“The ultimate objective of the workshop is to support fish populations – good habitat is a key element and sustainable watersheds are part of the big picture,” states Glen Parker. "Public awareness and support is essential to achieving this objective. So we need to draw community attention to the tangible things that all residents can do to support sustainable watersheds. Their cumulative beneficial actions will lead to good habitat and fish will thrive, if given a chance. We cannot overlook the political nature of decisions in our communities. The workshop, kicked off by political representatives, helps reinforce the belief with our leaders that watersheds matter. Also, though much of the drainage system is hidden, it does matter; and resources need to be directed to the system and to restoration of watershed health.”
“In community drinking watersheds, logging is accelerated as harvest rotations shorten. The reduced ability of forests to capture winter rain and slow snowmelt leads to increased spring runoff, resulting in more flooding and source drinking water quality issues,” states Tim Ennis. “If the long-term value of forest ecosystem services was taken into account when community development is planned, more forested areas would be retained to capture rainwater. The pressure on drainage conveyance systems would then be reduced, natural streamflow patterns would be maintained, and water quality would be protected. The canopy of a mature douglas fir tree intercepts and transpires over 30% of winter rainfall most of the rest through infiltration. Removing trees to facilitate urban development is going to load up our stormwater systems, lead to increase flooding and sedimentation in streams."
Salmon enhancement stewardship groups were formed in the 1990s as a response to the Coho salmon crisis. These groups asked questions of their local governments about the linkages between small stream salmon demise and land developments, and this resulted in research and early action. More than two decades later, most community-based groups still exist, providing thousands of volunteer hours to restore aquatic habitats. Now, the scope of their involvement and influence is expanding beyond the creek channel. “The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”
“The editor of Australia’s most respected economic and business newspaper, the Financial Review, has questioned the wisdom of the arguments for sole reliance on large scale centralised water infrastructure, in particular desalination. This process motivated an article about competition across scales. This has resulted in a range of actions, including collaboration with our key federal regulator and discussions with a range of government leaders", wrote Peter Coombes. "The economic efficiency of Australia’s centralised water utilities is rapidly declining – and consumers are paying for it. The political drivers of this market failure are as much to blame as the economic drivers. State bureaucracies own the water monopolies, oversee the regulators, recommend executive appointments and decide membership of consultant panels."
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