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SFS Annual Meeting

2021 Detailed Schedule

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Francis Burdon (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden,;

Felix Witing (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany,;

Geta Risnoveanu (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Department of Systems Ecology and Sustainability, University of Bucharest, Romania ,;

Benjamin Kupilas (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway ,;

Nikolai Friberg (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Norwegian Institute for Water ResearchNorwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway ,;

Martin Volk (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany,;

Brendan McKie (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden,;

Peter Goethals (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Aquatic Ecology Research Unit, Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent University, Belgium ,;

Marie Anne Eurie Forio (Primary Presenter/Author)
Aquatic Ecology Research Unit, Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent University, Belgium ,;

Abstract: Despite the benefits of riparian forests, they are rarely implemented in water management, which is partly due to the lack of information on the effectiveness of this measure. In this context, social learning is valuable to inform stakeholders of the efficacy of riparian vegetation in mitigating stream degradation. Tools used in workshop activities are crucial to the learning process. We developed a Bayesian belief network (BBN) model applied as a learning tool to simulate and assess the local and longitudinal effects of riparian vegetation and land use on stream invertebrates. We surveyed local riparian condition, extracted longitudinal riparian and land use information from geographic information system data and collected macroinvertebrate samples from four catchments in Europe (Belgium, Norway, Romania and Sweden). We modelled the ecological quality, expressed as Average Score Per Taxon index, as a function of different riparian variables using the BBN modelling approach. The model simulations provided insights into the usefulness of riparian vegetation attributes in enhancing ecological quality. We assessed the strengths and limitations of the BBN model for application as a learning tool. Despite some weaknesses, the BBN model proved to be a valuable learning tool.

Considering Time, Space, Water Knowledge, Values, and Imaginaries in Research with Tribes in the United States on Water Quality Governance [Oral Presentation]

Kate A Berry (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Nevada, Reno,;

Teresa Cavazos Cohn (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Idaho,;

Kyle Powys Whyte (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Michigan,;

Abstract: In 2016 the United States National Science Foundation funded a research project we proposed, Understanding Concepts of Space and Time in Tribal Water Quality Governance. This presentation discusses our collaborations with two Tribes on this project, the Nez Perce Tribe (Nimiipúu) and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (Kooyooe Tukadu) and some of what we have been finding. While relationships were developed with tribal members and tribal government representatives on water quality issues before putting together the research proposal, throughout our project we continue to adapt the research to accommodate change. The social and cultural values of these Tribes have been essential to incorporate as we have gathered information and insights about knowledge of water quality, water values, and hydrosocial imaginaries and examined how these influence, and are influenced, by time and space. As we complete the project, we are currently bringing together additional researchers, practitioners, and tribal leaders to discuss their research and collaborations on Indigenous water quality governance as well.


LuLu Lacy (Primary Presenter/Author,Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Thiago B.A. Couto (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Abstract: Fish migration has captured the interest of scientists and human communities around the world for millennia. To date, scientific research has documented little about migratory patterns of inland fishes, especially potamodromous species that migrate entirely within freshwaters. The Amazon Basin is known for its rich biological and cultural diversity - it holds one fifth of the world’s freshwater fishes, and is home to over 400 diverse Indigenous groups, many of which have very rich knowledge and connection to migratory fishes. Here, we highlight explanations for fish migration from Amazonian peoples by drawing upon existing ethnography, anthropology, and grey literature. We review the ways that four different indigenous groups understand fish migration: the Enawene-Nawe people of Brazil, the Tacana people of Bolivia, the Uitoto people of Colombia, and the Kukama people of Peru and Colombia. Some narratives, such as that of the Enawene-Nawe, are characterized by animism and explicit references to fish migration, such as information on species, direction of movements, motivations, and ecological clues. The results of our study reveal the richness of cultural perspectives towards migration and the diverse ways that people relate to rivers across the Amazon.

Indigenous Observation Network: An approach to Indigenous Water Governance [Oral Presentation]

Edda Mutter (Primary Presenter/Author)
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council,;

Abstract: In the arctic and subarctic, Indigenous peoples are significantly vulnerable to changes in water quality and quantity due to their complex relationship between the environment and their health, livelihoods and cultural wellbeing. Alaska Native Tribal and First Nation governances have been exploring avenues to develop water rights decision-making processes in order to protect water in a manner that they deem consistent with the values, principles and relationships of Indigenous water governance This presentation discusses the Indigenous Observation Network, a partnership between the Alaska Native Tribes and First Nations, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, the United States Geological Survey, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks that combines Traditional Ecological Knowledge and modern science. The community-based research program has developed two projects that focus on water quality and active layer dynamics to address concerns with regard to past and current changes to the landscape and hydrology. With predicted environmental changes, the efforts of ION will become critical to assess, mitigate and adapt to changing local environments. The ION baseline dataset has been used to inform Alaska Tribal and Territorial governance throughout their water management and source water protection planning processes.

Intentional Stakeholder Engagement for Improved Environmental Flow Outcomes [Oral Presentation]

Meghan Mussehl (Primary Presenter/Author)
University og Melbourne,;

Avril Horne (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
The University of Melbourne,;

Angus Webb (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
The University of Melbourne,;

Abstract: Rivers are dynamic socio-ecological systems supporting societies and ecosystems in a multitude of ways, giving rise to a variety of user groups and competing interests. Environmental flows intended to protect riparian environments have seen calls for increased public participation to include communities and First Nations. In this paper, we describe how adaptive management of environmental flows allows an opportunity to incorporate a diversity of stakeholder views through an iterative process, but stakeholder engagement must be intentionally integrated into the adaptive management cycle. Stakeholder engagement in environmental flows allows for the creation of a shared understanding of a river and opens up collaborative and innovative management strategies that address multiple axes of uncertainty. Engagement is already happening in an ad-hoc manner in environmental flows, but this paper articulates a holistic framework that unifies these projects and other methods into a complete strategy. We have identified the primary steps in an environmental flows adaptive management cycle and stated the ideal roles of various stakeholders, illustrating potential engagement tools through case study examples. Restructuring environmental flows methods to adequately include stakeholders requires a shift from being deliverable driven to focusing on people-oriented outcomes.


Amy Burgin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Kansas,;

Kynser Wahwahsuck (Primary Presenter/Author,Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Kansas,;

Abstract: Agriculture drainage from fertilizers results in nutrient supply into surrounding streams consequentially creating poor stream health. We want to better understand how nitrogen cycling and metabolism are connected in headwater streams affected by land use. In this study we ask: how does land use affect in-stream denitrification, nitrogen concentrations, and ecosystem metabolism? We sampled six streams in northeast Kansas: three grassland vs. three cropland. To understand in-stream nitrogen processes and metabolism, we measured diel (day to night) patterns of nitrate concentrations and dissolved gases (oxygen, argon, di-nitrogen, and nitrous oxide) to quantify denitrification, gross primary production, and ecosystem respiration. As predicted, streams predominantly cropland had higher nitrate concentrations and more denitrification relative to grassland streams. Ecosystem respiration and gross primary production rates varied more among cropland land use, likely due to flux of nitrogen inputs. This study is important as the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas depends on surface water within this watershed for drinking water purposes. The findings from this study can be applied to communities to inform management implications for water quality.


Deborah McGregor (Primary Presenter/Author)
York University,;

Abstract: Efforts to incorporate Traditional knowledge (TK) into water governance regimes in Ontario continue to evolve in urgency, scope and complexity. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties have an interest in seeing such undertakings succeed, and yet errors in implementation continue to derail initiatives on a far too frequent basis. A brief look at the impetus behind current initiatives is provided, followed by highlights of some of the reasons why Indigenous peoples remain cautious in their interactions with outside agencies wishing to utilize their knowledge. As well, reasons are offered as to why Indigenous peoples continue to see the sharing of TK as necessary in the move towards achieving global sustainability. Finally, lessons from two Ontario examples of government–First Nation collaboration in the Great Lakes Ecosystem are presented. Key among these is the finding that early, ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship-building between involved parties is essential to project success


Elizabeth P Anderson (Primary Presenter/Author)
Florida International University,;

Natalia Piland (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Abstract: Recognition of the human and social dimensions of freshwater ecosystems is as important as understanding of their ecological characteristics for effective freshwater conservation. This talk highlights efforts from three riverscapes to identify and address freshwater conservation challenges by linking rivers and people. In East Africa, a social-environmental inventory of the lower Mara River using an assets-based approach revealed a set of pathways for engagement of riparian human populations in freshwater conservation, for example strong kinship and reciprocity networks and formalized channels for public participation in resource management. In the Andean Amazon, collaborations between freshwater scientists and Indigenous people have braided ecological research and cultural understanding of rivers to respond to pressing threats of large-scale infrastructure development. Finally, an on-going exploration of the Miami River as a holder of memory for the city of Miami, Florida, aims to understand the historical and root causes that have contributed to the degraded ecological condition of the river, including systemic racism and classism. A benefits basket approach helps conceptualize the ways people use, derive income from, and experience the Miami River today, and envision a more equitable and environmentally sustainable future.


Natalia Piland (Primary Presenter/Author)
Florida International University,;

Thiago Couto (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Maria Pulido (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Elizabeth P Anderson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Florida International University,;

Abstract: Citizen science has been characterized as an Eurocentric research method. However, research in conservation, management, and monitoring in the tropics have often adopted participatory methods, of which citizen science could be considered a subset of. In a comprehensive literature review, we identified 423 scientific papers in the fields of ecology and conservation based on participatory research experiences from 57 tropical countries over the last 25 years. Of these, about 66% identified their research as “citizen science,” many in addition to other participatory methods, such as “community-based monitoring.” Although many publications are authored by researchers from non-tropical countries, more than 80% of the papers included authors from local institutions. More than half of the papers found on resource management focused on fisheries, yet only 30 papers focused on freshwater ecosystems. This result shows that freshwater science in the tropics has much to gain from these methodologies. In this talk, we highlight the context of participatory research in the tropics, its potential for furthering freshwater science, and its possibilities for more equitable collaboration and co-production of knowledge.


Heather Castleden (Primary Presenter/Author)
Queen's University,;

Pauline Gerrard (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area,;

Lydia Johnson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Queen's University,;

Lucas King (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Grand Council Treaty #3,;

Samantha Mishos (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Queen's University,;

Diane Orihel (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Queen's University,;

Jennifer Provencher (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Environment Canada,;

Alana Wilcox (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Environment Canada,;

Abstract: The link between healthy lands, waters, and people has been embodied in Indigenous societies since time immemorial, yet these knowledge systems are largely dismissed in western natural sciences. Despite western science’s best efforts, we face global environmental challenges of unprecedented magnitudes– and in Canada, we have been in a state of crisis with respect to anti-Indigenous racism for centuries; it is a watershed moment to work together toward healing and reconciling the damage we have done. Our research responds to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #65, which calls on scientists to advance their understandings of reconciliation. We – an ecotoxicology lab and a social-environmental justice lab – are collaborating with Grand Council Treaty #3 (GCT3) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), a whole-of-lake experimental research station established in Treaty #3 Anishinaabe territory without their free, prior, and informed consent. Our research has three objectives: 1) Develop a Terms of Reference to co-govern our research; 2) Develop policies and procedures for freshwater research that takes place in GCT3 territory; and 3) Pilot the policies and procedures on a collaborative freshwater research project at the IISD-ELA.


Nicole Novodvorsky (Primary Presenter/Author)
Government of Yukon,;

Coralee Johns (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)

Abstract: There is a need to transform our understanding and approach to freshwater research. Simply quantifying and analyzing ecological data fails to recognize the complexity, diversity and connections between environmental and social issues. In this presentation, a holistic approach to freshwater research and management is discussed using examples from the lands of the traditional territories of Yukon First Nations, Canada. This approach includes the recognition and bridging of different knowledge systems (Indigenous and Western) and should include collaboration to foster shared decision-making and mutually beneficial knowledge sharing. We also discuss the importance of relationship building with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike in freshwater research. Lastly, we introduce the topics of subsequent talks to be presented within this special session. Through this series of talks, it is our hope that participants become inspired to apply these teachings to their own freshwater research and programs.

Voice of the River – decolonising and indigenising our relationships with rivers. [Oral Presentation]

Dan C Hikuroa (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Auckland,;

Abstract: In the 2017 Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Act, Aotearoa New Zealand became the first nation-state to recognise a river as a legal person. This inspired and catalysed many in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond into community action and research projects including two in which the author was involved – Te Awaroa Voice of the River and Let the River Speak, the latter growing from the former. Both projects explored how best to engage across different knowledge traditions; to transcend modernist divisions between theory and practice, people and the environment, nature and culture: and to revitalise overlooked genealogies that link the arts, humanities, technology, and the natural and social sciences. Both projects were designed to foster globally innovative exchanges across different disciplines and ways of thinking, local communities (including iwi, local and central government agencies, farmers, foresters, riverside residents, businesses and those who paddle, row, fish and swim in the river), and a range of practical interventions aimed at restoring river communities to a state of ora – prosperity, health and wellbeing. Fundamentally the approach we took involved decolonising and indigenising our relationships with rivers.