Swim, fish and drink —three words not usually associated with the North Saskatchewan River, but that’s exactly what the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper Organization (NSRK) wants for Edmonton’s future.
The NSRK program officially launched yesterday at the home of Britt Standen, vice-president and treasurer for the organization.
A fitting location for the inauguration on the banks overlooking the North Saskatchewan, the location was a reminder to those present of the poignancy in keeping Edmonton’s waterways pristine and healthy.
“Our vision is a watershed where we can all safely and enjoyably swim, drink and fish,” said Glenn Isaac, executive director and riverkeeper for the NSRK.
“We are a watershed, not just a river, and in areas of the watershed because of inputs from agriculture, livestock, urban development, expansion, storm water and waste-water treatment, these particular water bodies have been degraded.”
Isaac’s role in the organization is to provide education about the river and the watershed, to respond to citizen complaints and concerns, and to monitor the river itself.
Isaac will work with other preservation groups to protect the waterway for the long term.
“We’re community-minded people who want to keep the water the best that we can for our children,” said NSRK president Karen Percy Lowe.
Lowe began as a trustee for the Waterkeeper Alliance, and felt Edmonton would benefit from a branch.
The NRSK is a registered charity and a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization of waterbody protection programs.
Currently there are nine Waterkeeper programs established in Canada.