2015 CASIOPA AGM on Managing for Ecological Connectivity – Summary

The 2015 CASIOPA Annual General Meeting was held on
Wednesday April 8 and Thursday April 9
The University of Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment at Huntsville ON

Our theme was Managing for Ecological Connectivity
(download the final program in pdf: 2015-CASIOPA-AGM-97)

We were pleased to have our special guests leading us on day 1:
Jeff Bowman – OMNRF and Trent University; Namrata Shrethsta – Toronto Region Conservation Authority and U of Toronto

On the Tuesday night, we headed out to Mill on Main; 25 CASIOPA attendees joined us for some pre-conference discussions (yes, at each person’s own expense – your tax dollars don’t pay for our food and drink):

Bill Crins of the CASIOPA Board & OMNRF with U Waterloo students

U Waterloo's Sondra Eger is at the forefront of the pre-meeting discussions

Day 1 was started by some terrific presentations from Jeff and Namrata on how to think about, measure, and plan for ecological connectivity.

Namrata explains it all; Jeff listens

Jeff explains it all; we listen

After lunch, we all participated in a practical exercise on connectivity run by Jeff and students Chad Cordes, Robbie Marrott, and Melissa Prentice.  They were terrific!  We were asked to work on optimization problems and Jeff and team had us compare results. Your humble CASIOPA chair here optimized the ecology on his run # 1 but spent too much money and OMNRF went broke (well, not really but this was part of the challenge – most bang for the buck). The workshop showed us how to use  “circuitscape” (http://www.circuitscape.org/) to solve problems in park planning and operations where ecological connectivity is a goal – as it should be since it is key to ecological integrity.

Chad tells us what's what

No, don't hit erase *.*...

CVCA's Yvonne Roy and UT's Helene Wagner get it right the first time

Two computers, no waiting


Afterwards, Jeff compared our work. For a group that included both experts and amateurs, we all did rather well – and learned a lot!

Jeff reviews our work; even those of us older folks felt like we were learning from the master

Wed evening it was back to the Mill on Main (Moose Delaney’s was packed though I gather someone there goofed – we were turned back when in fact we were the large group they were expecting; darn).  But the Mill is a great place and we paid-as-we-went. We had a great end of day discussion and celebration

UW WLU YorkU converge!

Bill, Jody & Yvonne put up with Murphy at his table

Jeff holding court - still going strong even after all that work!


Day 2 saw us reconvene and get treated to an excellent series of shorter discussions from a diversity of people. For most presenters, I have a link to a pdf of their presentation (I still have to ask a few to send me copies; they had used their own computers on site). Our presenters were:

0840-0900 Rutledge, Linda. Trent University. The importance of protected areas for eastern wolf conservation.  rutledge.


0900-0920. Kershaw, Will. OMNRF. The roles of Killarney Provincial Park in serving natural, social, and physical scientific research, policy, and/or practice. kershaw


0920-1000. Voros, Steve; Strobl, Silvia. OMNRF. Baseline connectivity mapping for the settled landscapes of southern Ontario. voros

Steve Voros

1020-1040 Drescher, Michael; Warriner, Keith; Bogdon, Zach. University of Waterloo (MD, KW, ZB); Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory & Policy Analysis, Indiana University at Bloomington (MD). Conservation Tax Incentive Programs: Enhancing Environmental Stewardship Behavior in the Unprotected Landscape Matrix.


1040-1100. DiLeo, Michelle; Rico, Yessica; Wagner, Helene. University of Toronto (MD + HW); ROM (YR). Ecological network maintains genetic diversity and fitness of a flagship wildflower. DiLeo


1100-1120. Andruszkiewicz, Jody; Murphy, Stephen. University of Waterloo.  Gaps in parks planning – early ideas on the search for representativeness. Andruszkiewicz


1120-1200. Morris, Ed. Ontario Parks. Landscape diversity models For Natural Heritage Assessments. morris


1300-1320. Fedy, Brad. University of Waterloo. Assessing wildlife habitat connectivity and corridor identification across large spatial extents.

Brad ('don't ever write a monograph' he says)

1320-1340. Row, Jeff. University of Waterloo. Establishing management units and identifying landscape boundaries: the utility of Bayesian clustering of individual genotypes for applied wildlife research. row

Jeff Row

1340-1400. Roy, Yvette. Credit Valley CA. Valley crossing surveys methodology for connectivity across the Credit River Watershed Natural Heritage System. roy

Yvette (before the bulb blew; we fixed it; she's awesome and just kept on going)

1400-1420. Steinberg, Brad. OMNRF. Rules for the road: Normalizing connectivity planning in Ontario Parks. steinberg

Brad (at centre in plaid - from day 1; I managed to sneeze while taking his pix during his talk and needless to say, that pix sucked)

1420-1440. Cray, Heather; McTavish, Michael; Murphy, Stephen. University of Waterloo.  Considering Connectivity in Ecological Restoration. cray & mctavish

Heather and Michael sum it all up; amazing job - they managed to capture the entire meeting in 20 minutes. Yes, I am proud of them.

See you at the Healthy Parks, Healthy People meeting in May and at the 2016 AGM!

OMRF's Sandy Dobbyn and Ontario Parks NW Zone's Steve Kingston

Bonus pix: On the road to CASIOPA AGM 2015, I stopped here on a lovely spring day; check it out:

This entry was posted in Announcements, Annual General Meetings, Conservation, Ecosystems Research, Landscape, Management, Planning, Research & Analysis

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