Nechako Watershed Roundtable: envisioning a healthy watershed for generations to come

Water is one of the most precious natural resources especially for British Columbians.

  • Apr. 20, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

Water is one of the most precious natural resources especially for British Columbians.

Healthy watersheds are critical to long-term social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being according the Nechako Watershed Roundtable.

The Nechako Watershed, a magnificent river system in North Central B.C.- said to be about the size of Switzerland- is facing significant challenges including impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, salvage logging, climate change and diversion of water out of the Nechako Watershed.

In light of these challenges, it has been concluded that there is a need to enhance awareness and collaboration to help ensure the long-term environmental health and wealth of the Nechako Watershed while addressing today’s needs for responsible resource development.

The Nechako Watershed Roundtable was formed to addresses these challenges and opportunities through a collaborative approach.

The group is comprised of representatives from a diversity of organizations, local governments, First Nations and other government agencies with a shared commitment and concern to protect and improve the health of the watershed.

“There are so many different issues depending on where you are,” Theresa Fresco from the Nechako Watershed Strategy said.

“We felt it was important to have various groups take part. They need to talk and coordinate their efforts.”

According to Fresco, concerned organizations and individuals began meeting in 2012 to share information, knowledge and explore common interests and brainstorm about actions needed to advance watershed health.

The group adopted a roundtable governance structure in the spring of 2015 and its official launch took place in October, 2015.

Groups that have participated in the formation of the roundtable include: Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, City of Prince George, District of Vanderhoof, Fraser Basin Council, Ministry of Environment and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.

Membership has been growing since the official launch.

According to the Nechako Watershed Strategy, an early priority of the roundtable is to develop a comprehensive strategy to advance long-term health of the Nechako Watershed and to engage communities such as Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.

For more information regarding the Nechako Watershed Roundtable visit: http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/Nechako_Watershed_Roundtable.html