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How we Work

The Great River Rapport is being carried out through a Two-Row Wampum approach in collaboration with founding partners, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program.

1.

Define boundaries of the region

The geographic scope of this project includes the whole of the Upper St. Lawrence River spanning from Kingston/Cape Vincent in the west to the end of Lake St. Francis in the east, an approximate length of 300 km. For the purposes of this project, the Upper St. Lawrence River has been divided into five sections based on different features of the river: Thousand Islands, Brockville, Lake St. Lawrence, Cornwall/Massena/Akwesasne, and Lake St. Francis. The region has an estimated population of half a million people who depend on the river system. 

1.

Define boundaries of the region

The geographic scope of this project includes the whole of the Upper St. Lawrence River spanning from Kingston/Cape Vincent in the west to the end of Lake St. Francis in the east, an approximate length of 300 km. For the purposes of this project, the Upper St. Lawrence River has been divided into five sections based on different features of the river: Thousand Islands, Brockville, Lake St. Lawrence, Cornwall/Massena/Akwesasne, and Lake St. Francis. The region has an estimated population of half a million people who depend on the river system. 

2.

Ask the Community

The river ecosystem presents unique challenges that need our attention. Because we wanted the Rapport to focus on the issues that matter to the public, we started the initiative by asking communities what they want to know about the health of the river. We did this through conversations with community groups, community members, project partners, and a survey that was open to the general public. 

2.

Ask the Community

The river ecosystem presents unique challenges that need our attention. Because we wanted the Rapport to focus on the issues that matter to the public, we started the initiative by asking communities what they want to know about the health of the river. We did this through conversations with community groups, community members, project partners, and a survey that was open to the general public. 

3.

Bring the Scientists Together

With our communities’ questions in hand, we approached scientists working on the St. Lawrence River and asked them to nominate indicators of ecological health that could be used to answer these questions and guide efforts to address community concerns. At a workshop, 73 indicators were nominated for review. 

With our communities’ questions in hand, we approached scientists working on the St. Lawrence River and asked them to nominate indicators of ecological health that could be used to answer these questions and guide efforts to address community concerns. At a workshop, 73 indicators were nominated for review. 

4.

Select the Indicators

In collaboration with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and 50 scientists, we selected a final suite of 35 indicators based on a number of factors, including relevance to the Upper St. Lawrence River ecosystem, importance to the public, and responsiveness to change.  

In collaboration with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and 50 scientists, we selected a final suite of 35 indicators based on a number of factors, including relevance to the Upper St. Lawrence River ecosystem, importance to the public, and responsiveness to change.  

5.

Identify and gather relevant data

For each ecological indicator, the project team conducts an extensive review of academic, government, industry, and open data sources to identify all existing, relevant datasets. Freely available datasets are accessed and cleaned, and requests for access are made to all other data holders in an effort to bring all known information together.

For each ecological indicator, the project team conducts an extensive review of academic, government, industry, and open data sources to identify all existing, relevant datasets. Freely available datasets are accessed and cleaned, and requests for access are made to all other data holders in an effort to bring all known information together.

6.

Conduct a scientific investigation

Following the collection and compilation of all available data, the project team analyses the data for each indicator to identify patterns and assess how the indicator has responded to changes through time. Additional datasets related to different aspects of the ecosystem are gathered to better understand the drivers behind these patterns. 

Following the collection and compilation of all available data, the project team analyses the data for each indicator to identify patterns and assess how the indicator has responded to changes through time. Additional datasets related to different aspects of the ecosystem are gathered to better understand the drivers behind these patterns. 

7.

Collaborate

This project is a collaborative effort, and partners, knowledge keepers, data holders, scientists, analysts, community groups and community members were invited to comment on the reports as they were drafted. Each report is peer reviewed by experts in the field, and we share preliminary findings through presentations and community meetings. The project team takes all feedback into consideration, returning to the data or seeking out new data where needed. This feedback also helps to identify gaps in the existing data and questions for future research.  

This project is a collaborative effort, and partners, knowledge keepers, data holders, scientists, analysts, community groups and community members were invited to comment on the reports as they were drafted. Each report is peer reviewed by experts in the field, and we share preliminary findings through presentations and community meetings. The project team takes all feedback into consideration, returning to the data or seeking out new data where needed. This feedback also helps to identify gaps in the existing data and questions for future research.  

8.

Translate the science and spread
the knowledge

Knowledge is powerful, and a core aim of this initiative is to communicate the project’s scientific process and findings in ways that are meaningful and accessible to everyone. The research and findings related to each indicator are shared in a variety of formats, including through infographics, workshops, symposia, public presentations, cleanups, art exhibitions, and educational materials and programs.

Knowledge is powerful, and a core aim of this initiative is to communicate the project’s scientific process and findings in ways that are meaningful and accessible to everyone. The research and findings related to each indicator are shared in a variety of formats, including through infographics, workshops, symposia, public presentations, cleanups, art exhibitions, and educational materials and programs.

9.

Engage in ongoing conversations

Through our community-engaged approach, the Rapport aims to provide people with access to scientific information that they trust in order to facilitate meaningful and productive conversations about the health of the river and guide future research efforts.

Through our community-engaged approach, the Rapport aims to provide people with access to scientific information that they trust in order to facilitate meaningful and productive conversations about the health of the river and guide future research efforts.

10.

Take action!

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to empower people to mobilize this information to improve the health of the Great River. 

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to empower people to mobilize this information to improve the health of the Great River.