Gulf of Maine Visionary Award

Saint John Receives International Recognition For the Completion of Harbour Cleanup  

Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The Greater Saint John Community, represented by leading regional environmental group ACAP Saint John, has received the 2015 Gulf of Maine Council Visionary Award for completing a once-in-a-lifetime transformative project - the Saint John Harbour Cleanup. The Visionary Award recognizes groups and individuals who have shown "innovation, creativity, and commitment to protecting marine environments" (Gulf of Maine Council). 

Saint John Harbour Cleanup has been a great success. Through the 1990s an astonishing 23,000,000 L/day of untreated wastewater was discharged into the harbour's waterways. In 2010, the rate had been reduced to 16,000,000 L/day of untreated sewage. In late 2014, the Saint John Harbour Cleanup achieved a reduction of untreated wastewater discharge down to an incredible 0 L/day. Saint John's completion of Harbour Cleanup is both the largest single environmental infrastructure action ever undertaken in New Brunswick and the greatest positive ecological change in Saint John history.

This time last year, there wasn’t a single person alive who could tell you what it was like to experience Saint John Harbour or Marsh Creek without the constant, never-ending discharge of raw sewage. Yet here we are, in 2015, witness to the first generation of Saint John residents who will be born and raised in a city that truly cares for its water, its harbour and its environment.
— Graeme Stewart-Robertson, Executive Director, ACAP Saint John

About the Gulf of Maine Council

Founded in 1989 by the governors and premiers of five jurisdictions – Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia – established the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment [the Council]. This Canadian-American regional partnership provides collaborative leadership on cross-border, environmental issues such as ecosystem conditions, water quality, and climate change within the Gulf of Maine watershed. Link

The Council annually recognizes extraordinary work in each of its five jurisdictions. The Council engages governmental and nongovernmental representatives in a comprehensive approach to management, emphasizing natural linkages over political boundaries and integrating ecological, economic and societal goals. 

This month, ACAP Saint John's director, Graeme Stewart-Robertson, travelled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to accept this award on behalf of the Greater Saint John Community.  His acceptance speech noted the deep professional and personal significance this environmental project has had in the lives of so many in our community.