---Ottawa Riverkeeper keeps up work despite COVID-19, calls for public help
While the COVID-19 pandemic has altered most daily activities, the Ottawa Riverkeeper has kept on its mission of protecting the local watershed and is asking the community for support. Taking bids for their 2020 Gala online silent auction that was held on August 31, Ottawa Riverkeeper’s Riverkeeper Elizabeth Logue told the Bulletin they gave out plenty of incredible prizes. Including a two-day fly-fishing experience in New-Brunswick, a white-water rafting experience with Boreal River, brunch in Wakefield, the prizes are mostly meant to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors. “A lot of items are donated by the community to support us,” Logue said.
As a non-for-profit-organization, the Ottawa Riverkeeper has hosted its annual gala in May in the form of a public celebration at alternating locations along the Ottawa River for the last several years, Logue told the Bulletin. But with that - along with their other spring and summer events - cancelled because of COVID-19, the Ottawa Riverkeeper decided the best option was to reinvent themselves by hosting the event virtually this time around.
Logue said the gala plays a significant role in funding the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s everyday operations and the organization’s growth over the last several years. “We use that money in whatever way we need to, to build our capacity on a certain issue,” Logue said
As the main voice for the protection of the Ottawa River watershed, Logue said that the organization’s events, notably shoreline clean ups, play a big role in its connection with the community. “We would have been in the water a lot this summer,” Logue said. “But we haven’t been able to do that sort of research.” Unable to do that because of COVID-19, they’ve mostly used their time to host online live events, water quality testing and sharing information with residents. Among their top priorities, Logue said the Ottawa Riverkeeper is dedicated to fighting policy issues affecting the watershed, notably activities at the Chalk River nuclear waste facility, microplastics and endangered species, as well as establishing the benchmark of what a well-protected river should be.
Going into the autumn, the Ottawa Riverkeeper is looking forward to co-hosting a series of webinars with the Museum of Nature focusing on a variety of subjects, including endangered species, and an online trivia night on September 29. “We’re trying to get the youth involved in the water protection work that we’re doing,” Logue said.