CRI: Leading Canada’s Northern Aquatic Research


Some of the most important aquatic research of this past decade is taking place in Canada’s northern waters.

On this World Rivers Day (Sept. 24), the Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) is highlighting its scientists who, for the past 10 years, have been at the forefront of scientific research and monitoring to understand changes in the Arctic, sub-Arctic and boreal regions and what they could mean for Canadians and communities around the world.

Today, northern regions are experiencing rapid, human-induced changes to aquatic ecosystems that threaten the natural environment and the livelihoods and traditions of northern communities worldwide.

CRI scientists play a pivotal leadership role in helping scientific, government, and community partners understand the changes that are occurring.

Since 2010, CRI has coordinated the international efforts of the Arctic Council’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), Freshwater, an international network of scientists, governments, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic’s freshwater resources. The CBMP has been endorsed by the Arctic Council, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Arctic Biodiversity Observation Network.

Through our partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), CRI Associate Dr. Jennifer Lento — located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton — acts as the secretariat for the CBMP, responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. This plan provides Arctic countries with a structure and set of guidelines for launching and developing monitoring activities that are critical for understanding the changes occurring in the north.

As the secretariat of the CBMP-freshwater, CRI continues to improve communication and coordination of Arctic freshwater scientists and further its collaboration with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, government, academia, and industry to support management decisions that protect freshwater biodiversity in Canada’s Arctic.

CRI scientists are also conducting a range of research and monitoring projects in the Arctic both related and unrelated to the CBMP. These include studying changes in fish habitat and the impacts of industrial activity in northern regions, among others.

Click here to see our infographic, “CRI’s Northern Rivers Research,” which highlights more than a decade of CRI’s work in Canada’s Arctic, sub-Arctic and boreal regions waters.

As scientists, governments and communities across the globe increasingly look for solutions to changes occurring in the Arctic, CRI scientists continue their mission of making every river — including those in the north — a healthy river.

—Dr. Michael van den Heuvel, Director