Holiday Greetings from Ottawa Riverkeeper

My family enjoying Baker Brook River, New Brunswick circa 1992. (That's my dad and grand-maman Mariette pushing my brother and I on the inner tube!).

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Our Executive Director, Patrick, explains why the Baker Brook River is close to his heart.

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Dear friends,

There’s a river that flows behind my Grandmother Mariette’s house in New Brunswick. Growing up, we’d spend hours swimming and floating down it in inner tubes. In fact, to this day, Mariette still swims in it every chance she gets.

But rivers aren’t just a part of our summer fun. They’re part of our holiday traditions, too. Every Christmas, we spend a few nights at a park on the shores of the St. Lawrence. We disconnect our phones, put on our showshoes, and enjoy each other’s company while we celebrate together.

Rivers are part of my blood. Beside them, on them or in them, I feel my spirit lifting and I feel at home.

And because you’re a loyal supporter of Ottawa Riverkeeper, I’m sure that you feel this way, too. Like me, you probably get your energy and inspiration from nature. And, because of that, we appreciate it, never take it for granted, and want to protect it.

After all, how can we stand by and not do anything about preserving the magnificent, awe-inspiring rivers of our watershed so that our children, grandchildren, and our fellow Canadians can enjoy it for generations to come?

The answer is simple. We can’t stand by. We must do something about it, in whatever way we can. And that is why I jumped at the chance to become Ottawa Riverkeeper’s new Executive Director and work alongside Meredith Brown, who is continuing in her longtime role as our tireless Riverkeeper. I can’t imagine a job I could be more passionate about.

We’ve had many things to celebrate about our rivers this year, but before I tell you about them, I want to ask for your support. I know that you are passionate about nature because you have generously supported us in the past. Please take this last opportunity to support us in 2016 so that we can start the year off strong in 2017!

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My brother (little rookie) and I (superman) enjoying a summer swim.

Ottawa Riverkeeper is made up of people—volunteers, staff, and donors—exactly like you and me. People who have a deep love for nature and who want to protect it, selflessly, for those who will come after us.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, we’ve had many successes this year. Just a few weeks ago, the ground was broken on a major new project that will reduce how often storms send raw sewage into the Ottawa River.The project is part of the Ottawa River Action Plan, which will reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the river in Ottawa by 80%. 

That means cleaner water, fewer beach closures and a healthier and more vibrant ecosystem. You, through your support of Ottawa Riverkeeper, were an important part of making that happen.

But 80% in Ottawa is not 100% – not to mention the other 200-plus municipalities producing wastewater in our watershed. There’s still work to do.

Recently, we celebrated the Ottawa River’s designation as one of Canada’s Heritage Rivers, which means that its cultural, historical and natural values have been officially recognized. In 2017, we will lead the charge to obtain a similar designation for the Québec portion of the river.

We’ll also continue the work we’re doing to ensure that TransCanada completes a credible feasibility study and detailed spill response plan for the proposed Energy East project, a 4500 km pipeline that will cross the Ottawa River. On your behalf, we remain deeply concerned about this project.

And this isn’t the only threat to our rivers.

Ottawa Riverkeeper is working with experts to respond to the proposed disposal of nuclear waste near the shore of the Ottawa River in Chalk River, Ontario. The public needs to understand the project and its potential risks to our river system.

I see protecting our bountiful rivers as a uniquely Canadian opportunity, and our responsibility as citizens.

Let’s make sure our children, and theirs to come, will jump with joy into our rivers, snowshoe beside them during the cold days of December, and look at their beauty in wonder and awe.

Sincerely,

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Patrick Nadeau
Executive Director

P.S. Please take this last chance to make a special donation to Ottawa Riverkeeper today so that we can end 2016 on the strongest possible footing, and keep working towards the health of our rivers.

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