Draft Kettle River Watershed Management Plan available for review

The Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan has completed a Draft Plan for public and stakeholder review (link to pdf, 700 kb). This draft plan articulates a vision for the Kettle River Watershed and develops strategies, directions, and concrete actions to achieve it.

“We envision a healthy, resilient and sustainable Kettle River Watershed, which functions to meet the needs and values of its communities, who in turn act as stewards of the watershed.”

KRWMP-DRAFT-September2014_001This draft Plan is presented for consideration by all interested parties before it is finalized and presented to the RDKB Board of Directors. Feedback on the draft plan is requested by Tuesday, October 14 and can be sent to the Project Coordinator at plan@kettleriver.ca / Box 1965, 2140 Central Avenue, Grand Forks BC V0H 1H0. Please use this response form if you are interested in providing detailed responses or if you or your organization will be involved in some aspect of implementing the plan.

Executive summary

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has undertaken the development of a watershed management plan for the Kettle River in British Columbia. The Kettle River Watershed Management Plan is a collaborative initiative supported by a Stakeholder Advisory Group with participation from local and provincial governments and representatives from multiple sectors and organizations from across the Boundary region. Over the last three years, the RDKB and the Advisory Group have developed a shared understanding of watershed issues, created a vision, goals and strategies to take care of the Kettle River watershed into the future, shared information widely, and learned from a broad network of interested stakeholders.

Gabriel Russell navigates the shores of the Kettle River east of Grand Forks (Roly Russell photo)
Gabriel Russell navigates the shores of the Kettle River east of Grand Forks (Roly Russell photo)

This draft plan presents a vision for the Kettle River watershed that is drawn from this common understanding: “We envision a healthy, resilient and sustainable Kettle River Watershed, which functions to meet the needs and values of its communities, who in turn act as stewards of the watershed.” The vision forms the foundation for nine goals affirming healthy aquatic ecosystems, safe and secure water supplies, and a reliable water system supporting a sustainable economy and local food system.

A number of challenges exist to achieving these goals, including high water use and broad, interacting ‘cumulative impacts’ from resource development, urban and rural development, industry, agriculture, and recreation activities. These impacts together further impact low river flows, surface and ground water quality, and habitat for fish and aquatic ecosystems. Underlying these challenges are constraints on understanding by both the public and decision makers, conflicting priorities and gaps in regulations and policy support, and a lack of resources and capacity in resource management agencies, local governments, and stewardship organizations.

This draft plan answers these challenges by presenting four broad strategies containing twenty directions for management and over fifty actions to be undertaken by stakeholders in collaboration over the coming years. The draft builds on the analysis and discussions in the Phase 1 Technical Report[1] and five issue-specific papers developed and shared over the last year.[2]

The first overall strategy, and the highest priority, is to increase community understanding, support and capacity for stewardship of the Kettle River watershed. This includes developing a governance and funding structure to implement the plan, growing understanding and awareness through a broad education and research strategy, and building skills and capacity to undertake the work.

The second strategy is to improve the quality, reliability and security of water supplies through the sustainable management of water supply and water quality, using applied research, monitoring, policies and technologies. The third strategy is to improve the health and function of the ecosystems that support the Kettle River and its communities, through supporting shoreline and riparian restoration, conservation planning, and beneficial practices in agriculture and resource management. The fourth strategy is to enhance the recreational, cultural and amenity values of the watershed, bringing people together to celebrate the stewardship of the watershed and the connections we all have to water.

The key to success of a watershed plan is the dedication and ability to carry out the actions. The RDKB has committed to funding coordination and leading the next three years of implementation, with an implementation team that is drawn from the Advisory Group and key organizations.

[1] The Phase 1 Technical Report is available at http://kettleriver.ca/state-of-watershed/

[2] Discussion papers are all available at http://kettleriver.ca/what-we-are-planning/