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CHRS Canadian River Stewardship Award

The Canadian River Stewardship Award is presented every three years to up to three passionate individuals and organizations who have made a significant contribution as stewards of a Canadian Heritage River or to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System program as a whole. The award helps us honour the invaluable contributions that these river guardians are making for these rivers and celebrate their role in our past, present and future.

Nomination Process

Do you know a river champion on your heritage river who accomplished something amazing between 2017-2020? We would like to recognize them! The call for nominations is now open, with up to three recipients to be selected by the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board.

The deadline for nominations is August 15, 2020.

Note: Nomination forms in pdf format are available by request

Nominee and Nominator Information
Contribution to River Stewardship
Nominations will be evaluated in part based on how well they align with the four priorities identified in the Strategic Plan for the CHRS:
  1. Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples on Canadian Heritage Rivers
  2. Strengthening the Canadian Heritage Rivers network
  3. Excellence in river management and conservation
  4. Engaging Canadians in celebrating and stewarding heritage rivers


The Canadian River Stewardship Award (formerly National River Conservation Awards of Merit) has been presented by the Canadian Heritage Rivers System since the end of the program’s first decade, when it shifted towards being more community-driven. Nominations and designations of new rivers were increasingly being generated by local citizen groups and communities, and the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board wished to recognize the dedication and hard-work of these individuals and groups. 

Since then, 24 individuals and organizations have been recognized. 

Past Recipients of the Canadian River Stewardship Award

(formerly National River Conservation Awards of Merit)

  • Mr. Gerald Thom, (Posthumously) Cowichan Lake and Stewardship Society, (Cowichan River, British Columbia)
  • Jill Taylor Hollings, (Partnership Team with the Pikangikum, Little Grand Rapids and Lac Seul First Nations), (Bloodvein River, Ontario/Manitoba)
  • Ms. Shaylene Stone, Antler River Guardians of the Four Directions, (First Nations Youth Stewardship), (Thames River, Ontario) 

  • Dr. Cynthia Stacey, St. John River Society, (St. John River, New Brunswick)
  • Mr. Gary Wilkins, Humber Watershed Alliance (Humber River, Ontario)
  • Nathalie Brunet, Cross Canada Canoe Odyssey

  • Lawrence Morris, Adrienne Blattel, Tom Horn, Quebec Labrador Foundation 
  • Don MacNeil, Hillsborough River Association, (Hillsborough River)
  • Larry George, (Cowichan Tribes), Kate Miller (Cowichan Valley Regional District) and Tom Rutherford (British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Living Rivers Trust), (Stotlz Bluff restoration, Cowichan River)

  • Mr. Lem Mayo, Pasadena, Newfoundland, (Main River, Newfoundland)
  • Mr. Len Hopkins, Petawawa, Ontario, (Posthumously) (Ottawa River, Ontario)
  • Mr Jim August, Rivers West, Winnipeg, (Red River, Manitoba)

  • Ms. Louise Towell and Ms. Joan Carne, (Stream of Dreams Project, British Columbia)
  • Mr. Harris Boyd, (Rivers Canada)
  • Dr. Gordon Nelson, (University of Waterloo) 

  • Dr. David Goranson, (Founder, Canadian Rivers Day) 
  • Mr. Cam McNeil, (Rideau Waterway, Ontario)
  • Mr. Mel Fitton, (New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources)

  • Dr. Douglas Bocking, (Thames River, Ontario)
  • Mr.Ted Dykstra, Alberta Environmental Protection (Clearwater River, Alberta)
  • Mr. David Marshall, Fraser Basin Council (Fraser River, British Columbia)

  • Ms. Lynn Noel, Quebec Labrador Foundation, (Editor: “Voyages: Canada’s Heritage Rivers”)
  • Mr. David Balsillie, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, (Grand River, Ontario)
  • Ms. Lee Sochasky, St. Croix International Waterway Commission, (St Croix River, New Brunswick)