everyone – communities and families, as well as scientists, educators, and decision-makers. The report will provide an ongoing conversation of the concerns, status, and actions we can all take to make our river better for future generations.

What will be in the report?

The Ecosystem Health Report will be a friendly, interactive product that you can access online and in print.  Your questions will be addressed based on available science/data and Indigenous Knowledge on the ecosystem.  You will be able to access quick facts about current ecological health as well as in-depth analysis of trends and future needs/actions. Inspired by the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, the report will weave stories and science together in a format that will be engaging and interesting to read.

And then what?

The report will help to focus research programs in areas that are data deficient and provide direction for rehabilitation projects and policy/management decisions. Our intent is to provide a tool for you to learn, act, and influence others to get involved in caring for our shared ecosystem.

Want to get involved?

Please share your thoughts with us – what do you want to know about this river system? Perhaps you are a fisherman? A scuba diver? A boat owner? Perhaps your business relies on the river in some way? What do you care about? With your input, we will tailor the ecosystem health report to provide you with answers.


River Institute would like to thank all of the community members that attended our Have Your Say workshop on March 28, 2019. Your stories will play an essential role as we move forward. A copy of Dr. Leigh McGaughey’s presentation has been made available HERE for anyone who was unable to attend.

(Select all that apply)
Other (please specify)
(Select all that apply)
reCAPTCHA is required.

For more information contact:

Dr. Leigh McGaughey,
Research Scientist

Thank-you to our sponsor: