Partnership for Freshwater Resilience

The WWF-Canada – Brock Partnership for Freshwater Resilience is designed to advance our understanding of how to build resilience in Canada in the face of increasing threats to freshwater and increasing impacts from climate change on these resources. The Partnership brings together Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre with the Freshwater Division of WWF-Canada to leverage their complimentary expertise in governance and policy, research and practice.

WWF Project Team

About the Partnership

The WWF-Canada – Brock Partnership for Freshwater Resilience aims to advance our understanding and promote the application of freshwater resilience and stewardship. In this context, it specifically looks to:

  1. Co-create knowledge at the interface of research and practice and
  2. Generate innovative and evidence-based approaches for management and governance.

Mobilizing knowledge and experience is paramount to maximize the impact of on-the-ground efforts, and to ultimately enhance water futures.

The St. John River and its basin in New Brunswick provides an initial geographic focus of the partnership. The River is 700 km in length, with headwaters in Maine, USA and Quebec. The portion of the river that flows through New Brunswick was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2013 for its outstanding cultural values. Throughout the basin, however, there are threats to freshwater health and increasing frequency, severity and concern about flooding in the face of climate change. The varied concerns in the St. John River Basin coupled with the focus of WWF-Canada’s freshwater work there make it an ideal place to begin our partnership work.

Over time, the initiative will expand to engage with WWF-Canada’s broader freshwater profile. Ultimately, the knowledge generated and lessons learned will be transferable to efforts across Canada, providing a basis for evidence-based decisions, catalysing opportunities for innovation, and influencing the uptake of best practices.

Research Projects

Social Network Analysis in the Wolastoq/St. John River Basin

Meet the Team

Julia Baird Waters Next

CRC (Tier II) in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience
Associate Professor, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre


Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan (Environment and Sustainability)
M.Sc. University of Saskatchewan (Soil Science)
B.Sc. (Distinction) University of Alberta (Crop Science)

About Julia:

My research interests centre around the decision-making processes and actions we take focused on water resources. I aim to:

• building an understanding of how (and why) people engage in water management and governance, and how the qualities of these processes relate to social and ecological outcomes;
• how the concept of resilience relates to water governance, and how it is operationalized and applied in practice; and,
• applying the notion of social-ecological systems to agriculture, how these kinds of systems can be modeled, and how those models can be used to improve decision making about practices that influence water resources on agricultural landscapes.

Julia’s research is situated within the field of sustainability science. She collaborates with researchers from diverse disciplines and outside of academia to pursue solutions to research questions. Her research is influenced by her many years on the family farm, her educational background in the natural sciences, and her keen interest in how people make decisions and take action to impact the sustainability of our water resources.

Ryan Plummer


Professor & Director of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

PhD, University of Guelph (Rural Studies)
MA, University of New Brunswick (Sport & Recreation Admin)
BOR (Hons), Lakehead University (Outdoor Recreation)
BA, Lakehead University (History)

Ryan’s multi-faceted program of research broadly concerns the governance of social-ecological systems. In striving to advance knowledge of collaboration and adaptation within complex systems, he has focused on the exploring their theoretical underpinnings and ethical implications, modeling their processes, examining the roles of social capital, and investigating the influences of social learning. Water resources are the context in which his research mainly occurs and he is a Faculty Investigator in the Water Policy and Governance Group.

Elizabeth Hendricks

Elizabeth has fifteen years of  experience working nationally and internationally on water policy. In her capacity as Vice President of WWF-Canada’s freshwater program, she led the 2017 release of Watershed Reports – the first national assessment of the health and stressors of Canada’s freshwater.

Building on the results of Watershed Reports, she is leading the Freshwater team in efforts to reverse the decline of freshwater ecosystems across the country with the intersection of technology, policy, and community building. Recently, this cutting-edge approach has included touching down in the Saint John River where the team is focused on building resilient communities in the face of climate change.

Elizabeth received her BA in International Development from Dalhousie University and her Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo.

Simon Mitchell

Since 1997, Simon has turned his love of the outdoors into a successful career in forest and water conservation.  After graduating from the University of New Brunswick with a BSc. Forestry Simon has worked across the Canada, the NE US, Mexico and Germany, spending most of the last 20 years along the Wolastoq (Saint John River) in New Brunswick.  Simon joined WWF-Canada in 2012 and as Lead Specialist, Freshwater he provides strategic guidance on their national freshwater and climate work.  Rare species, environmental flows, river health, and on-the-ground restoration projects are some of the key activities he’s involved with along the Saint John River.  Community engagement, capacity building and a team approach to addressing complex environment-based issues are an integral part of Simon’s work.

When he’s not working, Simon can be found outside paddling, camping (year round), and in the vegetable garden.

Katrina Krevins

Master of Sustainability, Brock University

Thesis: Pushing the Boundaries of Freshwater Ecosystem Restoration: Evaluating a Conservation Initiative in terms of social-ecological resilience (under the supervision of Dr. Ryan Plummer)

Katrina has a BA (honours) in Tourism and Environment (Brock University), Ecosystem Restoration Graduate Certificate (Niagara College), and completed her Master of Sustainability at Brock in 2016. Her interests are in stream restoration, and her acceptance into the Watershed and Aquatics Training in Environmental Research (WATER) Program during her masters supported her pursuit of her thesis research experience. After successfully defending her thesis in the master of sustainability program, Katrina is now working as a conservation program assistant with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council.

Hannah Lubker

Doctoral Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Julia Baird

Hannah has a BSc. in Environmental Sciences from Leuphana Universität Lüneburg and an MSc. in Social-ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Her research is focused on human dimensions of water resilience, knowledge co-production, art-science collaborations and empathy.

Past Team Members

Doren Otung

Master of Sustainability (June 2021)

Current Master of Sustainability Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Julia Baird.

Jillian holds a BSc in environmental geoscience from Brock University. Her research interests are how to mitigate the effects of urbanization on a watershed. In her MRP research, she will perform a literature review to investigate the implementation of low-impact development practises at a watershed scale.

Current Master of Sustainability candidate under the supervision of Dr. Julia Baird.

Lyndsay holds a BSc. in Geography from Brock University. Her research is focused on the management practices related to invasive Phragmites and looking into if these practices are being incorporated into strategies in Ontario.

Bridget McGlynn

Current Master of Sustainability Candidate under the supervision of Ryan Plummer

Bridget graduated from McMaster University in 2018 with a Bachelor in Integrated Science. Her research interests include water policy and resource management.

Natalie Seniuk

Current Master of Sustainability candidate under the supervision of Dr. Julia Baird.

Natalie holds a BA in General Studies from the University of Guelph; a BA in Planning from Dalhousie University; and a Diploma in Landscape Architecture from Niagara College. Her research is focused on sustainable practices in general populations and barriers to adoption; policy and governance; educational levers and opportunities.