GATINEAU, QC, May 29, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The de Gaspé Beaubien
Foundation is joining forces with Ottawa Riverkeeper and Blue Legacy -
filmmaker and explorer Alexandra Cousteau's company - to launch River Mission-Mission Rivière, a project dedicated to restoring and protecting the threatened Ottawa
River. The project is made possible by the almost half a million dollar
contribution the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation has generously committed
to the project over the next three years.
The Ottawa River is 1271 km long, the 8th longest river in North
America. It harbours more native mussel species than all of Europe's
rivers combined, as well as over 300 species of birds. The watershed
covers an area larger than England, but despite this, no single
government agency is responsible or accountable for the river's health
River Mission - Mission Riviére grew from of the concerns of the 4th generation of the de Gaspé Beaubien family - the new generation of
young Gaspé Beaubien's who will eventually oversee the Foundation. The
protection of water, they believe, is critical to the health and future
of our peoples and planet. As such, the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
has decided to make water its priority.
Working in collaboration with respected and inspiring Ottawa
Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown, and with the intrepid Alexandra Cousteau
(grand-daughter of Jacques Cousteau) of Blue Legacy, the de Gaspé
Beaubien Foundation is launching River Mission - Mission Riviére to increase public awareness on the importance of the Ottawa River, the
issues impacting its health, and the need for leadership to protect its
River Mission - Mission Riviére is the brainchild of the Foundation's 4th generation. It is being launched by the Foundation's Executive
Director, Dominique Monchamp.
"There are many worthwhile causes" explains Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien
IV, "but we chose water because water is humanity's most important
natural resource. Earlier generations damaged our planet, but people
like my grand-parents are now in a position to help redress some of
those errors. That's what we hope to do, with the help of experts in
According to Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown, the agreement is
critical to restoring and protecting the Ottawa River. "Two-thirds of
the Ottawa River watershed is in Quebec, and Quebecers along the river
care deeply about water quality and the health of their local reaches.
With the help of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, we'll be able to
work effectively in Quebec to help communities, businesses and
government understand the problems and take action to solve them."
With $490,000 in financial assistance from the de Gaspé Beaubien
Foundation, the three partners will work with riverside communities,
stakeholders and the various government agencies and leaders. The
project's focus is to improve water quality, to counteract the negative
impacts of dams, and to ensure that existing environmental laws
protecting the river are enforced.
In addition, the partnership will support Ottawa Riverkeeper's outreach
into the Province of Quebec, promote the importance of the Ottawa River
to both the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and help raise awareness
on the present state of the river within Quebec communities. To this
end, the partnership will hire a full time Ottawa Riverkeeper staff
member dedicated to mobilizing communities in Quebec.
The culmination of River Misson - Mission Rivière will be the 2015 Summit for the Protection of the Ottawa River. Under
the leadership of Ottawa Riverkeeper, the Summit will bring together
activists, citizens, industry, government, First Nations - stakeholders
in the Ottawa River - to develop a common vision, shared objectives and
concrete steps to improve the health of the river.
A "Cousteau" launch!
This project will be officially launch August 4th, 2013, as the de Gaspé Beaubien family, joined by a team of
specialists, will head out onto the Ottawa River to conduct water
quality testing that will provide information on the present state of
the river. This will be followed by an expedition led by Alexandra
Cousteau, grand-daughter of the renowned explorer, to produce three
documentaries: one on the quality of the Ottawa River water, another on
the impact of the dams on river health, and a third on how the lack of
coordinated governance is affecting the river's future.
"The river-watcher movement has always been inspiring for me and
something I support and encourage," says Cousteau, "I am thrilled that
with the contribution of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation I will be
able to work closely with Ottawa Riverkeeper to help mobilize
communities in restoring the Ottawa River. It's time people take back
ownership of their waters!"
A press conference will be held in July to provide more detailed
information on these expeditions and on the next project initiatives.
About the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
The de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation is a private family foundation founded
in 1990 by Nan-b and Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, based on the
philosophy of entrepreneurial philanthropy. Rather than giving simple
grants, the Foundation invests in projects with both growth and profit
potential. Backed by strong business experience and a formidable
network of local and international contacts, the de Gaspé Beaubien
family carefully choses project that engage both individuals and
organizations in the support of sustainable social development.
About Blue Legacy
Blue Legacy International is a not-for-profit organization founded in
2008 by Alexandra Cousteau that develops and distributes traditional
and new media projects to tell stories and inspire people to take
action on critical water issues in meaningful ways. Blue Legacy
delivers its mission by working in the following project areas:
Expeditions to chronicle water issues
Development and distribution of media and educational assets
Leadership in policy forums and action campaigns
Collaboration to increase the capacity and impact of grassroots
Building on the Cousteau legacy of exploration and "experiential
storytelling," Blue Legacy expeditions generate excitement and
understanding about critical water issues and deliver
"conversation-shaping" short films, blogs, images, and interactive
elements that allow traditional and online media outlets to more
effectively engage their audiences and drive productive discussion
around the interconnectivity of water issues through the lens of
About Ottawa Riverkeeper
Founded in 2001, Ottawa Riverkeeper is a grassroots charity formed to
protect, promote and improve the health and future of the Ottawa River
and its tributaries. Ottawa Riverkeeper works collaboratively to
inspire others to take action, to encourage responsible decision
making, to hold polluters accountable and to recommend alternative
practices and policies to safeguard our local waterways. Ottawa
Riverkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international grassroots organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy
SOURCE: de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
For further information:
For more information on the participation of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation to the River Mission, please contact:
De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation