Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Riverkeeper announced today that Meredith Brown will be leaving her full-time position as the Riverkeeper at the end of this year. Still dedicated to the vision of the organization, Brown will continue to stay involved as a member of the Board of Directors.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead Ottawa Riverkeeper for the last fifteen years, and I want to thank all of the generous volunteers, donors, community leaders and experts throughout the watershed who have helped and supported me in my position over the years. I am extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together,” said Ms. Brown.

Chair of the Board, Geoff Green, who has worked closely with Brown for over a decade says “The Directors and I feel privileged to have worked with such a dedicated leader and we want to thank Meredith for her tireless and inspired work over the past 15 years. We are deeply grateful for her immeasurable contribution to Ottawa Riverkeeper’s growth and success to-date and we are confident that she has positioned our organization solidly as a leader in the protection and restoration of the Ottawa River Watershed.”

Ottawa Riverkeeper was founded in 2001 and a volunteer board of directors went to work securing charitable status for the organization and becoming a licensed member of Waterkeeper Alliance. The first two partners of the organization, The Ontario Trillium Foundation and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) were instrumental early supporters of the organization, and the board of directors hired Meredith Brown in 2004 who became the Riverkeeper and founding Executive Director for the organization.

In the early days Meredith shared an office with MEC store manager Colleen Mooney, setting out to learn everything she could about the Ottawa River and the people living and doing business within its large watershed boundaries. It didn’t take Brown long to bring in new funding, hire staff and find new office space to support the growing organization.

“During my time at Riverkeeper the organization has grown from one staff (me) to a solid team of 10 staff and hundreds of amazing volunteers. Our two original partners are still with us 15 years later and we now have a long and remarkable list of partners and donors that continue to support our vision of swimmable, drinkable, fishable water,” said Brown.

Over the years, Ottawa Riverkeeper has become one of the strongest Waterkeeper Organizations in the movement. “Our biggest strength is our people,” says Brown. “The best way to protect a river the size of the Ottawa is to develop a very large, very dedicated river constituency – people who are willing to take action to restore the river, willing to stand up to protect their local river, lake or creek.”

“This is exciting times for Ottawa Riverkeeper and for our river,” said Geoff Green. “Our organization and networks are growing and our future is bright. The desire to protect and restore our river is remarkable and very encouraging.”

“Leadership change is healthy for any organization,” said Brown. “Our organization has never been stronger. Our extraordinary board of directors is fully engaged, experienced and influential. The staff are deeply committed to our mission and our Executive Director, Patrick Nadeau who has been leading the team for almost three years, brings an impressive mix of skills, experience and dedication to the organization. We continue to attract excellent partners and project opportunities to Ottawa Riverkeeper,” said Brown.

A search for the next Riverkeeper has begun and Meredith will stay at Ottawa Riverkeeper until a replacement is hired to ensure a smooth transition. We hope the public will join us at our Annual Public Meeting on October 24th at the Canadian Museum of Nature to hear your Riverkeeper speak and learn more about our work, including our efforts to establish an Ottawa River Watershed Council with dedicated funding for collaborative projects. Additionally, we invite people to join us November 28th to honour and celebrate Meredith (more details to come).

About Ottawa Riverkeeper
Ottawa Riverkeeper works to protect your rights to swim, drink and fish the Ottawa River and its tributaries. We work collaboratively using science to guide our actions. Ottawa Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition of grassroots water protection organizations headed by renowned conservationist Robert Kennedy Jr. There are over 300 Waterkeeper organizations working around the world to defend their local river, lake or bay.

Submitted by Ottawa Riverkeeper