The Watershed Guardians of the Fraser River

68 min. Green Planet Films. Schools $89. Public libraries $39. UPC 610074032502.
Gr 9 Up—Environmentalists, a geologist, First Nations people, an artist, a toxicologist, and a cadre of volunteers and wilderness enthusiasts weigh in on the plight of the Fraser River in British Columbia. Industries and runoff from farms along the river have contributed to pollution. Loss of connecting waterways and tributaries due to diking has harmed delicate ecosystems along the river and increased algae growth. As a result, the practice has made the shoreline vulnerable to flooding during storm surges. Water has also been diverted away from small farms that are now forced to purchase city water, making them less sustainable. Additionally, the area is a major stopover for migrating birds and home of the largest commercial fishing port in Canada—birds and salmon are at risk. The film succeeds in presenting opinions on both sides—those who prize economic development over ecological protection and vice versa, though most opinions line up on the side of enacting stricter regulations for dumping industrial waste and for pursuing sustainable practices. Viewers will learn how urbanization has had an impact on waterways and its unintended consequences. The film is so specific in scope, however, that it may have less impact on American viewers who may not naturally draw parallels between the Fraser River and endangered American rivers.
VERDICT For students studying the environment, though a more general selection that includes information on American rivers might be a better choice.

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