WWF-recommended ‘wild’ and ‘heritage’ rivers receive additional safeguards

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TORONTO, October 4, 2019 — Starting today, 25 wild and free-flowing rivers and Canadian Heritage Rivers will receive additional oversight under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA), as they have officially been added to the List of Scheduled Waters by Transport Canada. This action prioritizes rivers of significant ecological and cultural value and is a step forward towards safeguarding these national treasures.

The amended Canadian Navigable Waters Act, which came into effect in August, proposed an opportunity to safeguard more of Canada’s major rivers. Based on WWF-Canada’s recommendation, Transport Canada introduced a proposal to expand the existing list of waterways that receive additional oversight. The proposed additions include 25 wild rivers and Canadian Heritage Rivers, including six of the ten rivers WWF-Canada prioritized in our wild and free-flowing rivers report.

WWF-Canada engaged their supporters to share feedback to Transport Canada in support of making this addition official. Almost 3,400 WWF supporters sent emails to ensure these rivers get the due diligence they deserve.

About the Canadian Navigable Waters Act
This Act is intended to ensure that the navigation rights of all Canadians are protected. By protecting these rights, we are also helping to ensure that species can move freely throughout their habitat. Waters included on the Schedule receive additional due diligence, specifically from any works in those waterways that may interfere with navigation.

Elizabeth Hendriks, WWF-Canada’s vice-president of freshwater conservation says:
“Each of these rivers supports a rich diversity of wildlife, including species designated under the Species at Risk Act and climate resiliency. These rivers are significant to the cultures of communities, providing spiritual connection to place, and supporting local economies. This announcement is a step forward towards safeguarding them. We look forward to the continued work that Transport Canada has planned to safeguard all our waters.”

WWF-Canada works to safeguard Canada’s longest wild and free-flowing rivers. These waterways sustain vibrant communities of wildlife by providing species migration routes, cleaning pollution out of habitats, and helping ecosystems adapt to a rapidly changing climate. When we protect navigation rights—for instance the ability to paddle a canoe down the river— we incidentally offer some protections for a larger ecosystem.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

For more information contact:
Alexandra del Castello, Associate specialist, communications
[email protected], 416 407 9232