Protect the Other 99%: Restoring Rights to Access Navigable Waters
Access to millions of rivers and lakes rests on how the Navigation Protection Act is revised. Now is the time to nominate your home waters to join ALL navigable waters for protection from barriers that block navigation. You can join a movement calling on the Navigation Protection Act to ensure #nowatersleftbehind.
People are raising alarm to protect an ecological and economically vital stretch of the Fraser River from developments that threaten critical sturgeon spawning habitat and that change water flows. A recent study of faulty floodgates on the Fraser shows how blocked water flows contributed to poor water quality and less native fish. Though the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) concerns human navigation, it is clear that structures that impede navigability also impact environmental health.
The good news is that the Fraser River falls within the protections of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) so barriers to navigation (such as faulty flood-gates) could be challenged under the Act. But millions of waterways lack the immediate protection that being listed in the Act provides. Many may have small communities with little resources to individually challenge harmful developments in court - the only option for those not listed under the NPA. Is this fair? With no government oversight for the cumulative impact of countless developments on unscheduled waterways, like pipelines to tailing ponds, the responsibility has shifted to the public to protect these navigable waterways.
Canada is a country woven together by the the lakes and rivers that span the land from coast-to-coast-to-coast. These waters were the original highways, their flows tied to treaty obligations, their waters providing us with space to swim, paddle and fish. Without a doubt the waterways across the country form a key pillar for community, economic, and physical health.