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.
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.