Nechako Watershed Strategy Expected this Fall
Prince George, B.C. – The Nechako watershed is roughly the size of Switzerland and the Nechako Watershed Roundtable has been developed to try and ensure the watershed remains healthy for generations to come.
(at right, the Nechako watershed outlined in red)
The NWR has a core leadership committee made up of representatives from local governments, First Nations, and other government agencies to identify and address some of the challenges facing the watershed. Those challenges include the mountain pine beetle epidemic, climate change, and the spruce beetle.
Under the wing of the Fraser Basin Council, the Nechako Watershed Roundtable (NWR) has no regulatory or legislative authority, it can only act in an advisory capacity.
The current work of the NWR is the development of a strategy, but before they can do that, there is a lot of data to collect and share as not all members of the NWR know all the information that has been developed over the years on this subject.
Fraser Basin Council Assistant Regional Manager Theresa Fresco says the strategy has three main aims:
- to profile the key watershed issues and concerns
- identify priority actions to address those concerns
- identify commitments from various organizations to implement the actions.
“We have completed quite an amount of work to date” says Fresco, who adds that work includes establishing a technical advisory committee which can assist the Roundtable on technical issues.
A key piece of the NWR’s work will be to find funding to support the implementation of their action plan.
Rio Tinto Alcan is not part of the Core Leadership committee but has a community liaison representative at the broader roundtable and is part of the technical advisory committee.”They have a lot of access to information and data that are important to the process” says Fresco “They have been quite transparent in that regard, providing us with that information.”
Fresco says community consultations have identified concerns about flooding and erosion “So essentially what the strategy is meant to do is create a bit of a map of what those issues and concerns are , as well as to explore what are the current regulations that exist, what are the current targets that Rio Tinto has to meet in terms of flows because they do have that regulated and a lot of people don’t know what that target is. So once we have a better sense of that baseline information, we can start to look at what are some actions we can take moving forward? Is that the role of the Roundtable or is that something that is in the Province’s hands for example.”
Fresco says the NWR hopes to roll out its strategy by mid October.
For those who gave me thumbs down on an earlier post about Rio Tinto not having control of the Nechako that the Nwchako is 70% wild. The map in this post proves my point. Facts not emotion.
Do not confuse the Nechako “watershed” with the Nechako River. Rio Tinto Alcan has full control of the levels of the Nechako River.
No, the Nechako watershed is what feeds the Nechako river. The lakes feeding kemano are part of the Nechako water shed and Rio Tinto has control over that to a point until nature takes over where Rio Tinto has to spill excess water.
Look at the map, the area in red feeds the Nechako river. Rio Tinto only has more accurately, some control over part of the water shed. 70% of the river is wild, yes Rio has some control but not all.
This gets convoluted, 70% of the watershed is wild but Rio Tinto water licence can take about 70% of the water volume. Rio still does not have total control.
Isn’t this sort of a chicken vs. the egg thing?
I agree that they can’t control the amount of water dumping into the Nechako from say the Stuart/Trembleur/Takla watershed, but if there was a massive amount of water coming in from there, wouldn’t they just let far less water through the spillway?
Said another way, aren’t the levels in the Nechako essentially “artificial” in the sense that they would be heavily managed and controlled based on how much water they decide to let through? This, as opposed to a truly wild river which is at the complete mercy of mother nature.
If there is massive amounts of water from the mentioned sources then most likely lots of water flowing into the reservoir and spilling may be required to manage reservoir levels adding to the flow.
Only so much water can be passed through kemano which leaves the spill into the Nechako.
Great follow up Elaine:)
The Kenny damn and Cheslatta falls probably look nice this time of year.
Mr. Ben Meisner would have been in on that round table I’ll bet.
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