How are Rivers Nominated and Designated to the CHRS?
To be considered for inclusion in the Canadian Heritage River System (CHRS), a river must have:
- outstanding natural, cultural and/or recreational values, and
- a high level of public support.
Measures must also be put in place to protect the values for which the river is nominated.
The two-level process for a river to become part of the CHRS is described below.
The Nomination Process
Step 1: Inquiry
The nomination process usually starts at the local level with an inquiry to a Board member or the CHRS Secretariat regarding commemorating and protecting a river for its heritage values.
This first step is important, as your Board member will tell you whether your river is a viable candidate for the CHRS. A 2010 National Gap Analysis identified priority candidate rivers for completing the System by 2018 – an objective outlined in the 2008-2018 Strategic Plan.
Step 2: Research
The next step is to obtain the selection and integrity guidelines for rivers from the CHRS Secretariat and to consult the natural and cultural values framework documents, which define the natural and historic elements of river heritage for which rivers can be nominated to the System.
Step 3: Background Study
If it is determined that your river merits further consideration for CHRS status, the next step is the preparation of a background study detailing and assessing the river’s natural, cultural/historical, recreational and economic values, as well as community support for the nomination and the river’s suitability for management as a Canadian Heritage River. Financial support may be available for the production of this study.
Step 4: Producing Nomination Documents
A standard nomination document must be prepared and submitted to the CHRS Technical Planning Committee for review and comment. Once this review has been completed, nominations can be submitted to the Board at the next annual meeting.
Step 5: Review and Approval
The Board reviews the nomination documents at the annual meeting, and, if the river meets selection guidelines for the System, the Board makes a recommendation to the appropriate provincial/territorial Minister, who must officially approve the nomination, and to the Minister responsible for Parks Canada (the Minister of Environment Canada).
The Designation Process
Step 1: Producing a Heritage Strategy/Management Plan
A nominated river can be designated once a heritage strategy or management plan describing how the river will be managed to conserve its outstanding natural, cultural and/or recreational values is lodged with the Board. Production of the heritage strategy is based on public consultation and consensus.
Step 2: Review and Approval
Once the Board has completed its review of the heritage strategy, it notifies the appropriate provincial/territorial Minister and the Minister of Environment Canada of its recommendation to designate the river to the CHRS. The Minister of Environment Canada is responsible for the final decision to designate all Canadian Heritage Rivers.
For more information on the nomination and designation process, consult the CHRS publication Your River...Your Heritage...Your Future.