The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is ready to move from planning to action with the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan.
After three years of study and planning, the RDKB will present the plan to the public at the Christina Lake Annual Watershed Review on December 3.
The plan outlines a vision for 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.” This vision is supported by three goals, four strategies, eighteen management directions and fifty-nine actions that, over time, will achieve real improvements in water conservation, water quality, and the health of aquatic ecosystems.
“There are many really excellent projects that will come from this, with all kinds of support behind the plan,” said Grace McGregor, Chair of the RDKB Board of Directors and Director for Electoral Area C / Christina Lake.
The main areas of focus of the next three years will include filling critical information gaps, coordinating restoration projects, supporting water quality improvements and working with water suppliers and water users to improve conservation.
“There are a lot of opportunities here for working together among everyone with an interest in the Kettle River, whether they are individual landowners and farmers or represent local governments, resource management agencies, conservation groups, or First Nations,” said Graham Watt, Coordinator for the plan.
“This really sets the direction for the Regional District for considering the watershed in many kinds of decisions,” added McGregor.
“The Stakeholder Advisory Group intends the plan to provide guidance for decision makers and set the stage for collaboration and action,” said Watt. “The success of the next three years really depends on the participation of all of the people and groups that play a part.”
The planning process was built around bringing a variety of perspectives to a broad suite of watershed issues.
“We all got to learn from each other, hearing different ways of understanding common interests,” said Watt. “And that learning will need to continue through the next few years, as we all gain experience and capacity through implementing and revising the plan.”
The Advisory Group recommended that the plan be presented to the RDKB for their ‘endorsement’, which was provided at the November 27th Board of Directors meeting in Grand Forks.
“Endorsement means that the RDKB will consider the plan in relevant decisions and services, implement the strategies and actions as appropriate through local planning and services, and promote it for use by other stakeholders, organizations and government agencies,” said Watt. “This is a major statement about the importance of the plan.”
So what’s next? The RDKB will be seeking organizations and individuals to express support and participation in implementation and review. And the plan will immediately shift into action with project proposals and opportunities for the public to get involved.
The plan will be published December 3 at http://kettleriver.ca. Copies will be available at the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary offices in Grand Forks and Trail and in other key locations.