In addition to outdoor recreation, our conservation areas offer deep insights into the natural world, right in our own backyard. Every year, we issue permits to institutions across Ontario to conduct research in our conservation areas. These institutions include universities, government agencies, municipalities and non-profit organizations. The number of permits has been increasing in recent years, from an average of less than ten per year in the early 2000s to an average of 36 in the last five years. Research projects are also carried out on other private and public lands throughout the watershed. All of this work produces valuable information for those of us managing the natural resources of the Credit River Watershed.
At CVC we work hard to keep up-to-date with research relevant to our work, and build and maintain relationships with our research partners. The CVC Research Colloquium was created in 2019 to connect knowledge with action. Our aim is to:
- Incorporate research into our work
- Support networking and mentoring
- Build and strengthen collaborations
- Provide an opportunity for direct feedback from practitioners to researchers
This year’s research colloquium was held virtually on December 9 and 10. A total of 150 people registered, including representatives from universities, municipalities, industry, consulting firms, CVC and other conservation authorities. Although we would have preferred to meet in person, holding the event virtually had some advantages since we were able to welcome participants from as far away as Newfoundland!
Over the two days, participants heard 26 talks, delivered by CVC and partnering municipalities and universities. Topics included aquatic ecosystem stressors, forest management, ecosystem services and community engagement, terrestrial ecosystem change, and more.
Some highlights include findings of urban wetlands that continue to support sensitive amphibian species and old growth forests with over 200-year-old trees. We also heard about emerging threats to the watershed and recommendations for managing them, including road salts, invasive species and climate change. Many presenters shared work on innovative tools for natural resource management, such as using thermal imaging to gauge the success of forest restoration through its cooling effects.
New this year, we held a career panel at the end of each day’s sessions. CVC staff shared stories of their career paths and current positions and students took the opportunity to ask questions on careers in conservation. Based on the success of these sessions, they are likely to become a regular feature of the CVC Research Colloquium.
Altogether, the 2021 CVC Research Colloquium was a resounding success. Thank you to our research partners for sharing your work. We look forward to continuing to work together to incorporate your findings into CVC’s management plans and tools, so that we can continue to protect, restore and manage the natural resources of the Credit River Watershed.
Do you conduct research in the Credit River Watershed? Let us know if you would like to participate in future events.