Manitoulin Streams wins national award

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Streams will be receiving another prestigious national award, after having been chosen for a National Recreational Fisheries Award from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“Just the fact that we will be accepting this type of national award is something we are pretty excited about,” Seija Deschenes, Manitoulin Streams coordinator, said last week. “This is something we can add to the Manitoulin Streams resume, and is good for the Island.”

Ms. Deschenes explained Manitoulin Streams had received a letter from the minister of Fisheries and Oceans, which stated, “Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) developed the National Recreational Fisheries Award program to honour individuals and organizations for their contribution to the conservation, restoration and enhancement of Canada’s recreational fisheries and their habitat. These individuals and organizations have played, and continue to play, a very important role in sustaining and developing the recreational fishing experience throughout Canada.”

“The award formally acknowledges across Canada, all the great work and effort undertaken over the past 11 years by Manitoulin Streams, our community stewardship volunteers and our associated partner/agency organizations,” said Ms. Deschenes. This award, “attests to our successes in developing a strategic plan for garnering Environmental Assessment (EA) approvals on a landscape wide basis, planning and undertaking of these efforts; restoring and enhancing aquatic ecosystems thereby increasing fishing opportunities for our recreational tourism industry; public outreach efforts that educate the public and getting the greater community involved; attaining the respect and trust from our community and private landowners; acknowledging the value of our efforts to the environment and socio-economic well being of this natural resource dependant rural community.”

“But most of all, the work of Manitoulin Streams serves as an excellent example of what a community of people can accomplish when they set out to do so,” said Ms. Deschenes. “Manitoulin has shown that our common sense approaches to tackling major water issues works. We would like to thank all those involved and to all those who have supported furthering our “Manitoulin Streams” cause over these past 11 years.”

“These successes would not have come to fruition without the support of the communities on Manitoulin Island,” continued Ms. Deschenes. “Volunteerism is a key component to our success and our sustainability moving forward in a positive manner.”

Ms. Deschenes pointed out, “this award and the other major ones we have received, such as the bi-national State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Mary Pickford Conservation Club of the Year, will now give our organization much more credibility, which will help us to better secure funding and support; factors which are key to our continued success, especially in these more financially compromised times.”

“At this point I don’t know when we will be receiving this award, I understand they are planning to visit the area to make the presentation,” said Ms. Deschenes.

Ms. Deschenes further pointed out, “in addition to this wonderful news, one of our board of directors Paul Moffat, is going to be receiving an Ontario Volunteer Service Award from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for all of his work over a 10-year period with Manitoulin Streams, the Lake Manitou Area Association, the Manitoulin Are Stewardship Council and his voluntary community related work for the Assiginack Council. Paul has been a key component in the success of Manitoulin Streams and we are proud to have him on our board of directors.”

In a letter to Manitoulin Streams, dated May 1, 2012, Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans states, “I am pleased to inform you that the Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association has been selected to receive one of Canada’s Recreational Fisheries Awards for the year 2012. This award recognizes the Association’s outstanding contribution to promoting the interests of recreational fishing in Ontario and the superb example you have set for others working to improve recreational fisheries.”

“The Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association is being recognized for its role as a leading-edge stream rehabilitation organization,” said Mr. Ashfield. “This work of your group to rehabilitate and enhance important cold water streams has created healthy and self-sustaining river ecosystems that contribute to the ecological, economic and social health of Manitoulin Island and surrounding Great Lakes areas.”