News Roundup – August 26, 2016

It's been a busy summer for Ottawa Riverkeeper! To see what we've been up to this month, check out the news coverage we've received.

Click here to see our news coverage in French!

July 28: Ottawa River finally gets heritage river designation — but just the Ontario part – Ottawa Citizen

Parks Canada is ending a decade-long campaign to win recognition for Canada’s “original trans-Canada highway” with the announcement Thursday morning that the federal and Ontario governments have designated the Ontario portion of the Ottawa River as a Canadian Heritage River.

“It’s important because it recognizes the historical, cultural and recreational significance of the Ottawa River,” Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna, the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, told Postmedia.

July 28: Ottawa River declared heritage river – Canadian Geographic

The Ontario portion of the Ottawa River has officially been designated a Canadian Heritage River in recognition of its historical and cultural value — a move a local conservation group says will make it easier to protect the river’s environmental values.

Meredith Brown of Ottawa Riverkeeper welcomed the news, which was announced by the provincial and federal governments July 28.

July 28: Ontario side of the Ottawa River designated heritage – Metro Ottawa

Parks Canada has officially dubbed the Ottawa River a designated heritage river.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Meredith Brown, president of Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Brown said while the designation has no “legislative teeth,” the recognition is an important first step in protecting the river. Efforts to have the river recognized have been taking place for over a decade.

August 2: Riverkeeper, River Institute delighted Ottawa River given heritage status – Ottawa Community News

After more than a decade of waiting, the Ottawa River has been officially designated as a Canadian Heritage River to the delight of many area politicians, tourism officials, environmentalists and history buffs.

“We’re very happy. It was long overdue… it’s very encouraging,” said Ottawa River Institute president Ole Hendrickson. “It’s great timing with the Canada’s 150th celebration coming up.”

August 6: Swimmers take a refreshing 4K dip to help the Ottawa River – Ottawa Citizen

After the recent heat wave, scores of swimmers decided Saturday morning was a good time for a refreshing four-kilometre swim across the Ottawa River.

The air temperature was in the low 20s when the first participants dipped their toes in the river before 8 a.m. at Lac Deschênes Sailing Club, headed towards Aylmer’s Parc des Cèdres.

Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown said the water temperature for the swim was “very warm.”

August 7: After Ottawa River gets heritage designation in Ontario, focus turns to Quebec – CBC Ottawa

Politicians from both sides of the Ottawa River dove into its choppy waters Saturday morning and emerged talking up the benefits of its recently-bestowed partial heritage designation — while also suggesting Quebec would soon follow suit.

More than 130 swimmers took part in the annual four-kilometre race put on by Ottawa Riverkeeper, the first held since the river’s Ontario side was designated part of the Canadian Heritage River System (CHRS) late last month.

August 15: Gatineau to finally track sewer overflows into the Ottawa River – CBC Ottawa

The City of Gatineau is installing devices so it can finally measure the volume of its sewer overflows into the Ottawa River.

The move comes years after its Ontario neighbour, the City of Ottawa, launched its 17-project Ottawa River action plan worth hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the same waterway.

“We don’t have the data for now,” said Yves Faubert, the supervisor of Gatineau’s sewage treatment plant said on a recent tour of the east-end facility.

August 16: Swimming in sewage? Bacteria tests not the same on both sides of the river – Metro Ottawa

If you’re a frequent beach-goer in Ottawa, you may have noticed a pattern: the day after a heavy storm you can expect the red flag to go up, closing riverside beaches.

Beaches in Gatineau don’t always have the same warnings, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re that different. The cities of Gatineau and Ottawa deal with water quality in the Ottawa River very differently, something the Ottawa Riverkeepers would like to see change.

August 19: A river rising: How the capital is rekindling its lost love affair with the mighty Ottawa River – Ottawa Citizen

On a crisp, sunny day in early November 1864, delegates from the Confederation conferences in Charlottetown and Quebec City boarded the steamer England for a river tour of Ottawa, this new country’s proposed capital.

Ottawa was still little more than a rough lumber town, and many delegates weren’t convinced it should be the capital. But the view from the Ottawa River surprised and impressed them, Queen’s University professor David Gordon recounts in Town and Crown, his 2015 illustrated history of the capital.

August 21: A cleaner river struggles still with threats to its health – Ottawa Citizen

In the 19th century, it was choked with sawdust within sight of Parliament Hill. Half a century ago, sewage discharges routinely fouled its waters.

Today, the Ottawa River is much improved. “It’s definitely healthier than in the 1960s and ’70s, which was the height of pollution,” says Meredith Brown who, as Ottawa Riverkeeper, has closely monitored the river’s condition for more than a decade.

August 24: Scientists find ‘troubling’ levels of microplastics polluting Ottawa River – CBC Ottawa

Tiny bits of plastic that can imperil the health of both wildlife and humans have been found in more than two dozen spots along a 500-kilometre stretch of the Ottawa River, researchers say.

Scientists from Carleton University and the Ottawa Riverkeeper, an organization mandated to protect and promote the health of the waterway, said Wednesday they’ve scoured 26 sites from Lake Timiskaming to Hudson, Que., for “microplastics” — tiny, man-made particles less than five millimetres in diameter — and found them every time.

August 24: Interview with Meaghan Murphy – CBC News: Ottawa (Clip begins at 30:35)

The water from the Ottawa River has been under the microscope this summer. There’s an aquatic search underway right now for plastics that are so small, you can’t see them with the naked eye. The Ottawa Riverkeeper and Carleton University are running that study into microplastics, many of them in the form of microbeads from cosmetic products. They end up going down the drain, into the river, and eventually, into the Atlantic Ocean. The study is also looking into the plastics’ impact on fish, and on the people who eat them.

Meaghan Murphy is with the Ottawa Riverkeeper; she’s also one of the scientists working on the study of microplastic pollution in the Ottawa River, and she joins us now in studio.