B.C. developing new strategy, fund to protect province’s watersheds

B.C. developing new strategy, fund to protect province's watersheds

The B.C. government has revealed that it is developing a new strategy and fund in an effort to protect and restore watersheds across the province.

The Province says it will be developing B.C.’s first Watershed Security Strategy and Fund in order to ensure healthy ecosystems support communities with secure access to clean water.

As part of the new strategy, the B.C. government says it will be exploring key themes, including governance, climate change, ecosystems and sources of drinking water, as well as community and economic stability, through the release of a discussion paper for feedback.

According to the government, a discussion paper has been developed that outlines key strategic themes for safeguarding B.C.’s watersheds and builds on the important work many communities are doing to protect and restore their local watersheds. The public are now being invited to provide input about the ideas.

In addition to feedback generated from the discussion paper, the strategy will align with several government commitments, including the development of coastal and wild salmon strategies, work on drinking water, modernized land-use planning, and the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. The ministries of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development also have key roles in managing water resources.

“Climate change and cumulative human impacts are threatening the health of the watersheds we depend on for clean drinking water, growing our food, habitat for aquatic species and healthy local economies,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We need to ensure healthy watersheds for strong communities and ecological health, so we are collaborating with Indigenous Peoples and all British Columbians to build a legacy of healthy rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers for our children and grandchildren.”

The deadline for public comment on the discussion paper is March 18, 2022, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time). During this time, there will also be direct engagement with key stakeholders and partners, as well as local and federal governments.

The government says that the public feedback will be used to inform a draft strategy, which will be released in the fall.

“Healthy watersheds mean healthy communities and a robust environment,” said Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture. “By restoring rivers and wetlands, we are creating spawning grounds for salmon and other key freshwater species, and improving the health of B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems that so many species, humans included, rely on.”

The strategy is being developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and in collaboration with other levels of government.

To share your thoughts about development of the strategy, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water


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