The Swim Drink Fish community punches above its weight. What it lacks in size, is made up for in heart. Your heart. Our heart. All our hearts.
With your help and support, we conquered some of the biggest challenges to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water in 2018.
We needed to make swimmable water a national priority. We did that. By working hard, staff and volunteers took thousands of water samples. Sharing these results we prevented many waterborne illnesses and connected people to clean water. The Swim Guide platform, with the help of the RBC Foundation, reached over 3 million users, trained hundreds of citizen scientists and launched thousands of Canadians into the water for the first time.
We needed to create new connections to Lake Ontario. We did that. With the incredible support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, we helped usher in Kingston’s new Gord Edgar Downie Pier. The park connects Kingston to Lake Ontario in creative ways with sand, rocks, ladders, diving platforms and resting areas. It restores swimming to the urban core of a Great Lakes city like never before. It stands out as a high watermark for others to emulate.
We needed to restore fish habitat. We did that. Again, with the support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, we helped protect the endangered Redside Dace in Toronto’s watershed. We restored a river for Brook Trout in Port Credit’s watershed. We uncovered new projects ready for shovels in 2019.
We needed to improve our laws regarding sewage releases and public notification. We did that. With your support, we made a community’s right to know a provincial priority. We worked on new regulations and laws intended to inform the public when it is safe to go into the water. We made it safer to go swimming or paddling on your lake or river in Ontario.
Finally, we needed to showcase Lake Ontario Waterkeeper as a model for protecting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water in Canada and beyond. We did that too. Without losing our connection to Lake Ontario, we emerged as Swim Drink Fish; a national organization with initiatives across Canada and a name that underscores our continued promise to the public and our supporters. By restoring swimmable water we also moved the needle on drinkable and fishable water. Connecting people to their water is the best way to engage communities and work together to achieve our swimmable, drinkable and fishable goals.
At Swim Drink Fish, your support goes into our work. For 2019, we promise to engage more citizens in science and water literacy, restore swimmable water, and connect those communities and their people to the water.
Please support our efforts this year by donating online here. And let us know if you want to support engagement, restoration or both by sending us a note. By choosing engagement you support water sampling, volunteers or water literacy. By choosing restoration you support fish restoration, urban swimming piers or habitat restoration.
Thank you for all your support and commitment to a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. This is your Swim Drink Fish movement and it is your hearts that make it work.
President & Waterkeeper
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper