January 01, 2007

State of the Saint John River workshop - Jan 8-10

Canadian Rivers Institute
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, NB
January 8-10, 2007

We have been conducting an assessment of the upper Saint John River with a variety of partners since the fall of 1999, and the Canadian Rivers Institute selected the Saint John as its flagship project when we were formed in 2001. We have now completed a variety of studies, focused primarily in the upper basin and the estuary, but a large variety of other studies are going on in the basin. We are moving forward on a number of new proposals, and would like to hold a workshop to get a better picture of all of the ongoing work and potential partnerships in the basin.

The specific objectives of this workshop are:
· To find out which groups are collecting data in the basin, and where they are working, to better identify potential synergies;
· To share research approaches and methods;
· To look for partnerships as we move forward in discussing the ideas of integrated watershed management.

My personal research program is aimed at trying to develop an approach to cumulative effects assessment for large river systems, focused specifically on identifying the assimilative capacity of the Saint John River. We think there is almost enough data to formally start the assessment process, but the main question is where do we start – the whole basin, the upper basin (or lower basin), or major tributaries (and which ones). We held a workshop last February that brought together watershed groups from 17 countries to discuss watershed management, and the potential tools and approaches that are successful, and are unsuccessful. That final report can be found at

The workshop clearly indicated to us, that if we wanted to move forward in any cohesive fashion, that we needed to get a better understanding of what was going on in the basin. The format of the meeting will be presentations from identified researchers, giving an overview of their program, with a focus on study objectives, study sites, key partnerships, measurement endpoints, and locations studied.

We have so far, identified 49 groups that are conducting research or monitoring in the basin. That list is attached to the end of this message. If there are other groups that we have not identified, please let us know. You can circulate this notice to them, and ask them to contact us so that we have sufficient space for everybody.

Meeting format
The meeting will be held at the Wu Conference Centre, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB Jan 8-10th. The format for the first two days will be presentations by the various groups working within the basin (the CRI presentations will be restricted to posters from the various projects that are underway – we are interested in hearing from you). The third day will be an open meeting for partners to discuss where we need to go, and how we will get there. We envisage several potential outcomes from the workshop, but are open to discussing other potential outcomes.

The meeting is open to community groups, research groups, regulatory groups, industrial partners, and any groups collecting monitoring or research data within the basin. If your group is interested in making a presentation, please send us a title and abstract (talks will be 15 min). We are looking into making simultaneous translation available for the workshop.

Travel Arrangements
Unless you have received a previous financial commitment related to this meeting, you are responsible for your own travel arrangements and funding.

For more information contact:
Robin Brown rbrown@unb.ca
Kelly Munkittrick krm@unbsj.ca

- Kelly Munkittrick
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