The Rivers Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to work for preservation, restoration and enhancement of the natural character of rivers- as well as to maintain better water quality.
Dams – Laying concrete on rivers destroys falls, ecosystems and landscapes. Hydropower production is falsely presented as a solution to greenhouse gas emissions problem while other more effective alternatives exist. Visit www.avecenergie.org or watch the documentary Chercher le courant to learn more about it.
Axphyxiation of watercourses by pollution– Small watercourses and lands drainage systems feed bigger rivers. They are often open sewers, affected by erosion and pollution.
Embankments and destruction of river banks – River banks act as filter by retaining small particules and preventing soil erosion. They are essential to maintain the water quality and health of the ecosystems.
Economic interests – Citizens must be able to protect local environmental interests. Otherwise, only economic interests will prevail in decision making.
To achieve its mission, the Rivers Foundation constantly informs the public through various media, educates the public about issues affecting rivers, and mobilizes citizens for the defense of Quebec’s rivers.
The Rivers Foundation aspires to become the reference watchdog in the defense of Quebec rivers, which implies that it :
1. Collects and coordinates vigilance on the rivers;
2. Collects and disseminates information to the general public and stakeholders;
3. Educates and sensibilize the population, especially young people, to issues affecting the rivers;
4. Supports, guides and mobilizes concerned citizens and any organization involved in the defense of Quebec rivers.
In May 2001, the government of Quebec announces that it will launch a new program for the construction and operation of small hydropower stations. At this time, we are learning that 36 sites on 24 rivers in Quebec will be sold to private companies for the establishment of small stations, that is to say, a production of less than 50 megawatts (MW).
In response to this announcement, a large movement of citizens mobilizes and drafts a document to advocate for free rivers. This text emphasizes that falls and rapids are a unique collective heritage in the world and hydropower stations producing less than 50 MW cause significant damage to the environment and produce non-significant energy savings.
In June 2001, the Rivers Foundation, together with partner organizations (Nature Quebec, the Quebec Federation of canoeing and kayaking, Adventure Ecotourism Quebec, SNAP and Eau Secours!) launches an awareness campaign called Adopt a river. Many artists offer their support by agreeing to sponsor symbolically a river threatened by hydropower development. The actor Roy Dupuis takes the Gatineau River.
In autumn 2002, at the initiative of Roy Dupuis, Michel Gauthier and Alain Saladzius the Rivers Foundation officially arises as a non-profit organization involved in the protection of rivers.
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