250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

August 23, 2017 7:48 pm

Health of Nechako Watershed Focus of Meeting

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. – What used to be the Nechako Watershed Alliance is  becoming the more formal  Nechako Watershed  Roundtable. No matter what the name,  the goal is the same,  to improve  and protect the health of the  watershed.

The roundtable is made up of  interested representatives  from  a variety of organizations

and will be holding  both a public  information session this evening at UNBC,   then  huddling tomorrow for  representatives  to discuss the issues.

The  Roundtable  writes in a backgrounder that  the Nechako watershed  “is facing significant challenges, including impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and salvage logging, climate change, and the diversion of water out of the Nechako watershed. Effective stewardship of the Nechako Watershed today is critical to all future generations”.

(at right,  the Nechako watershed area outlined in red-image courtesy Fraser Basin Council)watershed

A report issued in March of this year, outlined some of the concerns facing the watershed, including:

  • the mountain pine beetle infestation which led to  increased forestry activity,
  • silt build up,
  • loss of  habitat for  wildlife,
  • loss of riparian habitat and
  • above  ideal  water temperatures for  salmon.

The full report can be accessed here.

Steve Litke is with the Fraser Basin Council  and worked on that initial report.  He is also  taking part in the  Nechako Watershed Roundtable “there are a number of different things  that could be undertaken from private  land stewardship to  stream bank restoration, re-vegetating  some of the forests  after the  pine beetle,  those sorts of things.”

One of the key issues is that Rio Tinto  Alcan has  control over the vast majority of the water flow in the  Nechako  but the company’s role  has  not yet been  defined “We will  have to explore that with them” says Litke “I understand they  have  a program to release cold water  for  salmon so that’s one thing they can do and we do want to talk about these issues with RTA  and  explore where there are some opportunities to collaborate.  I don’t predetermine what those might be.”

Members of the roundtable include  all levels of  government,  government  agencies,  First Nations,  and the Integrated Watershed Research Group at UNBC. The only name missing from the list of  current  participants is that of Rio Tinto Alcan.  RTA has been invited to  take part in the inaugural  meeting tomorrow, and  company reps  are expected to  attend.  “Restoring flows in the Nechako  closer to   normal regimes would  go a long way to resolving some of the  issues” says Litke, who adds the roundtable will work with  those who have  water licences  in the watershed towards  improving those flows.

Bringing together  the  various  stakeholders  may well create a more  powerful voice for the watershed says Litke “There has been a consensus to  date in  terms of focus on improving  the health of the Nechako, and I think that if there is that  unified vision, I think that can help raise the profile on the issues.  The mix of public education, political interaction,  on the ground  stewardship and  long term planning has yet to be determined but all of those kinds of things are  different kinds of mechanisms to affect change.”

The public session is set for  5:30-9 this evening in  the Atrium at UNBC.

 

 

Comments

i wonder if they will have a public session in the Nechako Valley. Like Vanderhoof?

How bout everyone sues Rio Tinto for flood damage? Oh right, they own the river levels.
Anyone point me in the direction of the folks that test Kenny Dam for stability, fractures, earthquake assessments?

Gtizz you should check historic flooding before the dam.

Comments for this article are closed.