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6th Conference on Natural Channel Systems

Natural Channels - Sustaining Connectivity: Exploring the Importance of Connectivity in Systems, Knowledge, Practice and Policy

At the 6th Natural Channel Conference we will explore Sustaining Connectivity – linking knowledge through generations, practice among disciplines, policy amidst practitioners, and science across the landscape. In 2018 we will take a multidisciplinary look at natural channel systems with a widened view of cause and effect, employing the knowledge of past work with present research to connect the landscape to the channel. Through this we are providing the opportunity for sharing and evolving our understanding of the importance, complexity, and interconnectedness of watercourses, and their relationship with hydrological, geomorphological, chemical and ecological processes.

The 2018 conference will provide an avenue to discuss new science, practices and academic research. The Sustaining Connectivity theme will be explored through the following sessions:

  • Collaborative Design
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Environmental Flows
  • Innovation
  • Monitoring and Lessons Learned
  • Policy and Regulation
  • Resilience
  • Urban Hydro-modification

Call for Graduate Student Poster Abstracts

Call for Abstracts IconWe are soliciting abstracts from graduate students who are part way through their research to showcase their work to interested professionals working within a diverse number of environmental fields.

Graduate student poster applications can include but are not limited to the following conference streams: Collaborative Design, Communications, Economics, Environmental Flows, Innovation, Monitoring and Lessons Learned, Policy and Regulations, Resilience, and Urban Hydro-modification.

Poster Abstract Guidelines and Format:

Below is a list of information that will be required to complete as part of the abstract submissions:

  • Abstract Title
  • Author(s): First name, Last name, Organization name, City, Province
  • Presenter(s): First name, last name, email address, phone number
  • Description of your presentation (max. 300 words). The abstract should include the goal of the project or research question, study approach, the methodology, and results or anticipated results of the study. May include minimal graphics / charts.
  • Short biography (approx. 100 words) of poster presenter(s)
  • Posters should not exceed a 36” X 48” (3 feet by 4 feet) poster
  • Submissions should be sent to

Important Dates:

Call for Abstracts Opens Thursday, February 1, 2018
Abstract Submission Deadline Monday, March 5, 2018
Abstract Acceptance Notification Date Friday, March 9, 2018

For questions or more information please contact: Matthew Vetta at or 905-670-1615 ext 283

- Call for Graduate Student Poster Abstracts Flyer [PDF PDF]

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker Ellen Wohl

Ellen WohlEllen Wohl received a BS in geology from Arizona State University and a PhD in geosciences from the University of Arizona before joining the faculty at Colorado State University in 1989. Her research focuses on physical process and form in river corridors, including interactions with biotic and human communities. Her research is predominantly field-oriented and she has conducted field research on every continent but Antarctica.

She has written more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters, as well as 16 books, and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America and a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor. Much of her current research examines how physical complexity associated with the presence of instream wood and beaver dams influences the form and function of river ecosystems.


Keynote Speaker Richard W. Hill

Member of the Beaver Clan of Tuscarora Nation. Currently Coordinator for the Joint Stewardship Board serving the City of Hamilton and Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Previously served as Senior Project Coordinator, Deyohahage Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic; Assistant Director for Public Programs, National Museum of the American Indians, Smithsonian Institution; and former Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Andrew Brookes

Dr. Andrew BrookesDr. Andrew Brookes has over 34 years of profession experience, is recognized internationally for contributing to river restoration, and is a nationally recognized as an expert in geomorphology. Dr. Brookes is also an expert in hydromorphology assessment working on a wide variety of projects from low flow projects to catastrophic floods, with a demonstrated expertise in linkages between geomorphology, hydrology and ecology having produced reports for the European Union.

Dr. Brookes vast career has included working as a Research Fellow at the Royal Society and University of Wales for three years, an expert in Public Inquiries and Court Cases, and a founding member of the River Restoration Project (now the River Restoration Centre). He is the winner of the (UK) Royal Geographical Society for outstanding national and international contributions to river management.

Dr. Brookes is the author of a book on river channelization in 1988 by John Wiley & Sons, an Author and editor of a book on River Channel Restoration, and the author and contributor to approximately 40 peer-reviewed publications as well as many hundreds of technical reports.

Program at a Glance

Wednesday, May 23

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Training, Workshops, and Tours

  • Channel Design Principles
  • Training and Tour: Sediment Transport, Fish Passage and Open Channel Hydraulics
  • Class 2 Backpack Electrofishing Certification Course

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Young Professionals Networking Event (Held at The Bullring)

8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Ice Breaker Reception (Held at The Bullring)

Registration will be open

Thursday, May 24

7:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Registration (Rozanski Hall)

8:45 AM - 9:45 AM

Welcome, Introductions and Opening Remarks (Room 101 Rozanski Hall)

Keynote Speaker Dr. Ellen Wohl
Fluvial Geomorphologist
Colorado State University, Department of Geosciences

9:45 AM - 10:15 AM

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors (Rozanski Concourse)

10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

T1A / T1B / T1C / T1D

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Luncheon (Peter Clark Hall)

Luncheon Keynote Speaker Rick Hill

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Poster and Living Lab (Room 105 Rozanski Hall)

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

T2A / T2B / T2C / T2D

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors (Rozanski Concourse)

3:15 PM - 4:55 PM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

T3A / T3B / T3C / T3D

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Wine and Cheese Networking Reception (Rozanski Concourse)

Friday, May 25

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Keynote Address (Room 101 Rozanski Hall) and Awards Presentation

Keynote Speaker Dr. Andrew Brookes
Head of Discipline for Geomorphology, River Restoration and Hydromorphology at Jacobs Engineering Group
Reading, United Kingdom

Natural Channel Initiative Awards Presentation

9:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

F1A / F1B / F1C / F1D

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors (Rozanski Concourse)

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

F2A / F2B / F2C / F2D

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

Luncheon (Rozanski Concourse)

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Poster and Living Lab (Room 105 Rozanski Hall) + Exhibitors (Rozanski Concourse)

1:45 PM - 3:25 PM

Concurrent Sessions (Rozanski Hall)

F3A / F3B / F3C / F3D

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Wrap-Up with Master of Ceremonies (Room 101 Rozanski Hall)

Sponsorships and Exhibiting

Network, Build Relationships, Share Information and Promote your Product or Service and Reinforce your Commitment to a Sustainable Future

Sponsorship and Exhibiting IconThis event couldn’t happen without the support of sponsors and exhibitors and we would love for you to become involved. This is your opportunity to showcase your products and services. The conference format includes:

  • Pre-conference ice-breaker evening reception at the University of Guelph’s Bullring
  • Two full days of concurrent sessions, panels and workshops
  • Three keynote speakers
  • Student poster session
  • Living lab
  • Exhibit hall
  • New this year, we also hope to provide a day of training sessions and tours on May 23rd

We will hear from practitioners, scientists, academics, and policy makers who can share their knowledge and innovation in order to deliver new ideas and approaches to problem solving.

The following provides information on sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities. Have a look – no matter what your budget is, there is always a way to promote your organization to the many delegates, speakers and exhibitors and display your organization’s commitment to a sustainable future. I hope you will consider the 6th Natural Channel Systems Conference for these opportunities.

If you have any questions, or are interested in learning more, please contact Karen Anderson Conference Coordinator 1‑888‑274‑1364 ext. 103 |

- Package Information & Sponsorship and Exhibitor Registration Form [PDF PDF]
- Exhibitors’ Guide [PDF PDF]

Floorplan and List of Exhibitors

Click here to view entire floorplan

Natural Channels Exhibitor Floorplan

  1. Ecosystem Recovery Inc.
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  5. R&M Construction
  6. GEO Morphix Ltd.
  7. Aquafor Beech Limited
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  18. Beacon Environmental
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Join our Mailing List

Mailing List IconSign up for our newsletter to be notified by email of the latest developments around the Natural Channel Systems Conference.

List of E-Newsletters

February 2, 2018 - Call for Student Poster Abstracts, Sponsorship Opportunities, and Additional Learning Opportunities

November 29, 2017 - Abstract Submission Deadline is Monday December 4th

November 15, 2017 - Call for Abstracts Deadline Extension & Apply to Be a Volunteer

November 9, 2017 - Call for Abstracts Deadline Reminder

October 4, 2017 - Call for Abstracts Now Open

September 15, 2017 - Announcing the Natural Channel Systems Conference 2018

March 13, 2017 - Presentations Now Available for Viewing

Dates and Location

Dates and Location IconThe 6th Conference on Natural Channel Systems takes place May 23rd to 25th, 2018 at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

Registration Rates

Registration IconRegistration is scheduled to open February 2018. Sign up for the mailing list to be notified once registration is open.

Training sessions, workshops, and tours will be scheduled to take place on May 23. Stay tuned for details, registration information and rates.

Registration Rates

Sign up for all 3 days an get an additional discount. Delegates registered for May 24th and 25th who are ALSO participating in one of May 23rd training day events can receive an additional discount of $25 for Regular delegates and $10 for NGO and Students.

Training, Workshops, and Tours
(May 23)
Channel Design Principles Training and Tour: Sediment Transport, Fish Passage and Open Channel Hydraulics Class 2 Backpack Electrofishing Certification Course
Regular $125 $125 $260
NGO* $100 $100 $260
Student* $80 $80 $260
Two Day Package
(May 24 and 25)
One Day Package
(May 24 or 25)
Early Rate
(until April 6)
Late Rate
(starting April 7)
Early Rate
(until April 6)
Late Rate
(starting April 7)
Regular $320 $420 $210 $260
NGO* $210 $210 $125 $125
Student* $160 $160 $110 $110

*Please see Additional Registration Information below to see if you qualify for these discounted rates.

Additional Registration Information

About the Registration Rates

All registrations received after Thursday, May 18, 2018 will be processed ON-SITE. Space is not guaranteed for onsite/walk-in registrations.

Qualifying NGO's (Non-Governmental Organization) or students carrying at least 50% of a full-time course load qualify for discounted registration rates. Students must include their student identification number on the registration form, where indicated, in order to receive a discounted rate.

Based on financial limitations, your NGO may qualify for a discounted rate. Please contact the Event Coordinator, Karen Anderson, for more information.

All rates quoted are in CDN funds and are subject to 13% HST.

Space Availability

Seating at all concurrent sessions is limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis as registrations are received. Session substitutions will only be allowed if space permits.

Attendee Substitutions

Attendee Substitutions are allowed by contacting the Registrar prior to the symposium.

What Your Registration Includes

Your 1 or 2-Day Package includes admittance to all Conference sessions, lunch and coffee breaks for the day on which you are registered.

Contact Information

General inquiries, contact:
Karen Anderson, Conference Coordinator
Phone: 1-888-274-1364 ext. 103


Accommodations IconA discounted block of rooms will be reserved at the University of Guelph residence buildings as well as the Delta Hotels by Marriott Guelph Conference Centre.

More details coming soon.

6th Conference on Natural Channels Systems Planning Committee


  • Cassie Schrembri, Credit Valley Conservation
  • Sally-Beth Betts, Credit Valley Conservation

Past Co-Chairs

  • Jeff Hirvonen, GeoProcess Research Associates
  • Mariette Pushkar, Ecosystem Recovery

Conference Committee Members

  • Alexandra Veglio, Credit Valley Conservation
  • Andrea Bradford, University of Guelph
  • Bill Trenouth, Credit Valley Conservation
  • Ed Gazendam, Water’s Edge
  • Jack Imhof, Trout Unlimited Canada (retired)
  • Jacqui Empson Laporte, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
  • Rick Portiss, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Event Coordinators

  • Karen Anderson and Mario Maillet, Allset Inc.

Conference Advisory Committee Members

  • Brad Fairley, Stantec
  • Jaclyn Cockburn, University of Guelph
  • Jeremy Blair, City of Mississauga
  • Shannon Baker, Waterfront Toronto

Contact Us

Contact Us IconKaren Anderson
Conference Coordinator, 6th Conference on Natural Channel Systems
1-888-274-1364 ext. 103

2016 Presentations Available for Download

2016 Presentations Day 1


A Primer of Key Disciplines in NCS Applications
Jack Imhof, Trout Unlimited Canada


Partnering with Nature’s River Restorers
Colin Thorne


Streamline Your Design with Civil3D (Part A & B)
Randy Brook and Hamish Trenam, Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Meander Belt Width Procedures: Developing a Regional Model for Southern Ontario
Imran Khan, Beacon Environmental Limited

Regional Reference Curves for Small and Medium Watercourses in Southern Ontario
Trevor Chandler, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Limitations and Misuse of the Rapid Geomorphic Assessment for Preliminary Characterization of Channel Stability
Robin McKillop, Palmer Enviromental


Twenty Plus Years Since the Rural Ontario Data Base and Relationships was Produced. Looking Back to Look Forward
Bill Annable, University of Waterloo

Applied Fluvial Geomorphology: Where Have We Come from, Where Do We Go?
Dr. Roger TJ Phillips, Western University and Aquafor Beech Limited


Pilot Study - Environmental and Infastructure Vulnerabilities to Climate Change - Implications for Natural Channels
Karen Hofbauer, Matrix Solutions Inc.

Freedom Space for Rivers: An Economical Approach to Sustainable Management in a Changing Climate
Joanna Eyquem, AECOM

State of Climate Change Science and Practice in the Great Lakes Basin: A Focus on Climatology, Hydrological and Ecological Effects
Glenn Milner, Ontario Climate Consortium - Toronto and Region Conservation Authority


Pipeline Associated Watercourse Crossings Fisheries Self- Assessment Tool
Lucas Warner, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Once Upon a Gravel Pit: Reconnecting Floodplain through Aggregate Extraction
Crystal Allan, Grand River Conservation Authority

Treatments to Mitigate Aquatic Habitat Impacts Associated with Land and Resource Developments
Marc Gaboury, LGL Limited


The Science and Practice of Erosion Threshold Theory in Applied Geomorphology
Dr. Roger TJ Phillips, Western University and Aquafor Beech Limited


Proponent-Led Habitat Banking
Brent Valere, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Regulatory Approvals for Stream Restoration - Two Approaches to DFO Authorization
Jessica Kellerman, City of Waterloo


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Stream Rehabilitation Projects: Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Monitoring
Dean Young, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Temporal Changes in Terrestrial Biota Observed through Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Natural Channel Design Monitoring Program 2-14 Year Post Restoration
Lyndsay Cartwright, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority


The “Threshold” of Habitat: Spawning Salmon in a Restored Threshold Channel
Jeff Muirhead, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

2-D Hydraulic of Proposed Fish Ramp to Design for Fish Passage Potential
Bradley Burrows, Ecosystem Recovery Inc.


Changes in Fisheries Act, Policy and Review Process
Thomas Hoggarth, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fish Habitat Offsetting in Pristine Wilderness: Regulatory Challenges
Heather Amirault and David Luzi, Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Long-Term Erosion Monitoring on Niagara Escarpment Watercourses
Anna C.J. Howes, Aquafor Beech Ltd

2016 Presentations Day 2


Integrating Biological Design Criteria into Channel Rehabilitation Projects
Marc Gaboury


Using a Systematic Approach to Natural Channel Designs and Agricultural Stewardship
Sarah Fleischhauer, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority

The Scott Drain – Integrating Natural Channel Design, Controlled Drainage and Agricultural Practices
Geoff King, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority


River Bank Rehabilitation in Sandbed Channels
Ahmed Siddiqui, GEO Morphix Ltd.

Where Does All the Sediment Go? Modelling the Sixteen Mile Creek Sediment Plume
Jeffrey Doucette, GHD Limited


Review of Redside Dace Habitat Corridor Realignments: Morphology, Sedimentology and Habitat Suitabiltiy within Aged Natural Corridor Designs
Paul V. Villard, GEO Morphix Ltd.


Avonhead Creek Daylighting Project: Field Monitoring Techniques to Understand Watershed Hydrology
Jayeeta Barua and Karen Chisholme, Credit Valley Conservation Authority

Reconstruction of Amberlea Creek Valley Corridor to Protect Frenchman’s Bay Provincially Significant Wetland
Robert Amos, Aquafor Beech Ltd


Use of Drainage Act Assessments to Evaluate Costs of Rural Natural Channel Design
Tim Brook, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Educating the Appropriate Target Audience for Stewardship Initiatives
Jacqui Empson Laporte, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


The Quasi-Stability of Urban Stream Channels and the Importance in Bed Material Transport
Bill Annable, University of Waterloo

Bedload Transport in Urbanized Creeks with and without Stormwater Management
Elli Papangelakis, University of Waterloo


Erosion and Sediment Control for Stream Restoration in Canada
Harry Reinders, R & M Construction

Erosion and Sediment Control: Can We See the Forest for the Trees?
Brad Fairley, Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Using Green Infrastructure to Meet Environmental Flow Needs
Cassie Schembri, Credit Valley Conservation Authority and Wolfgang Wolter, Ecosystem Recovery Inc.

The Influence of Erosion Control Criteria on Stormwater Management Facility Design
Aaron Farrell, Amec Foster Wheeler and John Parish, Parish Aquatic Services

Designing Stormwater Management Facilities to Minimize Downstream Watercourse Impacts
Mike Gregory, Computational Hydraulics International


The Effects of Aquatic Vegetation Growth on Discharge Calculation in Natural Watercourses: A High-Resolution Study Featuring Novel Techniques
Lorenzo Brignoli, University of Waterloo

Using Two-Dimensional Hydraulic Modelling to Quantitatively Assess Fish Habitat Improvements
Nick Hodges and Joanna Eyquem, AECOM

Habitat Suitability Modelling
Amanda McKay, Matrix Solutions Inc.


The Role of Eco- Hydraulics in the Restoration of a Degraded Urban Stream
Ian D. Smith, Urban & Environmental Management Inc.

2016 Conference

To view the 2016 Natural Channel Systems conference website, please click here.