2024 GLISA Small Grant: River Futures: Climate Scenario Planning for Improved Climate Resilience and Preparedness in the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern

Project Team

  • River Institute (grantee)
  • Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program

Project Summary

Decades of collaboration at the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern (AOC) at Akwesasne/Cornwall/Massena have led to significant progress for remediation and restoration. However, climate change creates new and uncertain challenges to ongoing restoration and environmental protection. The River Institute will use GLISA’s Scenario Planning approach to support climate adaptation planning for the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. This area spans the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne, Ontario and New York. Together, scientists, decision-makers, practitioners and community groups will develop future scenarios and use them to inform environmental planning. This work will be guided by recent initiatives led by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program and the River Institute to expand and deepen collaborations through a Two Row Wampum framework. This framework calls for cooperation in support of common interests and mutual respect for autonomy. 

Anticipated Outcomes
  • A description of priority adaptation-related environmental concerns for the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries in and around the Area of Concern
  • Climate scenarios tailored to priority concerns
  • Workshop materials, including fact sheets and descriptive climate scenario narratives
  • A Scenario Planning Workshop Report documenting workshop outcomes and lessons learned
  • A summary of post-workshop surveys identifying areas for improvement
Anticipated Impacts
  • Participants will gain a more holistic understanding of potential climate impacts and adaptation needs. 
  • Participants who may feel marginalized or excluded from other formal planning processes will have an opportunity to have their voices heard. 
  • Managers and decision-makers will be able to envision potential outcomes of their decisions under a range of future climate conditions.
  • The recently launched Kahnekarónnion (River) Strategy will have improved capacity to provide space for partners to self-organize and work collaboratively. 
  • Climate scenarios can help inform other local climate planning activities, for example the City of Cornwall’s new Community Climate Adaptation Plan.
  • This work has the potential to inform similar initiatives along the Upper St. Lawrence River and in other Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
GLISA Contribution

GLISA funded this 2024 small grant project and brings experience with GLISA’s scenario planning approach. GLISA will develop climate scenarios and train the River Institute team on the scenario planning approach. Additionally, GLISA will provide climate information and scenario planning exercises for the workshops and help with post-workshop surveys.

GLISA Contact

Kim Channell, GLISA Climatologist, kimchann@umich.edu