Category Archives: news

Op – Protect our Most Precious Resource, Or We Are Dead in the Water

Oliver M. Brandes and Rosie Simms from the Polis Water Sustainability Project co-authored an opinion that was published in the Vancouver Sun on August 25, 2016. They touch on the failed Fraser River Salmon run and discuss the decline of river water quality globally and the need to protect our waters.  Click on the following link to read more: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinon-protect-water-our-economy-communities-and-quality-of-life-depend-on-it

Sustaining the Headwaters Forum – April 19, 2016

On April 19 in Westbridge BC, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary will be hosting a special forum on protecting the headwaters of the Kettle River watershed and other regional watersheds.

Spring run-off, Mt. Cochrane (Stacy Metcalf)
Spring run-off, Mt. Cochrane (Stacy Metcalf)

Spearheaded by the ONA Natural Resources Committee and the Implementation Advisory Group of the Kettle River Plan, this forum will enable Syilx water leaders and community members from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the RDKB, and many other organizations to come together to share knowledge and explore solutions to challenges in headwater management.

We are looking for a broad cross section of the community with an interest in watershed health and protection, including government, industry, agriculture, recreation and stewardship groups to participate in this collaborative and proactive event.

The morning sessions will include presentations from Syilx leadership, traditional knowledge keepers and ONA staff on Okanagan worldviews, use and stewardship of the lands and waters, drawing on both the Syilx Water Declaration and ONA’s siwlkw Water Strategy.

There will also be a presentation on the implementation of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan (KRWMP) and the SIBAC-funded Kettle River Watershed Riparian Threat Assessment.

The afternoon sessions will include exploratory dialogue between participants on headwaters issues.

These facilitated sessions will identify collaborative solutions for key challenges and opportunities for resource development, source-water protection, water storage, and recreation and amenity development.

These discussions will lead to development of an action plan to be shared with participants and the public.

Real sustainable development depends on empowered networks of community members building a shared understanding the health and function of the ecosystems we depend on.

Undertaking this fundamental challenge will ultimately lead to more resilient communities that provide economic opportunities and quality of life over the long term.

We look forward to having your participation at the event!

WHEN: Tuesday, 19 April 2016 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT) – Add to Calendar

WHERE: Westbridge Community Hall – Westbridge Hall Road, Westbridge, BC V0H 2B0, Canada –View Map

To respond, please register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sustaining-our-headwaters-forum-tickets-22468418645

Thank you,

Graham Watt

Ferry County Coalition Releases Draft Shoreline Master Program

From http://www.ferryccsmpupdate.com/:

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a combination of planning and regulatory documents. SMP documents carry out the policies of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) (RCW 90.58) on local shorelines. Local governments are required to prepare SMPs based on state laws and rules. SMPs are prepared to implement the SMA to prevent, “harm caused by uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the State’s shoreline.” Local SMPs are tailored to local geographic and environmental conditions, as well as to existing and future planned development patterns within the shoreline.

The SMP update process balances and integrates objectives and interests of local citizens. Key principles of the SMP include striking a balance among environmental protection, public access and water-oriented uses, and achieving “No net loss” of ecological functions.

What’s New?

The Ferry County Planning Commission and City of Republic are holding a public hearing to review the proposal to adoption the new SMP.

Public Hearing

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
147 N Clark, Suite 7,
Republic, WA
(Top level of building across Clark street from the Post Office)

SMP Documents

Kettle River Watershed Management Plan – A year in review

In anticipation of our Watershed Update on November 25, this two-part column will review some highlights from the last several months of work, and next week preview the work in the coming year.

As of the end of November, it will be one year since the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary endorsed the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan and ‘launched’ it for the benefit of the Kettle River and its communities.

The endorsement by the RDKB and the Boundary municipalities (Grand Forks, Greenwood and Midway) – as well as other organizations and government departments – signaled a significant commitment to continued local leadership in watershed management. This commitment is special because while much of the jurisdiction over water supply and resource management lies with the provincial and federal governments, it truly takes the vision and collective effort of local and regional partnerships to achieve meaningful change.

The leadership by local water suppliers and the provincial government was tested this summer during the heat wave and drought, even before the fires hit. Local government officials and water managers assembled in early August to share information on water conservation efforts and drought response, and the conversation is already having an effect. We are meeting again this week to plan for how we will work together over the next year in terms of drought response, water conservation, and information exchange.

The drought and fires of 2015 fit the expected pattern of climate change, with wetter winters, earlier spring run-off, and long, very dry summers with increased drought and fire risk. The Plan identified a suite of actions to build resilience to climate disruption in the Boundary. In our view, resilience includes both reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and reducing climate risks to water, land and communities from flood, drought and fire through local solutions (adaptation).

To that end, the Regional District is undertaking a study to determine the feasibility of using local government carbon offsets to fund restoration of streamside (riparian) and floodplain forests. If the feasibility study has promising results, this approach would both sequester carbon in the growing trees and provide protection for shorelines and floodplains from damaging floods. We’ll know more in the coming months.

The Plan determined that riparian areas faced significant risks from various land uses and management impacts, so we knew we had to study the issue further. While there have been some efforts to increase stewardship of riparian areas in some sectors, no one has been monitoring the combined effects of land use and development including forestry, range, recreation, industry, agriculture, and urban development.

To study these impacts, I worked alongside Jenny Coleshill (Granby Wilderness Society) to develop a ‘threat assessment’ of riparian areas across the watershed, using spatial information, maps, and in-field conditions. At our Watershed Update we will share the results and point the way towards better protection, management and restoration of riparian areas and wetlands across the watershed.

Throughout the last year an informal partnership known as the ‘Boundary Habitat Stewards’ (Christina Lake Stewardship Society, Granby Wilderness Society, Boundary Invasive Species Society, Grand Forks Wildlife Club, RDKB, and BC Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations) has been active on many restoration and habitat enhancement projects across the region. These include habitat enhancement for the endangered Speckled Dace in the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle Rivers; slope stabilization and fish habitat protection at Sion Cemetery west of Grand Forks; wetland restoration at Boothman’s Oxbow Provincial Park; and a native plant nursery and lakeshore restoration at Christina Lake.

Volunteers plant riparian shrubs and trees this spring at Pines Bible Camp on the Granby River
Volunteers plant riparian shrubs and trees this spring at Pines Bible Camp on the Granby River

We’ve also been building our capacity for restoration by bringing in restoration expert David Polster to teach a course on riparian restoration at Selkirk College. Residents, landowners and stewardship group members from across the Boundary participated and learned hands-on about restoration of eroding streambanks and hill slopes.

There so is much more to share about the last year than I have space for here, so come on out on Wednesday, November 25 to the MacArthur Center in Greenwood (above / behind the library) for some dessert at 6:30 and an informative evening of presentations and conversation (7:00-9:00).

Graham Watt is the coordinator of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Contact Graham at plan@kettleriver.ca or 250.442.4111.

Kettle River Round Table Inaugural Meeting

All interested stakeholders are invited to attend! The Round Table is the forum for reviewing progress on the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, providing stakeholder feedback on priorities and actions, and sharing information about ongoing watershed issues. The Round Table meets as a special meeting of the Implementation Advisory Group, which will also be launched on June 3.

This meeting is also open to the public; please forward the invitation to key contacts.

The meeting will be held on June 3 from 12:30-4:30 in Grand Forks at the Senior’s Centre in City Park. Please respond by June 1 if you or a representative are able to attend.

Revised Agenda:

  • 12:30-1:00 – Light lunch (please RSVP)
  • 1:00-1:15 – Welcome and introductions (Roly Russell, Implementation Advisory Group Chair & Grace McGregor, Steering Committee Chair)
  • 1:15-1:45 – Overview of Advisory Group & Round Table Roles and Process (Roly Russell)
  • 1:45-2:45 – Overview of Phase 3 Implementation – priority strategies, actions, and progress on key initiatives. Phase 3 Work Plan (Graham Watt).
  • 2:45-3:00 – Break
  • 3:00-3:35 – Bringing Pacific Salmon back to the Upper Columbia (and the lower Kettle) – Michael Zimmer, Biologist – Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • 3:35-3:45 – Update on Kettle River Fishing Regulations
  • 3:45-4:30 – Round Table Questions & Feedback
  • 4:30 – Adjourn

We request that interested members of the former Stakeholder Advisory Group or others put their name forward for consideration for the Implementation Advisory Group to me or to Roly Russell (rrussell@rdkb.com) by the end of day on Monday, May 25. A Terms of Reference has been developed by the Steering Committee for the Advisory Group that identifies its structure and composition; a small number of positions on the committee are available, and the Steering Committee will finalize composition and selection and will contact invited members in advance of the June 3 meeting.