OTTAWA Today, Ottawa Riverkeeper released the first-ever State of the River Report for the Ottawa River. This unique and important report, available in French and English, highlights the importance of this incredible river ecosystem and identifies major environmental impacts that are currently jeopardizing its health.
While millions of people swim and fish in the Ottawa River this summer, sewage, industrial waste, and urban storm water pollutants will continue to pour into the river on a daily basis. Permits to release waste into the river are issued by numerous agencies without anyone doing the math to add up the cumulative effectwarns Meredith Brown, Riverkeeper. We cannot be complacent or make assumptions that governments are protecting our river. We need to act collaboratively and develop a network where players communicate with each other regardless of their jurisdictional boundaries.
The Ottawa River divides the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and currently there is no inter-provincial agency or working group that makes science-based decisions regarding the ecological health of the Ottawa River on a watershed-wide basis.
River Report findings indicate that the Ottawa River system is being degraded by municipal sewage, pulp and paper effluent, Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories, floodplain and shoreline development, urban stormwater and much more. Fish contain unsafe levels of mercury and dioxins, pesticides and pharmaceuticals have been found in drinking water, and urban beaches are closed on days when pollution levels are considered unsafe for swimming.
Ottawa Riverkeeper President John Bouza notes that the River Report is an important new tool to help both this organization and individual Ottawa River citizens in Ontario and Quebec press for and achieve water quality improvements and an enhancement of ecological integrity throughout the watershed.
Details of the State of the River Report will be presented and discussed at Ottawa Riverkeeper's Annual General Meeting to be held on June 13, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakeside Gardens in Britannia Park. The meeting is open to the public.
Citizen-based Ottawa Riverkeeper is a charitable organization that works to protect and enhance the ecological health of the Ottawa River system. They are part of a global alliance of Waterkeepers led by internationally renowned conservationist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
â€“ 30 â€“ Information: Meredith Brown Ottawa Riverkeeper (613) 864-7442 www.ottawariverkeeper.ca