“NALT uses the tools of land trusts to promote and protect the natural values of land in the Nanaimo area,” says Paul Chapman, Acting Executive Director
Note to Reader:
The Nanaimo River Watershed is a principal focus of the Nanaimo Area & Land Trust (NALT), a not-for-profit society that was created two decades ago to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of the human and natural environment in the Nanaimo region.
The Nanaimo River Watershed originates from the Island Range on central Vancouver Island, consisting of over a dozen major tributaries and four major lakes. From the headwaters to the estuary it encompasses 95,000 hectares with a main stem river channel of 56 kilometres.
NALT shares its structural capacity to assist local stream stewardship groups to carry out their activities. In 2011, NALT was the catalyst for bringing together a group of stakeholders to create the Nanaimo River Watershed Roundtable.
Nanaimo River Watershed Roundtable
Through the years, many diverse groups and agencies have been working for the betterment of the Nanaimo River Watershed.
“In response to community concerns, the NALT Board passed motions that led to the creation of The Nanaimo River Watershed Baseline Report and the Nanaimo River Strategies Symposium, a meeting of many stakeholders with interests in the watershed,” reports Paul Chapman, Acting Executive Director.
“Stakeholders who participated in the Symposium included representatives of community groups, non-governmental agencies, industry, individuals and local, regional, provincial and federal government representatives.
“From the September 2011 Symposium, a Working Group was formed. This led directly to formation of an Organizational Structure Committee in January 2012. The Committee then developed Terms of Reference for a consensus-based watershed group representing community groups, property owners, industry, user groups, government agencies, and non-government organizations.
“A key benefit of the Roundtable is the ability to foster and facilitate multi-stakeholder communication. This leads to the sharing of information, supporting each others initiatives, and at times joint projects.
“Through the Roundtable, a group of stakeholders in the watershed who in the past might not have convened at the same table, have been able to gather and share information and where appropriate resources for the stewardship of the watershed and all the values, environmental, social and economic it supports. Our common thread is stewardship. All the constituent members of the Roundtable are partners, no first among equals,” concludes Paul Chapman.
About the Watershed
The Nanaimo River Watershed area contains Cedar, Duke Point, Extension, South Wellington, and portions of Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Areas A and C.
The Nanaimo River originates from Mount Hooper and flows 78 km to its mouth at the Nanaimo River Estuary, which is located at the south end of the Nanaimo Harbour. Over its course the Nanaimo River and its tributaries drain an area of approximately 813 square km.
The major tributaries of the Nanaimo River are North Nanaimo River, South Nanaimo River, and Haslam Creek. The watershed includes two natural lakes (First and Second Nanaimo Lakes) and 3 man made lakes. The 2 natural lakes are both located on the North Nanaimo River.
Three man made structures, including the Jump Creek Dam, the South Fork Dam, and the Fourth Lake Dam, create the three large man made lakes. Jump Creek and South Fork dams are on the South Nanaimo River.
The City of Nanaimo operates these two dams to supply water to the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the City of Nanaimo’s residents, and the South West Extension Improvement District. The Fourth Lake Dam and reservoir is located on Sadie Creek in the upper reaches of the North Nanaimo River catchment, and is operated by Harmac Pacific (Harmac).
The upper watershed is mainly unpopulated forestry land. The southern portion of the watershed is primarily rural with areas of agriculture, urbanization and industrial activity.