by Brent Eades

O'Malley and Cousteau approaching the wetlands.
O’Malley and Cousteau approaching the wetlands.

This past September Alexandra Cousteau was in town with a multinational film crew to shoot segments of an upcoming documentary that will feature our own Mississippi River.

Alexandra is the granddaughter of the renowned oceanographer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau. She heads the Washington-based Blue Legacy foundation, which is “dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet.”

Today she published a piece on the Huffington Post website — one of the world’s most popular news destinations, with over 65,000,000 visitors a month — describing what she saw and filmed while kayaking through the Appleton wetlands with RiverWatcher Mike O’Malley. Cousteau said:

Mike, along with many others in his community of Almonte, Ontario believe that Enerdu Power System’s dam is the culprit for the ecological destruction I see before us.

 

Mike gestures to the landscape, which he has seen transformed from a lush and green canopy to a leafless skeleton of a forest in the span of nine years. As we glide along the river, the duck grass that floats at the surface of the water sounds like sand beneath my kayak.

 

Mike’s next words deeply resonate with me. I’ve heard them uttered over the years of water advocacy at Blue Legacy from the mouths of countless citizens and friends who have taken up the fight for their waterways; who give their rivers a voice; who ensure that governments are held accountable for environmental protection laws and that enforcement is upheld; who do what’s right when those around them do not.

 

Even in its denuded state, Mike sees a stretch of wilderness that is poised to take back what it has lost. And he’s there to give it all the help he can muster: “This is accessible wilderness and it’s worth fighting for.”

This is yet another reminder that our community is not done with its fight against Enerdu and its unacceptable plans for our riverfont.