Newfoundland and Labrador's Eagle River takes centre stage for Canadian Rivers Day

Homegrown initiative seeks Atlantic Salmon conservation

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NL, June 10, 2011 /CNW/ - This morning the founding members of the Friends of the Eagle River (FOER) marked Canadian Rivers Day with a presentation to students of Queen of Peace Middle School. FOER is a new group formed to promote Labrador's spectacular Eagle River and the soon-to-be-established provincial waterway park.

In February 2010, the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada committed to protecting the Eagle River watershed and its world-class Atlantic salmon ecosystem through the establishment of the Mealy Mountains/Akamiuapishku National Park Reserve and an Eagle River Provincial Waterway Park.

"In Labrador, a new way of managing parks has emerged," said Larry Innes, executive director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI). "As the federal government did with the Mealies, the provincial government must work side-by-side with Aboriginal partners and local communities to establish the Eagle River Provincial Waterway Park; this will protect the ecological integrity of the land, without sacrificing the traditional activities of the people who live there."

FOER was launched by the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), CBI, and local outfitters to support final steps in the establishment of the Eagle River Provincial Waterway Park.

"Our clean rivers are globally significant. We have people from across the world flying in to fish the Eagle," said Gudrid Hutchings, co-owner and manager of the Rifflin' Hitch Lodge, a remote 5-star lodge on the Eagle River. "People around here don't realize that rivers like the Eagle are unique in the world, as so few regions still have healthy rivers and fish stocks."      "Across North America, pristine watersheds have been destroyed by industrial developments such as large-scale commercial harvesting, mining, urbanization and pollution," explained Don Ivany of the ASF. "Establishing a waterway park, as the provincial government has committed to doing, would be the best way to do ensure that the values of the Eagle are protected." Protection of rivers like the Eagle is vital - in fewer than 300 years, wild Atlantic salmon numbers have decreased by 90 percent.

The students were treated to presentations about FOER, Canadian Rivers Day, the wildlife, fish, and cultural traditions of the Eagle River, and how a provincial waterway park is necessary for this beautiful river. Local musician Jacinda Beals delighted the students with her funky, rocking tunes from the Big Land. See for more information.

About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
Established in 2003, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and sustainable development. It acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest region by governments, industry, Aboriginal communities, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

SOURCE Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information:

Suzanne Fraser, Canadian Boreal Initiative, 613-552-7277

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