The Emerging River Professional Award (ERPA), sponsored by OceanaGold Corporation, recognises, rewards and fosters those in the early stages of their careers in rivers. The award is presented to those who have demonstrated innovation, excellence and leadership in river, basin or river-dependent community management.
The ERPA is open internationally to all river professionals of all disciplines who have been working in their field for ten years or less, and have demonstrated exceptional and measurable achievements in rivers, basins or river-dependent communities.
Finalists will present the outcomes of their work at the International Riversymposium and the winner will be announced at the Riverprize Gala Dinner.
The ERPA winner receives AU$500 in prize money.
Applications for the ERPA will open again in 2018.
Lauren Zielinski specialises in the monitoring and evaluation of river systems, focusing on river restoration and environmental flow projects. She was awarded the ERPA for her work on creating a monitoring and adaptive management framework for environmental flows in the Mara River Basin.
Tero is a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Eastern Finland and a professional fisher. Tero won the ERPA in 2016 for his successful efforts to incorporate traditional knowledge and science into monitoring and restoring watersheds in North Karelia, Finland.
In 2015, the ERPA was awarded to Tom Scarborough, Estuary Planning Coordinator for the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority in Victoria, Australia. Tom won the award for successfully improving community awareness and understanding about the causes of acid discharges and fish deaths in the Anglesea River and estuary in south-west Victoria.
Dr Oghenekaro ‘Nelson’ Odume won the 2014 ERPA for his comprehensive research on freshwater systems, and for turning this research into new tools and approaches to help people better manage these important natural resources. Born and educated in Nigeria, Nelson’s study took him to South Africa where his PhD research explored the effects of industrial-sewage effluent on river health. The results of the study provided a new early warning system to improve effluent management for river health, ecological structure and function.