The British Columbia government says it has finalized an agreement with Washington state and several First Nations to work together on flood-risk mitigation and salmon habitat restoration for the Nooksak and Sumas watersheds on the Canada-U. S. border.
The province says the Transboundary Flood Initiative involves cross-border collaboration to reduce the risks of flooding after the atmospheric river event in 2021 devastated B.C.’s Fraser Valley and other parts of southern B.C.
Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma says flooding issues on the two watersheds are not new, but the disaster two years ago showed the need to tackle “catastrophic flooding events” as they intensify due to climate change.
Parties to the initiative include the City of Abbotsford and Whatcom County in Washington state, and the Sumas, Matsqui and leg’a:mel First Nations, the Nooksack Indian Tribe and the Lummi Nation.
Premier David Eby says flooding in 2021 showed that cross-border collaboration and sharing expertise is needed to avert similar disasters in the future.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the flooding was devastating on both sides of the border and showed the need to better plan for such events that are “fuelled by climate change.”
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023