This year has started with a reminder of what can happen when climate, politics and priorities combine to impact our rivers, and the human and ecological communities that depend upon them.

At the ARRC, we don’t believe apportioning blame is helpful, rather, we believe our rivers are letting us know they desperately need our help, and we need to act.

Instead of hoarding knowledge we need to share it, even if it is not good news. We need to be honest about what we do and don’t know about how our rivers and wetlands will respond to our changing climate, and we are going to need to accept that there are some parts of our river systems we cannot save.

We need to stop dismantling programs like the Native Fish Strategy and Sustainable Rivers Audit that facilitate collaboration and connection between researchers, local communities and waterway practitioners, and start investing in people, communications and long term thinking.

Trust is what underpins strong relationships, hope is what enables communities to ride out the tough times, empathy ensures we keep our humanity.

We believe that if we had a robust basin wide ecological monitoring program in place, with information shared, and resources dedicated to effective communication, the river and her communities would be better understood, and maybe real time decision making could avert some of the surprise and devastation we are seeing.

Rivers and people need each other to thrive – by working together, taking note of what our rivers are telling us, we need to keep looking for the opportunities to protect, restore and connect with the rivers we all depend upon.

– Siwan


More conversations to consider: