The Gatineau Declaration
The Ottawa River is too important to just leave its future up to chance. That is why, starting in 2015, Ottawa Riverkeeper led the charge to bring our governments together to collaborate and share responsibility for the long-term health and future of our important and magnificent river.
On May 29, in Gatineau Quebec, we tabled a declaration for river protection at the 2015 Ottawa River Summit. The Gatineau Declaration was co-created by the Ottawa River Summit Advisory Committee, representing various sectors of society, including municipal governments, First Nations, businesses, provincial and federal agencies and not-for-profit organizations. The declaration is a summary of why the river is important and lays out a unified vision of how we can work together to achieve common objectives.
Key actions outlined in the Gatineau Declaration:
- Acknowledge and celebrate the cultural, heritage, and natural values within the Ottawa River Watershed;
- Create new forums, or adapt existing ones, for integrating and sharing information, research and knowledge about the health of the Ottawa River Watershed, the challenges we face, and potential solutions or best management practices relevant to protecting freshwater ecosystems;
- Agree on a set of indicators (such as water quality, biodiversity, shoreline integrity, etc.) to monitor and report on river health; and
- Recognise people, businesses, organizations, and communities who are leading change in our watershed or are implementing projects that foster innovation and promote sustainable river management.
We received over 1500 signatures – thank you to everyone who signed! Because of you, we were able to begin forming a Watershed Council. The Council will represent diverse interests within the watershed and make recommendations to the regulatory bodies within the watershed. Find out more about the project here.