Episode 6: Jennifer Houghton & Stan Swinarchuk in Grand Forks

"We got to get together. We can’t do this on our own. And if we don't do anything within the next five to 10 years, we are in trouble. Big trouble."

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This week, Danielle meets with Jennifer Houghton and Stan Swinarchuk to discuss the spring floods that have recently devastated Grand Forks, BC. While many blame climate change, some residents and experts believe clear-cut logging also plays a significant role in the flooding events, and are taking a stand to help re-shape their forest policy to foster ecological resilience and renewal.

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Danielle | 0:00

I'm Danielle Paydli and this is the Freshwater Stream, a podcast about BC’s watersheds and the people who care about them.

I am meeting today with Jennifer Houghton, who works on forestry reform issues. 

Jennifer | 0:15

We want local people to be able to make decisions about forest management in our watershed. The land belongs to the people. It doesn't belong to the corporations and the corporations are the ones that are benefiting and the people are paying the price.

Danielle | 0:30

As well as with Registered Professional Faller and self-identified old-time logger, Stan Swinarchuk.

Stan | 0:36

The government has no control over it, right? Because it's all money. But pretty soon, money ain't going to mean nothing when you don't got no water.

Danielle | 0:48

In 2018, the Kettle River overflowed its banks and flooded the town of Grand Forks, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses.. and took a huge personal toll on many in this community.

Stan | 1:03

That night, that it flooded. There was a spike. There was a hydrologist guy across, or an engineer, I think, across the river from Jennifer. They were looking at the river. And he said, “Is this river going to spike about three feet?” Well, the river did spike that night at one o'clock in the morning and went up five and a half feet in a mere few hours.

Jennifer | 1:30

Yeah, so the day when the water started to rise, I was staying at a friend's house and I kept going back down to my house and checking to see how things were going. 

And throughout that day, hour after hour, I was, I was happy because the sandbags were holding back the water. I had some pumps ready. And I went down at 9pm. And everything was fine. There was maybe, maybe a foot of water around my house. I came back at 1am. And I was standing in thigh-high water in the dark. It was freezing cold. And I was trying to get the pumps running. I was trying to get them going because it looked like it was starting to seep in through the sandbags. And all of a sudden, and just all of a sudden as I was standing there, the water breached the sandbags. And I was crying and I'm out there by myself in the freezing cold, thigh water trying to get pumps going. And I just realized this is futile. And I had to give in and give up.

Danielle | 2:28

Jennifer, Stan, thank you so much for joining me today. What you’ve described sounds like such a truly awful experience and I’m sorry you had to go through that night and everything that has come since. 

Jennifer, maybe you can start off and tell me a bit more about yourself and what it's been like for you and Stan, feel free to jump in here as well. 

Jennifer | 2:48

Well, I moved to Grand Forks in 2016. And then in May of 2017, my house flooded, along with a few dozen other homes and ranches and farms, that year. I had a foot and a half of water in my house that spring. And there never been that much flooding on that property before. And then in winter of 2018, I spent all of 2017 recovering from that flood, repairing my house, trying to figure out how the heck to deal with it. And so winter of 2018 I was watching the snowpack levels, I was watching the historical river levels, and I noticed that the river levels were creeping way up. 

So I went to the city of Grand Forks and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and I said, “Hey guys, looks like we're gonna flood.”

There wasn't much of a reaction from the local government. So I went and I sandbagged my house in April of 2018. I put a three-foot wall of sandbags around my house and then the catastrophic flood of 2018 put four feet of water in my house that year, and 400 other homes were impacted along with dozens of businesses in Grand Forks along with ranches and farms. It was done by the provincial government, as a matter of fact, the most catastrophic flood that BC had ever experienced. 

And so what was happening for me in the days following the flood is I saw the shock and devastation impacting all of the people around in Grand Forks and I decided to film a documentary about the experience. 

So I did a lot of film footage in the early days right after the flood people going into their homes as they were moulding and senior citizens and elderly people trying to figure out how the heck they were supposed to clean all this up on their own and the local governments struggling to figure out how to deal with this. And one of the things I realized in the course of filming the documentary was, well what caused this flood? This sort of thing hasn't happened to this extent before, you know, people had a little bit of puddling in their yards before. We're in a floodplain, okay, fair enough. 

But when sump pumps can manage a little bit of basement water versus six to eight feet of water in everybody's homes, you know, what was the cause? 

And so I started talking to some people who directed me to speak with  Herb Hammond, whos a forest ecologist who lives in the Kootenays. So I went and talked to him, he showed me aerial photos of the clear-cutting in our watershed and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it, you know, you don't see that from the highways. 

So that's how I became involved in the forestry in the flooding issues and I found out a lot about our watershed, I connected with Stan as well. I learned a lot from Stan.

Stan | 5:26

I moved to Grand Forks, into this watershed in 1960. And in 61, I started logging.

I was just a kid and through summer holidays, right because I happen to live with a foster home that, the guy was a logging outfit. So, during the summertime, I had to pay my own way. He said, so he got me working in the bush at the age of, I think I just turned 13. So I've been basically in the forest since then. And mostly here to basically all over the interior of BC. I've never done too much coast logging anyway. 

So being here that long, I know the watershed very well. It's 10,000 square kilometres of watershed. And there are 17,000 kilometres of logging roads, I mean gravel logging roads, not pavement or anything. 

We roughly have about 250,000 culverts in this watershed and roughly about 800 to 900 bridges in the watershed. When I was logging, we did selective logging, and I became a pole or after I bailed out of school couldn't handle that no more. I became a faller and logger and I've been there ever since. And I raised a family here in Grand Forks on logging and I was a hand faller all my life, eh?

Jennifer | 7:02 

Our watershed is.. the biggest rivers are the Granby River and the Kettle River. There's also the West Kettle and our watershed, like Stan said it's 10,000 square kilometres, there's 8,000 square kilometres of it on the Canadian side, and it's sparsely populated. There's only approximately 12,000 people living in our watershed. Most of them are concentrated around the border of the US with Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Midway, Rock Creek, and Greenwood. 

And there's not too many people living in the massive expanse of our watershed. It's mountainous, it's a mountainous watershed. We've got lots of different bio-geo climatic zones, there's the dry Ponderosa pine areas and grasslands. There's also high elevation Engelmann spruce, there's some rare Whitebark pine at high elevations as well. And then we've got some really beautiful old growth cedar hemlock zones. So it's a lot of diversity. In our watershed, I've discovered that close to 200 plants and animals are red or blue listed. So much is in danger right now. And so much has been clear cut there's maps on our website. 

So our website is for the Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society, which I helped found along with Stan and a number of other people in our watershed who are concerned about the amount of clear-cut forestry. Industrial clear-cut forestry in our watershed that is connected with the flooding. I mean, it seems like common sense if you remove the majority of vegetation from the hills in the mountains, what's going to hold the water in? 

There's maps on our website at boundaryforest.org that showed the extent of the clear-cutting, and it's huge, the massive amount of clear-cutting that's happened in our watershed over the past 50 years. 

In fact, most of our watershed is 50 years old or younger, because of the amount of clear-cutting that's happened here. It's no wonder that the flooding has been so massive.

Danielle | 9:03

One of the things that you said that was like resonating with me was when you were talking about your community and all of the different members of the community and how this impacted them. Do you feel like there's some real lasting impacts on the community due to this massive flood?

Jennifer | 9:20

Absolutely. So I crunched some numbers, some government numbers, some local numbers that local organization put together. The Grand Forks flood has cost at least $165 million, both in lost revenues in costs from the government and costs from the Red Cross, for example, in recovery costs, rebuilding costs, there's a $54 million flood infrastructure project that's undergoing and people have lost their homes like my home, for example, has been expropriated. So the local government decided to build new flood infrastructure. That's that $54 million project. And in the process of that new flood infrastructure, they've decided to remove over 100 homes, including mine, so we got expropriated, and that might sound good.

It might sound like, “Oh, well, yeah, like you don't want to live there if there's continuous flooding.” 

But they were only offering post-flood value. So pennies on the dollar for a lot of people. I've heard people saying that they were being offered $40,000 for homes that they had lived in for the past 30 or 40 years. So that's a huge impact. 

And then there was the lasting impact on the businesses downtown. And here's something that, that people in government don't talk about a lot when they talk about the flood and those of us who were flooded, we get together a lot and we sort of cry into our beers together and people tell each other things that people don't want to admit publicly, like we talked about crying ourselves to sleep every night, people experiencing PTSD, people are turning to drinking and drugs to deal with it. Marriages are crumbling. It does have a lasting human impact as well as a financial impact.

Stan | 10:55

Just to add to that, I was talking to a logging friend down there, he says he knows of 10 to 12 old people that just died from the stress of it. They just gave up because there was nothing they could do, you know. And some of those people, they had mortgages, and the banks calling the mortgage, and they're not getting any money. So they still have to pay the mortgage monthly. With no house.

Jennifer | 11:26

Yeah, there's people who lost their homes to the flood. One of the people in the documentary that I found this name is Derek Fillion. He had a trailer that he was living in a neighbourhood of South Ruckle. Was completely demolished, it had to be destroyed. And he still has to pay a mortgage on a house that doesn't exist anymore. And then he had to go and buy a new home in a different location. So the financial impact and the human impact and the emotional impact is enormous. And it doesn't. And a few months after a flood like that, it doesn't go away a year or two later, it carries on throughout the rest of our lives. 

Danielle | 12:05

In 2018, I heard about the floods, of course. But to hear your stories and better understand the deep personal impacts to people, to families, that come from something like this, in a devastated watershed is really powerful.

Stan, you talked a little bit about the impacts of clear-cutting, can you talk a little bit more about how this contributes to the type of flooding that you’ve experienced in Grand Forks?

Stan | 12:32

At this point in time, like today, we are roughly 60 percent clear cut. Our 10,000 square kilometres of land is 60 percent clear cut, no trees on it. So if you take that into account, but it's been, it's been a 50-40 year cycle, that every time that you have a culvert that plugs up and washes the road out, well, that goes into the, the creek down below that, from the smaller creek to the bigger creek and then into the Granby or into the Kettle or the West Kettle, right. And what happens in that case? Then the water fresh it comes in starts to push it behind. And all of a sudden, your river is not as deep as it used to be. And then when you get a moderate flood, it does more damage, because the rocks and the gravel are filling up the river bed itself. So it's got to go sideways, right? And that's what's been happening in the last, those three floods, that's what happened there. 

The snowpack, they were saying massive snowpack. They're all full of bullshit. Because what they're doing, and I'm sure it's the government or the mega-corporations, they’re saying, “Well just go back 10 years, you can see the rise of the snowpack.” And I'm saying, there hasn't been any snow here for 25 to 30 years, almost. Because I know I had to put snowshoes on and fall in that stuff, right? I drive over the Paulson and there's five and a half feet of snow and they they're saying, massive snowpack or 120 percent over or whatever the hell it but it's all not true. They're trying to save the biscuits, is what they're trying to do. And so they're saying it was a massive flood. But it's not true. It's all due to the fact that we're clear-cut logging, and we're not maintaining the roads to begin with. 

And there's no retention in the forest anymore. And all of a sudden, we got islands and small creeks like the Myrtle Creek, Boundary Creek, I mean islands. We got islands in the Kettle River. We got islands in West Kettle. I've never been here all this time. I've never seen islands in the rivers ever. There were never islands 20 years ago, in these rivers. But that's because all that gravel and stuff has built up and made an island, you know. So hence once the riverbed is full, it's got to go sideways people. 

I went to the flood meetings Wednesday night at the high school gymnasium and would speak to these people. 

There was hundreds of people in that gymnasium. As I said, the only options you got is either you move the downtown core and Rocco people to a higher place, or you have to dredge. That's the only two options you got. And all the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, oh, sitting up there. All they did was, you know, standing there with their mouths open, their eyeballs like that. It's, basically, the whole province is out of control. It's manipulated by the mega-corporations and the government can't do a thing. The government has no control over it, right? Because it's all money. But pretty soon, money ain't going to mean nothing when you don't got no water.

Jennifer | 16:23

When we talk about the flooding and grand forests, we have to talk about hydrology, and Stan touched on that a bit. So without the forests up there, what we end up having is a lot of sediment travelling down the mountains, and landing at the bottom of the drainage basin. And the bottom of the drainage basin, in our watershed, is where the, where Grand Forks is the Kettle and the Granby meet. And with all that sediment coming down, a couple of things are happening, like Stan was saying, the bottom of the riverbed becomes higher, and we have islands developing in the riverbed, and also the turbidity of the water increases. 

And that has a negative impact on aquatic life. Fish and aquatic life are struggling because of all that sediment in the water. We also have to talk about snowpack, and like Stan was saying, he's seen a heck of a lot more snow historically in our watershed than what we've seen over recent years. And at the same time, in clear cuts, this is what Pam and has shared with us, is that a clear-cut area, you get 30 to 40% more snowpack than in an intact forest. And that snow in the clear cut melts 30 to 40% faster. So during the peak flows in the spring, we have more snow in the clear cuts coming down a lot faster. 

So we need that tree cover to manage our water forests. Intact primary forests, particularly old growth, manage our water for us. And we also have to talk about climate change because those intact forests also manage our climate for us. And government predictions for the boundary area are that with climate change, flooding is going to increase. The frequency and the intensity of flooding is going to increase here with climate change. So we've got a double whammy here. We've got the impacts of clear-cut logging, which are extensive and devastating. And then we've got the devastating impacts of climate change to deal with as well. 

Now, unfortunately, what's happening with the forest industry and with the government is that climate change has become a convenient scapegoat when they talk about the flooding here. But it can't all be blamed on climate change. There has to be some responsibility taken by the management of forests here. And it's the government and the forest industry that are managing these forests. And we need to start managing for ecological integrity, we need to start managing for hydrological impact. And we have to stop thinking about corporate profits. It's become clear that corporate profits aren't benefiting the people of British Columbia. Forestry jobs are diminishing, it's down to 1.9 percent of employment in British Columbia, the forest industry is only contributing 3 percent to the BC GDP. 

And when we start managing for ecological integrity, and we start cutting fewer trees and getting more value out of each tree that we cut by doing selection logging, and by doing eco forestry, we're not only going to get management of flooding, management of climate change, but we're also going to create more jobs. 

And that's one of the things that we addressed in the report that we wrote here locally. A group of us got together, we got some funding to write a report about the state of our forests here. It's called A Brighter Future for Boundary Forests: the case for nature-based planning and community forest board. 

So what we would like to see is, we'd like to see nature-based planning implemented across our watershed. And by doing that we can create a lot more jobs, and we can protect ourselves as well. It's highly important to us, local people have a say in the management of our forests. 

Right now, the BC government sort of imposes this one size fits all style of forest management, this old paradigm of forest management across the board, across British Columbia. And the people in our watershed have no say about the way things are being done here. So that's why we're promoting the development of community forest boards that are supported by science panels that the government supplies.

Stan | 20:25

The government doesn't have the balls to actually do what they have to do. They have to immediately cut down on the AAC. And by the way, our AAC, our annual allowable cut, is a roughly 700,000 cubic meters. But we are cutting damn near close to 2 million cubic meters in this watershed. And they don't include the salvage wood, you know, fire goes through or bug kill or whatever, they don't count that, eh? But yet, those trees are dead, they have to fall down and create food for the younger ones. You understand they rot, they make moss and everything grow. And basically, the life starts over for the other trees. And if you clear cut everything, well, there's nothing there to give food to the young generation coming up, eh?

Yeah, AAC, annual allowable cut, and we're doing roughly 2 million cubic meters a year. And yeah, the loggers are going to get pissed off, I probably would have been pissed off if they were doing that to me too. Way back when I was a logger, eh? But it's got to the point where it scares the hell out of me that we're either going to burn up or die of the carbon or we're going to die of thirst. Because we can’t keep taking the trees away and expect to be able to live properly. 

You know, like Jennifer said about, you know, and working people, you know, that's the sawmill here in Grand Forks used to employ at least 115 men per shift. And they used to run two shifts all the time right? Now, per shift, they got 10 to 12 people running and make cutting more because of the technology of course, right. And they can cut more and a lot faster. And when they realize that we're making a hell of a lot of money. Let's keep going. And now they're with the price of lumber, they're just ramping it up like you wouldn't believe. And nobody's there to police them and say, "You shouldn't be logging in that watershed, you shouldn't be logging close to the creeks." You know what I'm saying? You got to leave some forest behind, not these 1200 hector cut blocks.

Jennifer | 23:04

That's one of the issues that we address extensively in our report, is the level of the cut in our watershed. So the allowable annual cut, there are indications that not only, legally, is it way too high for ecological integrity and hydrological function in our watershed. But there are some forest inventory specialists who looked over the calculations for the inventory in our watershed and by all indications, it looks like it's been 20 percent too high for at least the past six years.

And that's part of the basis for the class-action lawsuit that a number of us have launched against the province and the forest companies in our watershed. That the ACC is too high, 20 percent too high, and it'll be 20  percent too high for a number of years. And the deforester and the province of British Columbia are refusing to review it, they're refusing to lower the allowable annual cut in our watershed and look at the level of the cut. 

And so in addition to legal cuts being too high for ecological integrity, we've also got the problem that they're not even addressing the possibility that it's higher than what the province is recommending. And we've also got a Chief Forester who's recommending a maximum 40-hectare size cut blocks. But in our watershed, we've got hundreds of cut blocks that are way bigger than 40 hectares and like Stan was saying, We've got 400-hectare cut blocks. And then if you look at the continuous cut blocks, so that means cut blocks that are beside each other, they're only separated by a small strip of intact forest.

In essence, from an ecological point of view, that's one big clear cut. So we get 1,000 hectare clear cuts. Because wildlife needs more than tiny strips of intact forest to survive. They need corridors to travel, grizzly bears are at risk in our watershed, they need large corridors of intact forest in order to survive. They need it for reproduction. They need it for food. And then Stan is familiar with this too, we've got a really dire situation when it comes to food for ungulates. So we've got white-tailed deer, we've got mule deer, we've got moose in our watershed and the mosses in the lichens that they need for survival, particularly in the winter, that hang off of the old-growth that's disappearing. So Stan has told me a lot about the reduction in the numbers of wildlife that he's seen in our watershed.

Stan | 25:32

Yes, yes, our mule deer population in the last 30 years has dropped, say there was 10,000, now, there might be 1000, if you're lucky, mule deer. Our grouse are in danger. I've never seen the lack of grouse. Like, normally I drive up a logging road and you'd see a couple of them here, half a dozen there and there. Now I'm just happy to see one and I pull over and I talk to it, you know, because they're just going extinct. Because there's no more food. They're taken, once you start taking the forest away, that impacts the wildlife to the point where they have to start moving around, then they move. And then the coyotes and the wolves and the cougars, they have nothing to eat. So they are eating the grouse. You know what I mean? I just know because I'm a hunter and a fisherman, a fly fisherman. And I seen it going down, down, down to the point where there's no more fish. 

Oh, yeah, I should add that in 2015, in this watershed, I was driving with my wife to Kelowna, and I'm looking at the West Kettle River. And I'm looking down, and I can't believe, and I've never seen it in all my life that I've been here, the Kettle, West Kettle River was bone dry in places. Bone dry. You could walk across it. And that same year, not much longer, three weeks later, I went down, was going to go down fishing down towards Gilpin. And on both sides of the river, the Kettle River, here's dead fish, belly up on the beach. And I'm looking, “Holy shit.” Hundreds of them, hundreds of them. I've never seen that. And yeah, and the whole ecosystem is just in terrible shape in the Kettle River watershed. It's, it's scary. That's what I know.

Danielle | 27:52

You both outlined major, huge challenges for your watershed. And you're both obviously as well stepping up to deal with a lot of these challenges and that's amazing. Because you are doing so much work because you are investing so much of your own time and your life and everything into this fight. There must be some hope there too for your watershed. What does give you that hope when it comes to your watershed?

Stan | 28:16

Well, the only thing that I'm thinking about is, I'm doing this for my grandchildren because I want them to be able to enjoy those fishing lakes up in high elevation. The grouse, you grab your little portent and shoot a grouse, the dessert of all wild game in my opinion, and enjoy the forest. And if we keep cutting like this, there won't be no forest. There'll be a desert, that I mean a desert. And then yes, they're planting trees. But we're they're planting trees on gravel beds that dry up in the summer. And the trees are all dying. And they're planting monoculture mostly Jackpine.

Jennifer | 29:00

It's essential that we note that the monoculture tree plantations that are replacing intact primary forests, natural forests, are very different than those natural forests. They don't have the same hydrological function. And they also don't have the same ecological function. 

So when people say, “Oh, well, millions of trees are being planted to replace the old forests.” We're not getting the same outcomes from those monoculture plantations. It's also really critical to note that those tree plantations are struggling to grow in climate change. And you look around our watershed and you can see 20-year-old clear cuts where nothing has grown back, they went back and maybe they replanted a couple of times, but 20 years later, there's nothing growing there.

One of the critical things about our watershed is that the majority of land that's being cut here is public land. So this is crown land, it's owned by the people of British Columbia.

And that's one of the primary reasons that we want local people to be able to make decisions about forest management in our watershed. The land belongs to the people. It doesn't belong to the corporations and the corporations are the ones that are benefiting, and the people are paying the price. 

So the thing that gives me hope about our watershed is, people like Stan and the other people in our small little group here in the Boundary, is the people who are becoming directly involved, the ones who are actually doing something. And that's critical, not only to our watershed but watersheds across British Columbia is for people to become directly involved. 

That's a bit of a challenge because people don't tend to become directly involved unless they've been directly impacted. And people like their lives of convenience, they don't want to face the hard motions. People who are involved in the forest industry don't want to face the fact that what they're doing could possibly be harmful. It's a worldview that they're attached to, their lives are wrapped around it. And unless things become a struggle and a challenge for them, the majority of people who might have the idea that, “Oh, yeah, something bad is going on with forest management.” They're not becoming directly involved. And Stan and I are here, to tell the blunt truth, to say that we all have to become directly involved, we all have to get involved in politics. 

And when I see young people getting involved in politics to make change, that's something that gives me hope too. When I see more people across British Columbia becoming aware of the truth and knowing that forest management is destructive in its current form. That gives me hope as well. When I hear about the protesters at Faerie Creek and ciqs, that gives me hope too. I see people across social media becoming aware, sharing the message, I see more and more people stepping up in their local communities. This is essential, it has to happen. We have to get out of our armchairs. And we have to do some things that are uncomfortable and might feel hard at first, we have to face some facts. It's like, I saw a woman on social media say, you know, “You have to stop scaring the children with stories about climate change.” And that's the equivalent of saying, well, you have to turn off the smoke alarm because the noise is scary. We have to face facts, we have to acknowledge the problem so that we can face them and make change. So the people who are doing that right now are the ones that are giving me hope.

Stan | 32:42

I think we have to get all these, like your alliance, our watershed people, all over the province, there are so many, there are thousands, hundreds of 1,000s of people, but we can't get them together. But we have to be able to try and do that with this social media stuff. I think we should make one big outfit. And everybody puts fingers into it, like an octopus, you know what I mean? 

We got to get together. We can’t do this on our own. And if we don't do anything within the next five to 10 years, we are in trouble. Big trouble.

Danielle | 33:20

Yes, Stan. I completely agree with you and that is a driving purpose of this podcast. A large group of watershed organizations and individual water champions across this province, many of whom we’ve interviewed over the course of this season actually, have joined together to push for this plan called CodeBlue BC. It’s on Facebook, Instagram or the website is - codebluebc.ca - it has 3 key elements to the plan - one we’ve been discussing today - we need tougher rules and enforcement- good resource development shouldn’t degrade our watersheds or pollute our freshwater. Secondly, we need to make big industrial users pay to clean up the damage they've done and restore our watersheds. Our water is priceless, and it’s time to stop subsidizing big industry and lastly, local people need to have the power and resources to restore and manage their watersheds. We need to create a surge of good jobs like sustainable logging or watershed restoration that can put food on the table for families and keep our watersheds healthy. 

This plan is gaining major traction in BC so I encourage everyone to check it out, go to codebluebc.ca and add your name and, as Stan said, let’s get together.

As we close out season one of the Freshwater Stream, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has listened to our podcasts, to all of our fascinating guests, to our amazing production team - Anna from WWSS, Brenden our audio-engineer who volunteered countless hours and his mad skills to make this podcast, to my work family at the Freshwater Alliance - Coree & Ashley and to the whole CodeBlue BC team. And finally, a shout out and thank you to all of our awesome funders who made this possible - Lush, Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Sitka Foundation and the Vancouver Foundation. So as we sign off to spend some time preparing for season 2, I leave with voices from the community of Grand Forks.

Community Member 1 | 35:24

What I love about my watershed. I love to get out and go into the backcountry and fish in some of these local rivers. Drive a lot of the local logging roads here and go huckleberry picking and all of the things people should do.

Community Member 2 | 35:46

I'm originally from a much wetter environment. When I first moved here the dryness was quite jarring. As I've explored the trails and backcountry I've found a rich and varied cast of flora and it blows my mind how all this is sustained by our watershed amidst these dry, grassy hills.

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The Freshwater Stream is a collaborative effort between the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, CodeBlue BC and Watershed Watch Salmon Society.