Original post by the Missing Salmon Alliance.
September is proving to be a big month for Britain’s waterways, and for rivers worldwide. The 21st Century’s refocus onto nature, the environment, and the growing threats to our local ecologies has meant that rivers have become a greater part of the conversation about the world around us. We, alongside our partners in the Missing Salmon Alliance, are excited to see how September raises public awareness about what’s going on beneath the surfaces of our quiet creaks and roaring rivers.
On the Fourth Sunday of September over one hundred countries across the globe will be taking the time to celebrate World Rivers Day and raise awareness for their waterways. This yearly event was proposed by the founder of the four-decade running British Columbia Rivers Day, Mark Angelo, in response to the 2005 UN Water for Life Decade initiative. Since 2005, World Rivers Day has sparked events in cities ranging from Chicago, Illinois, to Brisbane, Australia.
At its heart, then, World Rivers Day is a globalised effort to turn the eyes of the public onto their water sources. The goal, to halt the alarming decline of Atlantic salmon populations in rivers across the United Kingdom, is being worked towards by the Missing Salmon Alliance’s determined five-member organisations; the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Angling Trust, Fisheries Management Scotland and The Rivers Trust. It is only by bringing together the expertise, coordinating activities and offering impactful management solutions that we can do what is right for this iconic species.
With wild Atlantic Salmon’s population trends pointing to extinction in a quarter decade, the Alliance’s newly formed partnership with Smithsonian has derived even greater importance. Over the last few months, the two organisations have come together as part of a new initiative that will draw the eyes of the public, just like World Rivers Day, to their local waterways via art and multi-media initiatives.
One fundamental aspect to this internationalised approach to conservation, and tackling environmental issues, comes from the Smithsonian’s Citizen Science scheme. Its focus on putting the task of studying the world around us in the hands of local communities has been an exciting aspect of work with Willie Yeomans and the Clyde River Foundation. Their drive to engage 26 primary schools along the Clyde river will see children getting their hands on local riverine wildlife, collecting eDNA samples, and compiling their findings with different Citizen-Science projects across the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards.
As such, September shows us what cooperation can achieve on a global level when we want to move the spotlight of conversation. World Rivers Day continues an ongoing movement of cherishing the world’s freshwater sources whilst the work of the Missing Salmon Alliance, in partnership with the Smithsonian, ensures that raising awareness does not stop at turning heads, but also makes a marked difference to a cause we, and all the organisations we work with, care so deeply about.