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Our history

The origins of the Fondation Rivières

In 2001, the Quebec government announced that 36 sites on 24 rivers in Quebec would be transferred to private companies. The objective: to build small hydroelectric plants, that is to say with a production of less than 50 megawatts (MW).

A vast citizen movement is being organized to recognize that the falls and rapids constitute a unique collective heritage on a global scale, and that small power plants cause significant damage to the environment in return for negligible energy gains. These demands are found in the Plea for free rivers.

The Fondation Rivières, together with partner organizations, is therefore launching the awareness operation Adoptez une rivière. Several artists offer their support by symbolically agreeing to sponsor a threatened river. Among them, the actor Roy Dupuis adopts the Gatineau River.

At the initiative of Roy Dupuis, Michel Gauthier andAlain Saladzius, the Fondation Rivières is officially born in the fall of 2022 as a non-profit organization involved in saving rivers.

Contribute to the preservation of Quebec rivers
In addition to supporting our team in protecting rivers, your donation entitles you to a charitable tax receipt and Fondation Rivières member status for one year.

Our history: 20 years protecting Quebec’s rivers

1994
2002
1999-2003
2004
2008
2008
2009
2012
2015
2015
2019
2020
2022
From small hydroelectric projects to the creation of the Fondation Rivières
At the request of the government, Hydro-Québec calls for tenders from private producers for the construction of small hydroelectric power plants (25 MW and less) on the rivers of Quebec. Electricity purchase contracts are awarded without sufficient state control. In 1994, engineer Alain Saladzius, now president of Fondation Rivières, was in close contact with the Sûreté du Québec and the Minister of Energy of the new provincial government to shed light on the situation. The Doyon public inquiry commission delivered a disturbing report in 1997.
Birth of the Fondation Rivières
Hydro-Québec is relaunching an ambitious plan to build 36 small power stations at the instigation of the government. Many artists, public figures, citizens' committees and interest groups are mobilizing. The Adopt a River initiative is taking shape, following which the Fondation Rivières is born. The Foundation is co-founded by Alain Saladzius, Roy Dupuis, still spokesperson, and Michel Gauthier. The organization is driven by the deep conviction that alternatives to hydroelectric production must be developed.
In Defense of the Rupert River
​The Fondation Rivières supports the efforts of Révérence Rupert, a citizen group which opposes Hydro-Québec's Eastmain-1A project which involves the diversion of water from the Rupert River and which will deprive it of more than 80% of its water at the height of the spillway. The peace of the brave, a political and economic agreement between Quebec and the Crees, requires the acceptance of the latter of the permanent alteration of one of the last great virgin rivers. The fate of Rupert was sealed in 2003 by a referendum which tore apart Eeyou Istchee, which opposed traditional and political movements.
Descent of the Magpie River
A private hydroelectric dam project risks affecting the integrity of the Magpie River. The Fondation Rivières is organizing a reconnaissance expedition along the river to promote its ecotourism appeal, in collaboration with the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP), the Union Québécoise pour la Conservation de la Nature (Nature Québec), Greenpeace and Earth River. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. joins the group to highlight the global interest in this natural gem. The Magpie will obtain legal protection status in 2021, following a joint approach by the MRC, the Innu communities and the SNAP, but Quebec has still not agreed to protect the river against hydroelectric development.
Financial assistance from religious organizations
The Fondation Rivières owes its survival in large part to the support of the Canadian Religious Conference, Quebec Chapter. Since 2008, the Priority Donations Committee has been recommending that its members support the Fondation Rivières in its mission. They choose to become partners of the work for its values of solidarity and mutual aid, and because the Foundation denounces injustice, breaks down the walls of individualism and stimulates generosity.
A memoir on the Romaine River, which becomes the subject of a documentary
In 2008, Fondation Rivières presented a brief to the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) concerning the hydroelectric development project on the Romaine River. The same year, Roy Dupuis and directors Nicolas Boisclair and Alexis de Gheldere made a trip down the Romaine River which they documented, for one last time before it was destroyed. Released in 2010, the film Chercher le cours awakens Quebec society to the environmental impacts of dams and alternative energies.
Campaign With Energy
Eleven artists deliver a message of mobilization for Quebec to make the green energy shift of the 21st century. From the innovations of the 1960s in the field of energy, notably the nationalization of electricity, to biodiversity, this series of videos produced in collaboration with Nature Québec, raises public awareness of the need to rethink our ways of doing things, based on science and on what is being done around the world.
Construction of a small hydroelectric power station on Ouiatchouan Falls
The Fondation Rivières is leading an important fight with citizens against the destruction of Ouiatchouan Falls, in the heart of the historic village of Val-Jalbert. Benefiting from considerable subsidies from Hydro-Québec, the MRC and the Innu Council of Mashteuiatsh see this as a financing opportunity for their activities. Today, the waterfall only flows during the day, in summer, when the site is open to visitors. Although this project was successful, the Fondation Rivières continues to work in the fight against unjustifiable threats to the integrity of rivers.
Water quality: a challenge to defend
The Foundation is undergoing a strategic reorientation. After re-evaluating the issues and objectives, it is understood that it will now focus more on water quality, a sector in which it possesses credible and recognized expertise. The Fondation Rivières is now working with watershed organizations and municipalities to provide them with water quality services.
Montreal's Flushgate
The media attention surrounding Montreal's Flushgate has raised public interest in wastewater overflow issues and allowed the Rivers Foundation to put its expertise on the subject. The Foundation questions the procedure used by the City and the excessive delays, and makes recommendations to Environment Canada and its committee of experts. The Foundation's involvement helps to reduce the time and volume of wastewater discharged without treatment.
Organization of the Big Splash
The Fondation Rivières becomes the main organizer of the annual Grand Splash event, after having co-organized the previous edition at the Old Port of Montreal. This initiative aims to raise awareness among the public and municipal officials of the importance of providing public access to swimming in waterways and ensuring water quality.
A track record of wastewater spills
Every day, large quantities of wastewater are discharged into Quebec's rivers because they cannot be treated by municipal wastewater systems. With the help of students in the journalism program at UQAM, the Fondation Rivières has developed an interactive map indicating, among other things, the intensity of overflows. The Foundation is therefore making public the sad ranking of the 50 municipalities that stand out for their wastewater spills in 2019.
Fondation Rivières becomes a charity
The Fondation Rivières obtained its registered charity status (OBE) 20 years after its creation. In addition to allowing the issuance of tax-deductible donation receipts, this status provides access to new sources of financing.

Discover the rivers for which Fondation Rivières acts positively. Contribute to our actions by adopting the one of your choice. 

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Become a member of the Foundation by donating. Your contribution allows our team to continue to mobilize to protect Quebec's rivers and waterways for future generations. 

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Our charity number : 14505 9911 RR0002

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