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CelebratingWater Heroes

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Celebrating Water Heroes

Did you know that no matter where you live in Canada, you are connected to a river’s watershed?

Canada has one fifth of the world’s freshwater – thousands of interconnected waterways across our country that support life for people, wildlife and ecosystems. Every Canadian lives within one of Canada’s 25 major watersheds. And hundreds of individuals, communities, and organizations are working across the country to protect the waters within them.

Join us for Canada Water Week. Celebrate the Water Heroes working to protect our water health!

Water—Our Most Precious Resource

To get there, we’re supporting the work of an amazing network of Canadians across the country – our Water Heroes.

With support from the Loblaw Water Fund, we’re helping on-the-ground water groups protect and restore our most precious resource. These heroes are working tirelessly to monitor water quality in local waterways, restore habitat for frogs, turtles and fish, repair degraded riverbanks and engage their communities in stewarding local waters.

Without the assistance of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, there would have been zero, or almost zero, young spiny softshell turtles hatching in 2014

Species at Risk Biologist Scott Gillingwater

Scott Gillingwater

I am fascinated by the beauty that can be found beneath the cobble when I’m out exploring streams in the Kootenays.

Heather Leschied

Heather Leschied

Our goal is to create healthy and sustainable communities in the Humber River watershed – and to us that includes their social, economic and environmental well-being.

Eduardo Garay

Eduardo Garay

On the Ground with Water Heroes

Saving Turtles on the Thames

Getting from nest to river can be a rocky road for Ontario’s eastern spiny softshell turtle. But last year, more than 2,500 hatchling turtles were released from protected nests into the Upper Thames River. All thanks to the Species at Risk Reptile Team of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Without these Water Heroes, almost no young turtles would have entered the Thames in 2014. Softshell turtle nest sites are at great risk from human activity, including ATV use, camping, poaching and even fishing.

Searching for the elusive caddisfly

Heather Leschied spends her days in hip waders, wandering through the topaz blue water of the Flathead River, studying aquatic insects, worms and snails. The bejeweled caddisfly, well-known among fly fishers, is one of the animals that help her understand watershed health. With the support of the Loblaw Water Fund, Living Lakes is conducting water quality monitoring in five river basins, helping efforts to establish a conservation area for the Flathead Valley in southeastern British Columbia.

Connecting people in cities with nature

Water is an element that connects everyone. With Loblaw Water Fund support, Futurewatch’s Multicultural Water Initiative offers diverse immigrant communities in Toronto’s Humber River watershed opportunities to learn about river health. Families participate in multi-generational “river days”, water quality sampling, fish tagging and river shore restoration. What common theme unites diverse languages and backgrounds? Their personal experiences on the water and in nature.

How Healthy are Canada’s Waters?

Along with WWF, these Water Heroes are among hundreds of organizations across Canada working to improve the health of our lakes and rivers. So how will we know if all our hard work is actually paying off?

WWF has created a way to measure and report on water health across Canada – the Freshwater Health Assessment tool. By June 2015, we will have assessed the health of and current threats to one third of all our major river systems – including some of Canada’s largest, such as the Mackenzie River basin and the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River basin. This pioneering project will help us take effective action in the future. And provide the insight needed to determine just how well we’re already doing with water projects, policies and management.