As a result of political boundaries, historical allocation of legislative authorities, and patterns of human settlement and use, the Ottawa River and its watershed are subject to overlapping laws, policies, and priorities of the federal government, two provincial governments, numerous agencies and organizations, First Nation communities, industry, and more than 200 municipalities located within the watershed.
In 2015, Ottawa Riverkeeper hosted the Ottawa River Summit, a gathering of more than 200 people and dozens of organizations and decision-makers, including the then ministers of the Environment for Ontario and Québec. Summit participants co-created the Gatineau Declaration, an action agenda for an integrated approach to sustainable water management within the Ottawa River Watershed. More than 1,500 groups and individuals signed the Gatineau Declaration.
In 2016, following on the Declaration, members of our watershed community came together to consider the creation of an inclusive, collaborative, multi-sectoral Ottawa River Watershed Council. A detailed Discussion Paper was published in 2017. You can find it below on this page.
In preparation for the establishment of a more formal structure, we continue to build and develop relationships with a wide range of groups, including Conservation Authorities, Organismes de bassin versant, First Nations, municipalities, boating and angler associations, research institutes, and others. We think of these groups of river lovers and stewards as Allies in the pursuit of a healthy and dynamic watershed.
That is why we are in the process of creating an online portal, or Info-Hub, where these Allies will be able to showcase local achievements, share insights from collaborative projects, promote best practices, and eventually begin to address watershed-scale issues such as water pollution, flooding, fish migration, shoreline restoration, and many more.
Our vision for this Network of Allies is shaped by our joint dedication to making the Ottawa River watershed an ideal place to swim-drink-fish for generations to come.
Stay tuned for the next developments, and look out for the launch of the Info-Hub later in the year!