After many years of very hard work, commitment, and perseverance, WWF Canada’s Freshwater Team has released their Freshwater Health Assessment (http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/freshwater/freshwaterhealth/). This is our first, national effort to comprehensively report on the state of Canadian rivers. The assessment or ‘report card’ will evolve to become an effective tool in the tool box used by river managers, community organizations, and all river enthusiasts across Canada. It has the potential to transform our thinking and actions, including uniting in conservation, communities within and among watersheds across Canada.
The Freshwater Health Assessment (FHA) is a response to Canada’s water community’s desire for a clear, science-based picture of the health of our rivers. While this should be a goal for our national government, we couldn’t wait any longer for action and unfortunately, the federal government is now reducing its potential to achieve environmental status reports. The FHA was created over 2-years of extensive and intensive collaborations with Canada’s river science experts to build four key metrics that measure water quality, water flow, fish, and benthic macroinvertebrates (bottom dwelling animals). The metrics were designed to be applied across the diversity of Canadian rivers. The FHA was not designed to replace the many innovative assessment and management tools Canadians have already developed in watershed organizations across Canada. Rather, the FHA will compliment ongoing initiatives and provide an effective linkage for river conservationists, managers, scientists, and everyone interested in rivers right across our great country.
The Canadian Rivers Institute has been and will continue to be a proud supporter of the FHA as it grows and evolves.
Thank you Tony Maas and the WWF Canada Freshwater Team!