Elk River Alliance gets watershed monitoring funds
According to a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy media release issued this morning, a new economic recovery investment program from the province will create 750 jobs to restore watersheds and wetlands throughout the province, including in the East Kootenay.
Through StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, $27 million has been dedicated to about 70 watershed and wetland initiatives to ensure B.C.’s water stays healthy and resilient in a changing climate.
“Investing in watersheds is vital to the continued health of our land and rivers by ensuring our soil is protected and that our fish populations remain healthy,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Through Nation-to-Nation consultation, we’re moving forward together on watershed rehabilitation and protection initiatives across the province that support people and build a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
Scheduled for completion by December 2021, the projects will take place in or near rural, urban and Indigenous communities hit hard by COVID-19.
The projects include:
* supporting the recovery of healthy and abundant fish stocks by restoring spawning and rearing habitats and improving fish passage in critical areas;
* strengthening natural carbon sinks by restoring wetlands throughout the province;
* restoring watersheds to improve the ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change; and
* providing natural flood management and prevention by restoring riparian areas and stabilizing riverbanks.
The projects were identified by Watersheds BC in collaboration with partners throughout the province. Many projects are either being led by or implemented in partnership with Indigenous communities.
Locally, the Elk River Alliance is receiving $28,400 for its Elk River Watershed community-based monitoring.
The tributaries of the Elk River provide important habitat for wildlife and fish, including the west slope cutthroat trout, which draws anglers to the region every year. The Elk River Alliance’s community-based watershed monitoring initiative focuses on volunteers collecting samples and data from key Elk River tributaries to identify trends in ecosystem health. Volunteers will also assist with community outreach to promote the importance of healthy watersheds.
Living Lakes Canada is getting $1 million for community-based water monitoring and restoration in the Columbia Basin.
The Columbia Basin is an essential part of life for people living in southeastern B.C., but a changing climate is having an impact on the region’s lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, groundwater and glaciers. Living Lakes Canada will train 25 people to professionally monitor and collect data for water deficit areas of the Columbia Basin. The data will provide a better understanding of diminished water resources, droughts and flood events to help communities make decisions about water resources and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
And the Golden District Rod and Gun Club is getting $500,000 for Blaeberry-Columbia River confluence restoration work.
To deliver the funding and manage the projects, the province has partnered with the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) to create the Healthy Watersheds Initiative. REFBC is a philanthropic organization working to support land use and real estate practices that contribute to thriving, resilient communities and natural environments.
“Through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the economic, ecological, cultural and community benefits that come from investing in B.C.’s watersheds,” said Mark Gifford, CEO, REFBC. “For decades, the foundation has supported research, conservation and education on freshwater health. This investment builds on this commitment, providing critical support for a green and blue economic recovery.”
e-KNOW file photo