Closing remarks

The co-chairs of the Working Group on the State of the St. Lawrence, who are responsible for the implementation of the State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program (SSLMP), wrapped up the event with a recap of the major issues raised during the two days of the Rendez-vous.

Regarding participation in and access to the event, the participants expressed interest in holding this type of meeting in order to get access to the most up-to-date data generated by the SSLMP. They also indicated that the audience for this activity should be broadened through other means of communication.

Rendez-vous participants also identified several general issues related to the SSLMP. For example, the comments received during the two days of activities highlighted the fact that a real challenge for the program is the integration and use of the environmental indicators, as a way of simplifying complex phenomena in scientific communication. The challenge lies in using these synthetic environmental indicators to access different levels of information, without compromising scientific rigour. A related issue facing the SSLMP is the accessibility of scientific data and the dissemination products. Enhancing the attractiveness and interactivity of communication products, facilitating access to scientific data and increasing the program’s visibility poses considerable challenges for the SLAP’s partners.

The presentations and discussions demonstrated that citizen science supplements the work carried out in the SSLMP. Communities’ ongoing commitment to implementing monitoring activities, their knowledge of the territory and their ability to work together add value. These communities also relay information to client groups that are not priority target clienteles of the SSLMP.

The final session of the Rendez-vous St. Lawrence, which focused on overarching issues, highlighted science in support of action. As illustrated by the restoration of Lake Saint-Pierre, knowledge of existing pressures and their impacts is considered a sufficient basis for action, even if we can still improve our knowledge. In the marine sector of the St. Lawrence, the choice of indicators for monitoring changes in the state of the ecosystem in a context of climate change must enable us to guide decision making about fisheries management. That example illustrated the need for regular interactions between research and environmental monitoring.

To complement the work of the State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program, the participants expressed an interest in and a need for follow-up on the pressures applied and actions taken by the various stakeholders to improve the state of the St. Lawrence.

The participants are encouraged to follow the results of the State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program’s work directly on the SLAP website and to mark their calendars for the next Rendez-vous St. Lawrence, planned for 2020.