The Canadian Club of Halton Peel hosted Jeff Surtees, the CEO and Corporate Counsel for Trout Unlimited Canada, a national, non-profit organization that conserves, protects and restores Canada’s freshwater streams and their ecosystems. Jeff is a passionate conservationist who loves the outdoors. He is also an accomplished semi-professional musician! Using Trout Unlimited Canada’s current watershed restoration projects on Bronte Creek in Halton and Duffin’s Creek in Durham & York, Jeff illustrated the importance of the intertwined roles of citizens, business and government in the conservation, protection and restoration of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems – community based environmental stewardship.
According to Jeff Surtees, Trout Unlimited Canada is a misleading name because the organization is not about fish but rather about the water that they swim in. The organization began in 1962, formed by a group of fisherman in Montreal, and the message spread across the country. Its mission is to preserve Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and cold water resources for current and future generations. It is a moderate organization with no involvement in politics. They develop their opinions based on scientific facts and research and offer practical solutions through their educational programs. Jeff Surtees says, “We fix things”.
As with most non-profit organizations, money continues to be the biggest challenge as the government and Corporate Canada continue to slash funding. There is a highly valued network of local volunteer groups across the country, including ten in Ontario, that are passionate about promoting environmental protection and creating safe inland water and streams and who are delighted about working with well respected, talented scientists – and a committed lawyer! Trout Unlimited Canada organizers ask questions: Is the water quality good? Is the water quantity acceptable? Are the fish the best kind for the habitat? Are there enough fish and not too many?
Educational programs are in place help to make children and the general public aware that what goes into our storm sewers and drains goes directly into the habitats of the fish. To increase awareness of this concern, one project supported by Trout Unlimited Canada is Yellow Road Fish painting days where supervised children paint yellow fish on the road beside storm drains to remind people of the impact of untreated water on our fish and other freshwater creatures. Family fun days and other activities are also a part of the organization in order to create a partnership of people who want to see the optimal health of our aquatic life.
The Canadian Club of Halton Peel audience was delighted in the question and answer period following Jeff Surtees’ presentation to also hear the views of Jack Imhof, National Biologist and Director of Conservation Ecology for Trout Unlimited Canada. Jack said that the problems with Canada’s freshwater ecosystems are made even more complicated as the population grows, with homes being built over our natural streams, and pavement and buildings replacing the natural landscape. The entire freshwater ecosystems change as a result. Three years have been spent monitoring and preserving Bronte Creek as it flows from the escarpment through Burlington and Oakville. Details can be seen here.
Relationships evolve and are ever-changing.Trout Unlimited Canada fosters relationships with concerned individuals and feels that “it is a lot easier to do things right the first time rather than to try to fix it later!” If freshwater streams and their ecosystems and conserving Canada’s coldwater resources are topics of interest to you, donations are gratefully welcomed. Your involvement would be treasured. Visit www.tucanada.org to learn more about the organization and for contact information.
The Canadian Club of Halton Peel, now in their 28th season, hosts their next dinner at the Oakville Conference Centre at the QEW and Bronte Road on Thursday November 7th. The guest speaker will be Dr. Rick Adachi, MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine and Alliance for Better Bone Health Chair in Rheumatology, McMaster University-St. Joseph’s Healthcare. His presentation will be “Osteoporosis: What You Need to Know and Do”. For more information and reservations contact Barry Wylie, President at 905-827-6302 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Reservations with cheques payable to the Canadian Club of Halton Peel can also be mailed to the Canadian Club of Halton Peel at 283 River Side Drive, Oakville, L6K 3N3.