Ottawa River, Ontario - Meaghan Kelly
I studied Earth Sciences and Aquatic Resources in university and found my passion for water conservation. My grandmother owns a cottage on the Ottawa River in Norway Bay, and my extended family gathers there every summer. Our cottage and that river occupy some of my fondest childhood memories of swimming and stargazing on the dock.
In my later childhood, our portion of the river saw an increase in the rate of fish kills and a number of us avid swimmers were catching swimmer’s ear more often. We had to spend days out of the water at a time for our health and safety, until the breakout of bacteria had subsided. In an effort not worry us, the kids were told that these were normal river phenomena – this didn’t sit right with me. I realized that I’ve never known an Ottawa River that I could safely drink from or fish from. Among the issues that are tangible to me, there is so much more happening under the surface that is detrimental to the river. It is time for the Ottawa River Watershed community to take responsibility for this damage and begin to protect our most precious resource.