Protect what is close to you, on World Rivers Day

To mark this year’s World Rivers Day (Sept. 24), people across the globe are joining together to celebrate our marvelous rivers.

Often compared to arteries or highways, rivers are essential to the livelihood of communities. It is no doubt that on its 12th annual Rivers Day, the world has lots to celebrate!

Here in New Brunswick, you don’t have to look too far to spot one of our many beautiful rivers. From the Wolastokw (St. John River) in Edmundston running through to Saint John and the flowing waters of the Miramichi River, we have banked upon these and many other precious waterways for centuries, so that our communities can thrive.

What’s to celebrate?

On this World Rivers Day, which is meant to improve community stewardship of rivers, we can’t help but recall our province’s Water Classification Regulation.

The regulation, which was passed in 2002,  would have allowed for community-based organizations to implement water classification systems. These systems are used worldwide to set transparent and science-based goals to protect our precious rivers.

Nineteen watershed groups around New Brunswick conducted extensive data collection to submit their river systems for classification. However, as of today, none of the proposals have been approved.

Our rivers are worth protecting

Our world has changed tremendously since the regulation was passed fifteen years ago.

A recent study by WWF-Canada found that New Brunswick rivers are facing many environmental threats related to human activities such as pollution, agricultural runoff, and habitat loss, to name a few. The study also found that we lacked the science-based data needed to make smart decisions towards protecting our rivers.

In March 2016, the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) announced it would begin work on developing a new comprehensive water protection strategy. This announcement opportunity gave First Nations, scientists, business and local watershed groups restored hope that the Water Classification Regulation would be enacted as the strategy’s key component.

There is no doubt that the regulation would provide decision-makers and communities with the data needed to give our rivers the protection they deserve. Our Executive Director, Lois Corbett, has been an active part of the technical working group formed by DELG to provide recommendations to the Minister on watershed management. We have been working hard to implement the Water Classification Regulation in hopes that on next years World Rivers Day, our rivers have a Water Strategy in place that is worth celebrating!

Your contribution, no matter the amount, will help us continue our advocacy for protecting our beloved rivers.

Learn more about protecting freshwater

  • Check out our event this Wednesday, September 27, where we will watch the award-winning documentary Green Rights, with author, filmmaker and former CBC journalist Silver Donald Cameron. See more information, here.
  • Learn more about water classification, here.
  • Herbicides are being sprayed within our municipal drinking water supplies. Read more, here.