Category:

Protecting Quality and Ecology

SHELLY CREEK ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “This is a story about how a local group of streamkeepers has morphed from a focus on salmon and trout habitat restoration, to advocates for ecosystem monitoring of watershed functions… the Whole System Approach,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, in a session on ‘Watershed Health and You’ at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (watch on YouTube)


“Since 2010, Our volunteers have embraced the idea of monitoring aquatic ecosystems and habitats in our watershed, often times partnering with agencies, local governments or private landowners to identify the status of certain indicators. We called the program ‘Watershed Health and You’,” stated Peter Law. “We are engaging our neighbours who live in the watershed, to discuss how the community can help restore Shelly Creek. The legacy of Faye Smith, and her mantra of engaging the community continues.”

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INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: “I like to say to people that after 100 years of research, we know a lot about salmon, but what we need to know most, we mostly don’t know,” stated Dr. Richard Beamish, Scientist Emeritus with the Pacific Biological Research Station in Nanaimo


In 2012, Dick Beamish proposed the International Year of the Salmon to promote research on how ocean conditions are contributing to changes. IYS has now grown into an effort to ensure the “resilience of both salmon and people” in a changing climate. In embarking on this journey, British Columbians can learn from historical precedents and parallels. In particular, the “salmon crisis” in the 1990s was a game-changer in the way it was the catalyst for green infrastructure practices. A generation later, will lightning strike twice and will the iconic salmon again be the regulatory driver that spurs communities to raise the bar to “improve where we live”?

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ROADS TRUMP RIVERS IN AUSTRALIA: “The question is: can we not reorient the infrastructure model to protection and restoration of waterways? We need to turn urban streams back into functioning ecosystems,” wrote Bruce Lindsay, Environmental Justice Australia


“Freeways and waterways are not incompatible. But the legal privilege and financing of infrastructure is a question of priorities and perspectives and, for the sake of healthy communities and places, we need to give far greater priority to the city’s green infrastructure. The model of infrastructure laws and funding for freeways can potentially provide a model for protection, repair and restoration of urban waterways,” says Bruce Lindsay. “If it is necessary to acquire land along waterways, drive innovation in building and engineering standards, and use public finance to enable a restoration economy, then we should do it.”

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Governments of Canada and British Columbia announce ‘B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund’: “Wild salmon are deeply woven into B.C.’s cultural, social and economic fabric,” stated Premier John Horgan (March 2019)


“When it comes to our wild salmon stocks, there is no better indicator of the challenges we face than rising water temperatures, low snow pack, rivers that aren’t full with enough water to sustain our salmon, and that’s where we need to intervene,” said Premier John Horgan. “The salmon don’t know boundaries. The orca don’t know boundaries. They don’t know jurisdictions, one order of government over another. All they know is that humans have been interfering in their life cycles and it’s time for humans to get in the game and make a better choice and better decisions and help the salmon survive.”

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IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: “Engagement of community through stewardship is a credible formula to be encouraged and mainstreamed at every opportunity,” states Eric Bonham – as a Director in the B.C. Ministry of Environment in the 1990s, Eric oversaw the highly successful Urban Salmon Habitat Program


“Stewardship operates under a different dynamic than the private sector or government. Stewards are drawn together for a common cause, like-minded individuals with a vision for the greater good,” states Eric Bonham. “This purpose is not to be found in the policy manuals of government, nor in regulations or legislation. Rather, it is built upon an enthusiastic personal commitment and passion by a band of individuals to make a difference. Financial gain is not a factor, nor is fame, and hard work is not grudged.”

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WATERSHED HEALTH AND YOU: At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Gilles Wendling elaborates on “Groundwater & Surface Water Interaction in the Englishman River Watershed: One Water – Always Moving”


Because he looked at groundwater differently in the Englishman River, Dr. Gilles Wendling has advanced the science and he has developed a practical application of water balance thinking. His contributions to science-based understanding extend beyond the technical and into the communication and education realm. His work provides a bridge between rainfall and stream health.

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ENGLISHMAN RIVER WATER SERVICE: At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Vaughan Figueira elaborates on “A Balancing Act – Regional Bulk Water Supply Needs & Environmental Flow Requirements to Sustain Aquatic Resources”


“The location of a new water intake site is a major piece of the water supply puzzle. The location is of interest to many in our community and First Nations have a traditional link to the river,” states Vaughan Figueira. “Using a sustainable approach weighing environmental, financial and social factors and in consultation with Department of Fisheries and Oceans, health authorities, provincial fisheries and regulators, the best location for a river intake is just above Highway 19.”

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CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION, PROTECTING BC HABITAT: “The search was on for ways to make a bigger impact. This led to North Shore Streamkeepers asking DFO for ‘high value targets’ for enhancement. Mosquito Creek was identified as one of the best opportunities on the North Shore,” wrote Barbara Frisken and Glen Parker


Stewardship operates under a different dynamic than the private sector or government. Stewards are drawn together for a common cause, like-minded individuals with a vision for the greater good. “As members of North Shore Streamkeepers (NSSK), we are proud to be part of a province-wide network of stewardship groups and pleased to have the opportunity to share some of our stories,” stated Barbara Frisken.

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CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION, PROTECTING BC HABITAT: “Collaboration taps into the passion and ingenuity of volunteers who are driven by commitment,” wrote Eric Bonham in an opinion piece (published in the Vancouver Province, February 2019)


“Throughout British Columbia, an amazing network of volunteer groups is working to protect, restore and enhance local streams,” states Eric Bonham. “Teamwork for the common good is a powerful and often transformative experience, particularly when a longer term vision for a local creekshed engages multiple interests, disciplines and local government. Today, the scope of involvement and influence of stream stewards is expanding beyond the creek channel. What happens on the land matters to streams.”

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KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “Restoration will have tremendous cultural, environmental, social, and economic benefits, and the community has shown a high level of enthusiasm over the future vision for this site,” stated David Allen, CAO, City of Courtenay


A historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations has taken place in the Comox Valley. A First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit signed a MOU to purchase, restore and manage a key property in the heart of their community. “Working collaboratively with Project Watershed and K’ómoks First Nation has been an essential component of this project. As we move forward through the formal agreement process we look forward to building on this strong relationship with our partners,” stated David Allen.

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