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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Shine a spotlight on local rivers

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People who are passionate about rivers in our region are urged to get involved in a new not-for-profit initiative designed to clearly shine the spotlight on local rivers around Australia.

The Rivers Matter initiative has been created by the Aussie not-for-profit group, the International RiverFoundation.

People in the northern rivers are being asked to photograph their favourite spot on a local river (with or without them in the photo) in the run-up to World Rivers Day on Sunday September 30. The Australian campaign will feature a big wall of photos on the internet of local people who care for local rivers. Millions will celebrate across the globe.

International RiverFoundation CEO Matt Reddy says it is vital people help protect local rivers because rivers need champions. Thirty-one per cent of Australia’s rivers have now been damaged in some way.

The search is on for river heroes and river champions and people in the northern rivers who are passionate about rivers are being urged to take part.

The Rivers Matter initiative has been created specifically to salute people in the northern rivers who love rivers in some way. The purpose of the initiative is to shine a spotlight on local rivers across Australia.

A range of top celebrities is behind the river initiative include funny man and TV star Wil Anderson, marathon swimmer Tammy van Wisse, Comedy Company star and actor Mark Mitchell, best selling author Di Morrissey and musician Ami Williamson .

International RiverFoundation CEO Matt Reddy said, ‘Rivers matter for so many reasons. Our message to people in the northern rivers is that we must protect our precious rivers. Rivers provide tourism, jobs, recreation, food, help with agriculture and have so many more benefits.’

As part of the Rivers Matter initiative, people in the northern rivers who care for a local river are being asked to send a photo of their favourite river spot to the Rivers Matter campaign. A huge wall of photos will then be built on the internet of people who care for Aussie rivers, to get the message home that we all need to do more. Send your pictures by email to [email protected].

Matt Reddy said, ‘Some rivers have sadly been used as sewers, drains and dumping grounds. It is estimated – which is very alarming – 100 per cent of Australia’s urban rivers have suffered some type of damage. Figures show 31 per cent of Australian rivers have suffered damage in some way.’

Sixty countries across the globe will take part in World Rivers Day.

Matt Reddy added, ‘In the run-up to World Rivers Day on Sunday September 30, we are asking people to reconnect to their local river. We are asking people in the northern rivers to consider stopping and holding any kind of fun function by a river spot. It might be a fundraiser for rivers or it might be a barbeque. It might be a kids’ event or something for the local school. To get ideas on how to celebrate World Rivers Day, go to www.riverfoundation.org.au.’

Photos should feature either your favourite river spot or be a picture of you doing an activity at your favourite river spot. Send your pictures by email to [email protected].

Photos will be displayed on www.riverfoundation.org.au. A small judging panel will also choose some winning photos with some great prizes to be won including a luxury weekend for two at the Barossa Valley from anywhere in Australia. Runners-up will receive either a selection of premium Barossa wine or digital microscopes for their school. Packs of Di Morrissey books can also be won.

Matt Reddy said, ‘Many of our top sportspeople have trained on Australian rivers including the Oarsome Foursome and gold-medal kayakers. So many species of wildlife cannot live without healthy rivers. Millions of people enjoy fishing, boating and the great outdoors.’

‘We are seeing riverbanks being eroded. That’s taking prime farmland. Less than 10 per cent of the iconic Murray Cod species are even left. The reality is rivers are the refuges of so many precious Aussie native species. Pollution actively damages rivers. That then damages our economy. If the price of water rises, then so does electricity and then food and then milk. They are all linked in the eco chain.’

Professor Gary Jones – chairman of the International RiverFoundation – said, ‘The science is telling us constantly we can improve our waterway health and therefore the health of our bays. We’ve clearly got the skills and know how to revive our rivers. It’s up to us to work together.’

The International RiverFoundation wants to feature every river in Australia on World Rivers Day. Globally millions of people will be joining in the celebrations including people in the USA, India, Canada, the UK and more.


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