Our Water BC June 2021 Newsletter

How is it already June! Thank you all for contributing to the newsletter. Happy reading. 

Next meeting is June 17, 2021, at 12:30pm

Province Wide

Canadian Freshwater Alliance

The Freshwater Alliance is a national initiative that inspires and supports a network of freshwater guardians working for a future where all our waters are healthy and safe. @freshwateralliance (Facebook / Instagram) @H20Alliance (Twitter)

Key issues: our work takes the form of partnerships through:

Current projects and successes:

  • CodeBlue BC organized a call to action to support the Vernon community who were pushing back against Tolko logging in their watershed. Vernon residents sent in hundreds of letters to local reps, resulting in Tolko agreeing not to log in the most critical part of the watershed. Continuing on, we are supporting the community with organizing a meeting with their MLA
  • CodeBlue BC action: Over 1500 emails were sent to local councillors ahead of the Lower Mainland Local Gov't Association's AGM where a resolution was passed, which calls on the province to create a dedicated watershed security fund.
  • More conversations to being had with community groups across the province

News, Events, Actions:

  • Season #1 of the Freshwater Stream Podcast is a wrap! Check out the episodes at https://www.freshwateralliance.ca/freshwaterstream 
  • CodeBlue BC action: Calling on the Federal Government to invest in our watersheds through the CodeBlue Campaign: https://www.codebluebc.ca/federal_investment 
  • CodeBlue BC Lunch and Learn, June 22nd 12:30pm
  • Herb Hammond Lunch and Learn, June 24th 12:30pm
  • Upcoming toolkit being developed around water bottling - to be shared soon!
  • We have a new Executive Director, Melissa Bramham and 2 new summer staff coming aboard! Welcome to Katia Bannister and Allysa Allchurch.


Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Watershed Watch Salmon Society works to defend and rebuild B.C.’s wild salmon and their habitats. @WatershedWatch(Twitter); @Watershedwatchbc(Instagram) @watershedwatchsalmonsociety(Facebook)

Key issues: Wild salmon (addressing threats including factory fish farms, lack of access to habitat, destruction of habitat, etc). Watershed security through CodeBlueBC.

Current projects and successes: Hosted a very successful, COVID-friendly Paddle the Slough event. Participants received maps of Chilliwack blueways to explore on their own time. They sent in photos of their adventures to enter to win prizes from local businesses. We also had participants send letters to the Mayor and Council thanking them for supporting the blueways project and it has created a lot of conversation on how to improve local waterways.

We are continuing to support data collection as part of the SRIF-funded Resilient Waters project, working to improve flood control infrastructure in the lower Fraser for salmon. 

Codeblue BC was involved in a successful push to prevent logging upstream of the intake for 60% of Vernon's drinking water. Vernon residents sent in hundreds of letters to local reps. We also had individuals send over 1500 emails to their local reps ahead of the Lower Mainland Local Gov't Association's AGM where a resolution was passed and will move forward to UBCM this fall. The resolution will have local governments ask the province to create a dedicated watershed security fund.

We have launched a new call to action around flood control infrastructure asking people to send a letter to the premier and prime minister to require projects to be fish-friendly to be eligible for funding and to provide guidance to municipalities to embrace greener flood control approaches. 

 We restocked our new WWSS t-shirts. You can order yours here!

Continue to release episodes of The Freshwater Stream podcast with CFA. Check out episodes here

News, Events, Actions:


Rivershed Society of BC

Connect, protect and restore the Fraser's 34 riversheds. @RivershedBC (Twitter, Facebook) 

Key issues: delivering public education programs, community initiatives, and building stewardship capacity in the Fraser River Basin

Current projects and successes: We have many things on the go these days! We are: rolling out our inaugural Race the River event, preparing to release our first virtual Watershed CPR Education Program, getting ready to run both in-person and virtual programs for our River Clinics, and of course continuing with our long-term restoration and protection projects. These include our Foodlands Corridor Restoration Project and the development of a communication tool that will visualize a restored Fraser Watershed.

News, Events, Actions: Please join us for Race the River, as we attempt to collectively travel the length of the Fraser faster than Fin Donnelly did more than 25 years ago! Don't worry, you don't have to run - any human-powered transportation is welcome. Learn more at www.rivershed.com/RaceTheRiver.


BC Coalition for Forestry Reform

Uniting communities for more say in forestry development in their local areas. @bccfr(Facebook

Key issues: We support data-driven, long term stewardship of the timber and non-timber values of BC’s forests. We advocate for forest management based on long-term landscape-level planning, a mandatory shared decision making process with local communities, careful incorporation of public needs and values, and full recognition of our forests’ non-timber values including water, wildlife, tourism, and recreation.

Key Resources (to offer OWBC team): forestry-specific insight and access to a province-wide community.

News, Events and Actions: See Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance updates below!

Island Updates

Cowichan Watershed Board 

The Cowichan Watershed Board, a partnership between Cowichan Tribes First Nation, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District provides leadership for sustainable water management and to protect and enhance environmental quality and the quality of life in the local watershed regions.  @CowichanWatershedBoard (Facebook)

Key issues: low river flows, salmon sustainability indigenous co-governance, riparian health, estuary toxicity, water quality, watershed connections/education, water conservation.

Current projects: We have been busy with the Twinned Watersheds Project, an indigenous partnership to learn about the Koksilah and Chemainus Rivers, which are both experiencing fairly severe drought impacts in the summers. The studies will help decision-makers understand the specific times and places and species that are affected by low river flows, so that solutions will be based on good information. See article here.... https://www.facebook.com/BigDancingFish/photos/a.751411824907159/4159143360800638/

News, Events, Actions: See https://www.facebook.com/BigDancingFish/



Comox Valley Land Trust - Conservation Partnership Program 

The CVCP brings together local community-based groups and other stakeholders to provide a coordinated voice for the value of conservation in our communities. Together, as partners, the CVCP works proactively with local governments to encourage the development of innovative policies and regulations that protect sensitive ecosystems and watersheds, as well as to ensure the impacts of development and land use are balanced with environmental objectives. @cvlandtrust (Facebook, Instagram) CVCP quarterly newsletter.

Key issues:

1) Advocate for water source protection, that conserves natural assets and drinking water sources at the watershed scale, while adaptively managing social and economic activities 

2) Advocate for land acquisition and habitat restoration opportunities to protect local species and ecosystems at-risk, improve habitat connectivity, and increase urban forest canopy coverage 

3) Engage in collaboration and relationship building with local municipalities/authorities/school district 71, provincial/federal government and First Nations to incorporate the Nature Without Borders regional conservation strategy into current land use, policy and regulations

 4) Encourage eco-asset valuation processes in support of local government sustainable asset management strategies to account for natural systems functions and promote climate change adaptation 

5) Advocate for the inclusion of local environmental information and where appropriate, develop innovative studies to strengthen local approaches and strategies to conserve natural areas

Key Resources (to offer OWBC team): Insight into our Municipal Natural Assets Initiative(MNAI) work and eco-asset accounting

Current projects: Currently, engaged as a technical advisor for the City of Courtenay’s Official Community Plan.  This OCP has a key strategic climate driver, a new Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure Network Strategy as well as a heavy focus on recognizing and restoring ecosystem services and ecological assets. Also starting this summer, we are participating in the Comox Valley Regional District’s new Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy.


Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

Biosphere reserves are considered model regions for sustainable development. They work to promote the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in addition to economic and social development. In each biosphere reserve, community partners work together to find innovative ways to achieve a balance between the needs of humans and nature. @MountArrowsmithBR (Facebook) @mtarrowsmithbr (Instagram) @MountArrowBR (Twitter)

Key issues: Conserve biodiversity, restore and enhance ecosystem services, and foster the sustainable use of natural resources. Contribute to building sustainable, healthy and equitable societies, economies and thriving human settlements in harmony with the biosphere. Facilitate biodiversity and sustainability science, education for sustainable development and capacity building.Support mitigation and adaptation to climate change and other aspects of global environmental change.

Current projects and successes: Our Marine Debris Survey project is launching in July. We will be surveying sites in the biosphere region (starting with French Creek and Qualicum Beach) four times per year.

News, Events, Actions: We have an open call for citizen scientists to assist with Marine Debris Surveying. Posts can be found on the Research Institute's social media  https://www.facebook.com/MABRRI2019.


Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition

As an umbrella organization, the mission of VIWWC is to work at guiding and supporting our member groups in lobbying all levels of government while we engage in various water-related projects.  https://www.vancouverislandwaterwatchcoalition.ca/

Key issues: See mandate above.

Current projects: We have begun work on a film entitled "Joining the Dots Together"

News, Events, Actions: Please keep track of what is happening with the Forest blockades and the government's inactions.


Salt Spring Island Water Preservation Society

Protecting the fresh water resources of Salt Spring Island. Protect Drinking Water Sources & develop a Freshwater Catalogue for SSI to support local watershed stewardship and provide input to (influence/steer) island freshwater resource management: @ssiwps (Facebook); https://sites.google.com/view/freshwater-catalogue/home 

Key issues: Regulating tree cutting, Researching water sources

Current projects and Successes:

Land Protection - SSI Water Preservation Society led land acquisition strategies around a Salt Spring Island (SSI) Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF)  “Larmour Land” area continue a-pace, with 8 Ha now with the WPS, developing a future land protection.

Stewardship - Roundtable Collaboration Meeting

The WPS organised the second of an island stewardship roundtable group meeting, with attendance from a board group of island “stewardship” groups. These meetings provide an opportunity to share information on ongoing projects, and to investigate opportunities for collaboration between the various groups - eg SSI freshwater/stewardship videos. 

We are making Island-oriented Watershed Stewardship videos:

1] a WPS “Our SSI Water - A Delicate Balance?” - a youth/school video short (ongoing)

2] a TSS-ERN “SSI Watershed Stewardship” - a youth/adult video series (in planning)

For the proposed video work-streams, we have gained broad support from the various island stewardship groups, and have an incipient “video(s) working group” in place.  More details on the video content(s) and script(s) can be shared if of interest to OurWaterBC members.

News, Events, Actions: From a recent SSI Transition Salt Spring (TSS) Climate Action Network (CAN) “Forestry & Communities” webinar session. This webinar theme  “Can forests solve many, if not all, of our problems. How?” 

Had some relevant/interesting forestry-watershed interplay discussion elements

TSS CAN webinar - backdrop

This TSS CAN event included scene-setting presentations (speakers list below) and a discussion around the roles of forests as economic engines & job creators, as fire suppressors and biodiversity enhancers, and as freshwater harvesters and food suppliers, as well as energy producers!  My perspective on this CAN meeting’s objective - educate folks and start a discussion on how to ensure forests and communities can co-exist… and work together.

TSS CAN speakers -  discussion:

Mitchell Sherrin (SS Fire Rescue) - insights into sensible firesmarts and (lower) risks of native dominated forest systems

Michael Nickels (Seven Ravens Ecoforestry) - shared experiences from active, relatively small (30 acres) ecoforest farming on SSI

Mark Lombard (Cortes Community Forest) - described role as key player in “Cortes Community Logging” (3800Ha), including FN partnership, on Cortes island, a fascinating and valuable presentation

Erik Piikkila (Yellow Point Ecological Society) - provided the backdrop to, and conflicts between, ecology/ecosystems (natural services maintainance) and economics (jobs, $$), and how the conflicts may increase with climate change…

Some meeting notes (personal take aways)

- it is possible, with care and due “attention to detail" to make ecoforestry work (on some sort of scale…)

- large community forestry operations (some 60 in BC) are financially challenged despite their potential for local (community) value adds…  Incentives to do sustainable forestry (thinning, selected tree management) appear not to be there and there are significant disincentives from the Ministry of Forestry (cut-more).

The above TSS CAN webinar was recorded. The event will be made available to the public, online, shortly, I will share the link with OWBC when this becomes available.

For anyone doing outreach/educational work the following “Coastal Douglas Fir-Watershed” oriented freshwater resources Salt Spring Island Transition Salt Spring (TSS) Ecological Network (ERN) forestry/watershed graphics and video are available.

SSI TSS-ERN CDF Watershed infographics


Coastal Douglas Fir Forest Stewardship video short 



Merville Water Guardians

Prohibition of the bottling and commercial sale of groundwater @Merville-water-guardians (Facebook)

Key issues: Bottling and commercial sale of groundwater


Beaufort Watershed Stewards

The Beaufort Watershed Stewards work to promote the health and resilience of local watersheds in the Beaufort Range and to ensure the quality and quantity of fresh water for the future. @beaushedstewards 

Key issues: Sampling, aquifer mapping and partnership development

Current projects and successes: Stream quality monitoring

News, Events, Actions: Visit https://www.beaufortwater.org/ for up to date information, activities


Quadra Island Climate Action Network Society

Our aim is to assist Quadra Island in becoming more resilient and self-sufficient in the face of impending ecological challenges. Our mandate is to organize and foster direct action on clearly defined practical projects. @QuadraICAN (Facebook)

Key issues: We are the team of ICAN dedicated to working on ways to help people, plants, animals of our Island have enough water to live in harmony in our changing times.

Current projects and successes: We have been selling IBC containers to help people harvest rainwater from their roofs for use during our increasingly dry summers.  We are beginning the process of doing an in-depth water mapping project as a result of great information from Freshwater Alliance.  We are initiating connections with a postdoc and with other people with similar water sources and situations to us.  Our goal is to have water governance that works for our needs and resources.

Southwestern BC

Fraser Riverkeeper Society

Fraser Riverkeeper, an initiative of Swim Drink Fish, is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Fraser River and its watershed—our encompassing mission is to ensure the right of all citizens to safely swim, drink, and fish in BC waters. @fraserrivkeeper

Key issues: Bacterial contamination

Key Resources: Shareable data sets, reports, maps: https://www.recreationalwater.ca/vancouver


Current projects and successes: Fraser Riverkeeper is pleased to announce that we are spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and overseeing multiple Seabins in Vancouver. These trash skimmers will be placed in trash-laden waters over the next three years to pilot a waste characterization, plastic education, and advocacy project. 

Seabins are the latest citizen science data collection tool to be used by Fraser Riverkeeper’s Vancouver Water Monitoring Hub.

False Creek, which supports many types of water recreation year-round as well as hundreds of different species of wildlife,  has become contaminated by our plastic waste. This June, three Seabins were installed at marinas across Granville Island, including Granville Island Public Dock, Sea Village Marina, and Maritime Market Marina Ltd. These sites were selected due to the high concentration of floatable debris in those areas.  Seabins use an electric pump that constantly skims and filters the surface of the water. The submersible water pump is capable of displacing 25,000 litres per hour. Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin. Seabins collect floating debris such as macroplastics, microplastics as small as 2mm, microfibers, hydrocarbons, and contaminated organic waste like seaweed. 

Made possible by generous funding from Peter Wall Coastal Protection Initiative, the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup is a project spearheaded by Swim Drink Fish and builds on the legacy of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, which was initiated by Pollution Probe.  

Coalition partners include Fraser Riverkeeper, Peter Wall Charitable Foundation, 

Smart Marine, Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, Pollution Probe, Skookum Yacht Services, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Sea Village Marina, Maritime Market Marina Ltd., Dentist on Demand, and the U of T Trash Team.

News, Events, Actions: With support from the Peter Wall Coastal Protection Initiative, Fraser Riverkeeper is installing three Seabins around Granville Island, in the heart of False Creek, to bring attention to and combat one of the greatest threats to healthy waters: plastic pollution.

Head over to https://www.crowdcast.io/e/the-vancouver-plastic-cleanup/register

to register for our online event on the afternoon of June 22nd. We’ll be unveiling the Seabins, introducing our coalition partners, talking about plastic pollution in False Creek, and sharing how to get involved in the movement for swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters. You won’t want to miss it!



Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable 

To preserve and enhance the health of the Coquitlam River Watershed through collaboration, education and advisory action.

@CoqRiverWS (Facebook, Twitter), @coquitlamwsroundtable (Instagram)

Key issues: Pressures affecting watershed health, namely: development, invasive species, stormwater, water extraction, recreation, vandalism / illegal activity, mainstream cultural norms, mining

Current projects and successes:

Application to renew current funding agreements with local, regional and FN governments - we are currently drafting our supporting documents and delegation presentations under our Resilience and Capacity Building subcommittee, to be taken back to our Core Committee on June 21st for final edits and approval. Delegation presentations to current funders to begin in July.

Stormwater Management: Rain Gardens Project - Our major public engagement project for late summer will be the installation of two demonstration rain gardens with educational signage that speak to how rain gardens help manage stormwater runoff and how homeowners can install them on their own property. Planning will commence during the summer for a hands-on community-assisted install in late September.

News, Events, Actions: Our upcoming Community Roundtable Webinar (theme TBD) in September - planning committee has not met yet, demonstration rain gardens installation in Lions Park, Port Coquitlam in late September. See our social media pages and website for details!


WaterWealth Project

Community control over decisions affecting our local home waters, rooted in recognition of First Nations rights and title. @Waterwealthproject (Facebook) @Water_wealth (Twitter) @Waterwealth (Instagram)

Key issues: Pipeline, StreamKeeping, Climate Monitoring, WSA, Geocaching

Current projects and successes: On-going data collection from 30+ sites in the Chilliwack River watershed, and something exciting that came about as an offshoot of that monitoring is the restoration of the Deer Creek Off-Channel Habitat area! This is about 1.25 kilometres of great, complex spawning and rearing habitat that has not been functioning in some years. We recently exposed the old intake pipe and found it is concrete so we expect to be able to reuse it, which was great news. DFO donated a large beaver box, Industry partners are donating heavy equipment time, Pacific Salmon Foundation provided funding, the referral to Stó:lō is being assessed. It all seems to be coming together to be some fantastic habitat for Coho, Chum, Chinook, Pink, Steelhead and Cutthroat later this year. WaterWealth is working up a long-term monitoring plan to evaluate restoration success and ensure that this habitat does not fall into disuse again. Similar habitat in Chilliwack River Provincial Park just across the Chilliwack River may be used as a comparison site for monitoring. Photo accompanying this survey is of the old log beaver guard at the outflow of the largest pond, “Deer Lake" to locals. Soon to be Deer Lake again!

News, Events, Actions: No specific dates presently, but anyone who happens to be in the Chilliwack area and wants to spend some time on the streams is welcome to get in touch and join in caring for our shared home waters!

Eastern BC

Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance

Our mandate is the preservation and protection of all watersheds in our community, with a goal of providing a consistent quantity, quality and timing of flow of water.@PeachlandWatershedProtectionAlliance(Facebook) @peachlandwpa(Instagram)

Key issues: The vulnerability of our watershed — illustrated by our poor quality drinking water and annual flooding — is our chief concern.

News, Events, Actions: Coming soon.. we are having Aaron Sumexthla come to Peachland to speak on the pitfalls of a biosolids waste plant in a community drinking watershed



Lake Windermere Ambassadors

We have a vision of an ecologically healthy Lake Windermere, with balanced management approaches that support recreation and traditional uses, high fish and wildlife values, and economic prosperity in the region. @LakeWindermereAmbassadors (Facebook) @lakeambassadors (Instagram, Twitter)

Key issues: Water quality/quantity, community outreach/education, increasing public access around the lake, filling knowledge gaps around biodiversity in the lake (native fish and mussel surveys), adding to provincial invasive species inventories.

Current projects and successes: We are moving into our busy summer monitoring and outreach program! Some highlights for  the season to come are:

  • We have hired two summer staff (double what we have before), between them they have a wealth of knowledge that compliments each others strengths and weaknesses
  • We are planning two new fundraisers, one is a raffle of locally discounted/donated goods and the second being a "Sip & Splash" business based fundraiser for the lake
  • We have made improvements to our monitoring program following last years State of the Lake Report and will continue to work with the Ministry of Environment to improve


Elk River Alliance

The Elk River Alliance (ERA) is a community-based water group that aims to connect people to the Elk River ensuring it is drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations. ERA aims to improve and preserve watershed health through projects that raise watershed literacy, inform sustainable water decision-making, collect scientific data to prioritize restoration opportunities and promote safe and sustainable river recreation. @Elkriveralliance (Facebook, Instagram)

Key issues: Education & outreach, science & stewardship, watershed decision-making, sustainable & safe river recreation, elk river geocache

Current projects and successes: 

Stormwater Solutions: Several planting days with local school groups around lakes in the town of Fernie.

LLC Hosmer Wetland restoration: 800 live stakes cut and planted from over 50 volunteers. 

News, Events, Actions: Presenting at the LLC/CB Waterhub series 'Why care about water data' (https://livinglakescanada.ca/2021/05/28/why-care-about-water-data-webinar-series/)


Protectors of Box Mountain Watershed

Working together as a community to protect our Box Mountain Watershed to the best of our ability to ensure clean drinking water for every child and their family. We will do this at all levels of government including locally. Any action we choose to take as a group working together will always be within the law.

GoFundMe - https://gofund.me/f4e06cb2; FB @ProtectorsBMW; TWT: @boxmtnwatershed; Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQxly8Y-MSqp6IyD6chadug

Key issues: Keeping any logging off Box Mountain Watershed

Current projects and successes: We have successfully blocked NACFOR from accessing the mountain watershed through any private land. 100% of the landowners next to the mountain signed a petition saying no to the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program for our watershed. NACFOR has finally acknowledged that we are stakeholders and have said if the community does not want this logging they will listen. NACFOR also stated that they will not be damaging the watershed so we will hold them to this.

News, Events, Actions: We are working on putting together a petition for our immediate community and our goal is to get 95% of the community on board saying no to Fire mitigation on Box Mountain. Then we want to focus on an online petition for the Village as the Village owns NACFOR. 90% seems to be the magic number to get NACFOR to abandon the project so we are aiming for the 95%.


No June Updates

Columbia Basin Watershed Network

The Columbia Basin Watershed Network Society is the go-to hub for watershed groups to find information, training or connections, and a voice for watershed stewardship across the Basin.


Sqilxw Apna Society


Sqilxw Apna Society is centred on the sqilxw (of the north Okanagan syilx) territory in B.C. with the aim to strengthen Indigenous family's capacity in engaging deeper issues on sustainability from the Indigenous perspective. We are empowering ‘Indigenous ways of Knowing’ and traditional egalitarian groupings through community, culture, art and the environment.


Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Cultivate a sustainable future from a sustainable environment rooted in our culture and a thriving wild salmon [email protected] (Twitter) @Skeenawatershed (Facebook), @SkeenaEnergySolutions (Facebook)

Key issues: Economic development that salmon can thrive with, science & research, youth/women on water programs, land use planning, community building.

Key Resources (to offer OWBC team): We can take you rafting down the rivers of the Skeena Watershed.


Nechako Environment & Water Stewardship Society

The mandate is the recovery of salmon-bearing streams. @NechakoWESS (Facebook)

Key issues: rehabilitation of streams, watershed planning, mapping of aquifers, environmental stewardship and education; Developing a program to administrate a “Gold Label” certification standard for agricultural products produced in the Nechako Valley.


BC Whitewater

Advocating for publicly accessible, free-flowing rivers throughout BC. @BCwhitewater (Facebook, Instagram

Key issues: We have ongoing work to secure access to rivers used for recreation throughout BC, working with local governments and the river community. 

Key Resources (to offer OWBC team): Access to our River Database: http://liquidlore.com/bc/


Stoney Creek Environment Committee

Stoney Creek Environment Committee (SCEC) is a dedicated group of volunteers committed to protecting, preserving, and enhancing Burnaby’s urban forest and salmon-bearing stream through various stream-keeping activities. @StoneyCreekSCEC (Twitter) @myscec (Facebook) @stoneycreekenvironmentcommitee (Instagram)


Arrowsmith GroundWater Alliance 

Our principal focus is on the health of our local watershed. We are interested in preventing new bottled water operations in BC.


Pitt Meadows Environmental Network

To highlight and advocate for environmental and climate issues in Pitt Meadows. @pittmeadowsenvironetwork (Instagram, Facebook)