"The Trouble Facing Canadian Rivers"

"The seasonal waxing and waning of rivers is one of nature's most crucial cycles, influencing everything from the success of salmon runs to having enough water during parched summers to irrigate crops.

But by this measure, many of Canada's major rivers are in trouble, contends a new report that says many of the best known rivers have suffered major alterations in their natural flows due to hydro dams, irrigation schemes and withdrawals by industry, and could be further compromised by the effects of global warming.

The report, by WWF-Canada, one of the country's major environmental organizations, says the rivers that have been most altered from their natural state include the St. Lawrence and the South Saskatchewan, whose 'ecosystems are in serious trouble' as a result. But it warned that if safeguards aren't put in place soon, some of North America's last free-flowing rivers, including the Skeena in B.C., the Athabasca in Alberta, and the Mackenzie in the Northwest Territories 'could soon be in trouble as well.'"

Martin Mittelstaedt reports for the Toronto Globe and Mail October 14, 2009.

Source: Toronto Globe & Mail, 10/15/2009