Ottawa and Carleton Place, Ont.

After starting the day together at the St. Lawrence River Institute, John Struzenberg and Joshua Wiersma split off to head to Carleton, Ontario to meet with representatives from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and the South Nation Conservation Authority, located in Ottawa.

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Shannon Gutoskie, Community Relations Director of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, welcomed John and Josh and shared the authority’s approach to river protection.

“We take an integrated watershed management approach to balance the needs of the community, the environment, and the economy,” said Gutoskie.

Several rivers in North America cross international boundaries, including the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, and the Columbia. Because of this, the MCVR, one of more than 30 similar organizations in Ontario, always includes multiple stakeholders in the conversation.

After finishing at MCVR, we said our goodbyes and made our way to a Canadian stretch of the Northern Mississippi, lush with plant life, to do some filming.

The next stop was in Ottawa for a visit to the South Nation Conservation Authority, established in the 1940’s to address environmental issues including forestry, fish, wildlife, and water quality. We spoke with Natasha Machado and Brent Harbers, both members of the South Nation Conservation Authority.

Environmental stewardship is key to ensuring that the river will be healthy for generations, said Machado, who explained that this is the authority’s primary focus.

“Promoting sustainable development that would ensure forest and water quality is sustainable and there for future generations” are key, said Machado, “so that one day when our grandchildren inherit the river, they have clean water to drink.”

Individuals can and should make a difference because even seemingly small actions can have cumulative effects.

“Things that go on in our smaller tributaries feed into our larger streams and eventually the oceans,” said Harbers. “Any issues that we may have in our own rivershed will eventually lead to global issues.”

Thankful for their perspective, we headed back to Cornwall to rejoin our team members.

The next leg of our journey will take us to the Buffalo/Niagara Region following an overnight stay in Syracuse for the night.