Rally for the rivers

The global celebration of rivers known as World Rivers Day was started in BC by one of the world’s leaders on river conservation Marc Angelo. Perhaps it is not surprising that the world wide celebration of rivers started in a place with so many magnificent rivers. Global studies have identified Canada having some of the world’s last large free flowing, undammed rivers. WWF-Canada is currently carrying out a Canadian wide analysis of free flowing rivers and preliminary results have identified the rivers in the Great Bear region as home to the most southerly cluster of free flowing rivers to be found in all of Canada. These efforts have been documented in a new report called Wild Rivers of the Great Bear and can be found at the WWF website.

For those that seek to swim and fish in the pristine waters of their youth the rivers of the Great Bear like the Skeena and Stikine are magical places reminiscent of places most of us can only remember from a bye gone era. The bad news is Great Bear region contains 4 of the top ten most Endangered Rivers in BC as identified by the BC Outdoor Recreation Council. While a number of projects pose a threat to these remarkable rivers the number one threat by far are the recent changes made to the Canadian Fisheries Act which has undone decades of efforts on the part of citizens and dedicated government staff to keep these rivers swimable, drinkable, fishable and ultimately livable rivers that they are.
This change in policy makes this World Rivers day much more than just a celebration. It makes this remarkable day the beginning of efforts to correct what may very well be one of the worst policy mistakes this country has seen in a very long while. As part of that effort stewardship groups from every single Canadian province met this week in Ottawa at the first Living Waters Rally. These groups have begun distributing postcards that highlight the message “No Habitat No Fish, Save the Fisheries Act!” To obtain copies of these cards or inquire for more information please contact James Casey or Mike Ambach of WWF-Canada.