The Grand River – Winner of the Thiess International Riverprize
A Grand Prize for a Grand Strategy
In September 2000, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) in Ontario was awarded the prestigious Thiess International Riverprize. Presented annually in Brisbane, Australia, the Riverprize recognizes outstanding achievement in river management and innovations in science, technology, planning, policy and stakeholder partnerships. All are embodied on the Grand River – the first Canadian watershed to be awarded the prize. The Grand Strategy for Managing the Grand as A Canadian Heritage River was a component of the GRCA’s submission for this prestigious award.
Recognizing The River’s Recovery
The prize recognized the river’s journey from years of degradation and industrialization to recovery. – a remarkable evolution and testimony to the Grand River Conservation Authority’s strategic vision and long-term plans for ensuring the future of a healthy river.
Community Engagement Is Key To Watershed Management
The GRCA relies on hundreds of partnerships to identify priorities for action and address issues. Fostered through monthly newsletters, special events along the river and the Grand Action Registry, these committed partnerships have strengthened a sense of community ownership in the stewardship of the river.
A Lasting Legacy
The GRCA invested the prize money ($100,000 AUD) to create the Thiess Riverprize Endowment Fund, which provides annual support for local watershed projects. A decade later, the legacy of this award continues, with Grand River residents receiving funding support to conserve their river.
The Grand River flows 300 km through southwestern Ontario from the highlands of Dufferin County to Port Maitland on Lake Erie and is populated by millions of people. The river and its tributaries were designated to the CHRS in 1994 in recognition of a wide array of outstanding cultural heritage and recreational values.