Stewardship of the French River – Newspaper Article

May 2013

When the voyageurs first travelled these waters, they had little need to carry a lunch. Game and fish were there for the asking and the water was drinkable. Not so today. Logging has deforested the land to allow farming and the raising of cattle. Industries have come and gone leaving behind their mark. These activities have not only permanently altered the land but some of their by-products have over time infiltrated the surrounding waterways to questionable effect. As more people settled near the river, unrestricted usage and uninformed practices in the past have also contributed to the questionable quality of the river.

The impact of these stressors can be debated but the decline in the quality of our water and the decimation of the fish stocks is undeniable. Until the quality of the water supports the fish populations and allow their reproduction in a self-sufficient fashion, the French River Stewardship Council (FRSC) will continue its efforts at the rehabilitation or establishment of new spawning beds and possibly in the future, the stocking of fish in our area waters. The day where our intervention is unnecessary appears to still be in the far future.

The FRSC does not have the resources to restore, on its own, the pristine quality of the water. It is well beyond our capabilities. The current condition is the result of centuries of neglect and abuse. It will take a comprehensive effort combining initiatives from all levels of government, along with industrial and community awareness to start the long process of restoration of the environment.

Currently, there does not appear to be any other local group with a commitment as focused to this task as the FRSC. Therefore, we feel it is incumbent upon us to contribute what we can. We therefore offer our guidance and encourage the local population to help by contributing its share in reducing the negative impact on the waterways.

The FRSC will continue the testing of the area waters to help identify problematic sources. We can then isolate the origins of the problem and hopefully mitigate or even eliminate the causes. We will continue to share the results of this research with the public and also offer suggestions as to the solutions and changes necessary to achieve our common goal of cleaner water.

With the arrival of summer, cottagers and tourists are returning and we, along with the permanent citizens must enlist them in our common long-term goal of improving the water quality. A united constituency is the only way to bring about modifications to the undesirable and sometimes detrimental provincial policies that affect the watershed. Changes are required to the practices and habits that have developed during years of laissez-faire attitudes.

The French River Stewardship Council needs your help. We will be holding our Annual General Meeting this summer where we will be soliciting your feedback to aid our executive examine which priorities and projects will best direct our efforts. Come join us and contribute your share. The waterways, fisheries and your financial investment in this area all are dependent on our pulling together to turn things around.

Date Added: May 25, 2013 | Comments Off | Filed under: News — Tags: — webedit @ 12:33 pm

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