We Wai Kai Land Gaurdian Shane Pollard is concerned about climate change and the impact it will have on his community.
“After what we heard about how the ocean level the process is accelerating, that’s definitely a big concern of mine,” said Pollard.
To be proactive as the planet warms, the We Wai Kai First Nation’s land guardians are partnering with other local groups to map and monitor wetlands, watersheds, and streams on Quadra Island as the summer gets drier.
One of the We Wai Kai First Nation reserves is nestled on the southeastern tip of Quadra Island. As sea levels rise due to climate change, so do the concerns of Elders who live on the water.
Elder Vernon Price has lived on the reserve close to the water for over 70 years. He’s concerned that many residents will have to move their homes to higher ground due to the rising sea levels.
“I’m afraid some of the houses will start flooding because it’s already high tides in December,” Prince told CHEK News.
“The sea is coming over the rocks down the beach on my end on the south end of the village.”
Twenty minutes north of the reserve, climate change is causing another serious issue for the Nation — a lack of water.
Work is now underway to try to help save the salmon run in Hyancinthe Creek.
Pollard says they are doing what they can to help mitigate the low water system, but Mother Nature ultimately decides what will happen.
“The downside to that is if there’s no water, then this is all kinda for nothing. That’s the one thing that we’re having trouble with is that we can’t control is how much rain we’re getting,” added Pollard.
Although these conservation efforts in partnership with the Quadra Island Climate Action Network and the Salmon Enhancement Society do help, more data is needed to help the nation and Island residents find ways to adjust to a warming planet.
A planet that the Nation and Pollard want to protect for future generations.
-with files from Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer