The Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) today released a new five-year innovative research plan focused on protecting and improving the health of rivers. 

The timing of the research plan coincides with the recurring theme of river and water management headlines in the news related to changes to the Fisheries Act, concerns of hydro-fracking and other resource development, watershed management and plans for hydro-dams, to name just a few topics. With companies such as RBC distributing funding totaling more than $2.3 million for water protection and preservation programs, water-related issues have become more pressing for the general public.

The goal of the plan is to ensure that the science of river sustainability is provided in a way that everyone can understand. “CRI science understands how human activities are affecting water quality and quantity in rivers, the abundance of fish and the health of aquatic life,” states Karen Kidd, CRI Science Director and Chair of the Science Directors Board. “This Plan will build on our successes and use our internationally-renowned team to address critical science needs about how all of the collective activities in a watershed affect the sustainability of rivers.”

With three core areas of research in the science plan, the institute will deliver techniques and mechanisms allowing science to be quickly and efficiently integrated into river management policies. The CRI recognizes the importance of getting these tools into the hands of the public so that people can have an understanding of what is happening and in turn, be able to have an effect on policy changes.  “We will work with water stewards and managers to ensure that the latest science and knowledge is accessible and available when decisions are made about how rivers are used,” states Kidd.


Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) is internationally recognized as the go-to source for advancing river, estuary watershed sciences and ecological sustainability. In Canada and globally, rivers are threatened by increasing demands for water, development and other activities in the watershed, and our changing climate. 

While our understanding of how rivers work continues to advance, uptake of innovative science for the protection and management of rivers and their resources is lagging around the world.  A sustainable future for our rivers requires that researchers work collaboratively with management to ensure that the latest science and tools for understanding changes of consequence in rivers are used and that adaptive management approaches are in place to respond to increasing pressures on these systems and to new knowledge and technologies.  CRI’s research plan focuses on protecting and improving the health of rivers by conducting the innovative science needed to create a paradigm shift in river management.

Media Contact: Karen Kidd, CRI Science Director and Chair of the Science Directors Board