The CRI’s vision is to make every river a healthy river. 

Defining exactly what characteristics constitute “healthy” however remains to be a significant scientific challenge. For this reason, the CRI continues to work in collaboration with partner institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations to develop a broad science-based framework for assessing the health of Canadian river ecosystems. Our approach to assessing river health is carried out through the development of core metrics broadly derived from measures of water quality, water flow, and biota.  By improving our ability to measure these features of river systems, we move closer to an understanding of what conditions or thresholds must be met for a river to be classified as healthy. 



To achieve our vision, the CRI operates in accordance with the following mandate:

to achieve outstanding river science and to deliver collaborative, multi-disciplinary research, education and outreach serving the needs of society at home and internationally.




  • We work to recruit and retain the most highly qualified researchers, students and staff

  • We value outstanding achievement and are committed to continuous improvement, striving to create and achieve the highest standards of research, education and professionalism

  • We evaluate our work through a peer review process and measure our performance through external criteria


  • We believe in scientific inquiry and discovery and a culture that fosters creativity, change, and ingenuity

  • We believe in evidence-based science that supports governments, public agencies and industry in designing effective approaches to managing rivers

  • We value the translation of new ideas into practice, placing value on both the scientific and end-user communities


  • Our research adheres to evidence-based, rigorous scientific principles of the highest scholarly and ethical standards

  • We are committed to truthfulness, accuracy and accountability in our methodologies and reporting

  • We act responsibly with public and personal trust and are engaged with the university community to ensure our programs meet the highest level of educational standards


  • We strive to identify, facilitate and disseminate research that is valued by our researchers and is also in line with the needs of the environment, policy makers, and the public at large

  • We are conscientious of the implications and overall effectiveness of our research and educational training programs

  • We are committed to ensuring that our organizational strategy maintains long-range direction and identifies relevant goals over time

Cooperation & Collaboration

  • We facilitate a network of scientists in which interdisciplinary knowledge is shared through active participation in open communication, transforming dialogue into actionable and meaningful opportunities

  • We work collectively and with multiple stakeholders to resolve complex environmental and social issues related to river health

  • We strive to facilitate, negotiate, and achieve consensus about effective techniques to improve river health.

  • A core tenet of our education and training of strong water leaders is teaching the importance of negotiation and consensus.

Knowledge & Understanding

  • We actively facilitate and encourage the development and open exchange of ideas and information

  • We have a deep respect for academic freedom

  • We aim to promote a culture of knowledge sharing between the science community and the public

  • We aim to nurture and inspire a new generation of river specialists by instilling a passion for inquiry, observation and investigation of the natural world

Outreach & Engagement

  • We engage in relevant research that is focused on supporting and providing solutions to societal problems

  • We work to enable and maintain an open dialogue between researchers, students and communities to ensure that planning and decision making is achieved through consultation with multiple actors

  • We seek to advance an understanding of the key issues affecting rivers and communicate current research efforts to the interested communities