WWF-Canada Blog:
Freshwater


WWF-Canada launches new watershed reports website

On July 7, we hosted a Google Hangout on Air with WWF CEO David Miller, VP Freshwater James Snider, Sarah Weston of CURA H2O and TVO’s The Water Brothers and fielded dozens of questions from Canadians across the country who are concerned about the health of their watershed.

The hangout was to celebrate the launch of our new interactive website: watershedreports.wwf.ca which houses the health and threats assessments of half of all of Canada’s watersheds. WWF will complete assessments for all of Canada’s watersheds by 2017 – with the ultimate goal of having all waters in good condition by 2025.

If you missed the Google Hangout, you can view the video here:

Now, for the first time, all Canadians have access to comprehensive and easy-to-understand information about the health of one of our most valuable resources: freshwater.

“We hope Canadians will explore watershedreports.wwf.ca to learn more about the health of, and threats to, their own watershed,” says David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. “We hope people will find inspiration in our work so that they can take action in their own communities.”

screengrab

The new website also features the locations of WWF-Canada’s Loblaw Water Fund grantees — organizations and individuals who are engaged in maintaining and monitoring the health of, and threats to, their local watersheds.

The assessments are based on four indicators of health; water flow, water quality, benthic invertebrates (bugs) and fish; and seven threat indicators: pollution, climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, overuse of water, alteration of water flows and invasive species.

The results of our assessments indicate that many of Canada’s watersheds are confronted with significant threats, which are already leading to changes in the ecological condition of rivers and watersheds.

“Our assessment aims to provide a consistent and accessible way for Canadians to learn the status of their freshwater ecosystems — which is crucial if we want to ensure healthy waters for the future” says James Snider, VP Freshwater. “Perhaps the biggest cause for the concern is the lack of available data to confidently report on the health of many of Canada’s watersheds. This cross-Canada overview is a crucial step towards effective stewardship of Canada’s freshwater health.”

This user-friendly website is meant to be a core resource to help guide watershed management, and the development of new policies and programs – and help Canadians get to know the watershed they live in.

Confluence of the Mackenzie and Liard Rivers, Northwest Territories, Canada

Landscape showing the confluence of the Mackenzie River and Liard River near Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, Canada. © Tessa MACINTOSH / WWF-Canada

From our Hangout participants:

“Because we have so much water we could really be global ambassadors for water…we can use this precious gift of having so much water to invigorate the public to really care a lot more about our watersheds because it’s something that should be part of a Canadian cultural identity.” – Alex Mifflen, The Water Brothers

“Clean water is at the heart of a healthy community. Access to clean water is a basic human right and shouldn’t be based on economic wealth or cultural structure. For example, it is really crucial that we work towards insuring clean drinking water in First Nations communities in Canada.” –  Sarah Weston, Cura H2O

Watch to learn more about what we as Canadians can do and find out more about your watershed at: watershedreports.wwf.ca.


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