RDCK Watershed Governance Initiative

Nelson, BC: The RDCK has completed Phase 2 of the Watershed Governance Initiative (WGI): Data Collation and Mapping and continued relationship building.

From May to August 2021, following months of planning and continued relationship building, the Watershed Governance Initiative team piloted the Data Collation and Mapping project to create a user-friendly map to access existing data related to watersheds. The 16 weeks of work included research, surveys, interviews, and numerous meetings with community groups and watershed stewards.

“The WGI Data Collation and Mapping project sought to provide free, centralized, relatively easy to use, relevant and up to date watershed data,” said Paris Marshall Smith, RDCK Sustainability Planner. “We met with groups from across the region, who provided time, energy, stories, and information about their experiences of protecting their watersheds. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with RDCK residents. We look forward to continued collaboration as we navigate the pressures faced in RDCK watersheds including governance, development, climate crisis, geo-hazards, industrial activity and the unknown and compounded.”

The WGI Data Collation and Mapping project has provided:

  1. Increased understanding of the great number and diversity of drinking water systems in the RDCK;
  2. Increased understanding of the pressures (governance, development, climate crisis, unknown and compounded, geo-hazard, industrial) facing watersheds;
  3. Increased relationships with those who are working to protect their watersheds and understanding of the challenges encountered;
  4. The creation of the Watershed Governance Initiative Web Map to collect and display existing data; and,
  5. The creation of the Watershed Governance Initiative Story Map to demonstrate how the web map data can be used by local community groups.

“The RDCK is a landscape of great beauty, comprised of many creeks and watersheds. As watersheds naturally evolve and are affected by resource extraction and climate change, it is critical to protect the long term health and safety of not only our communities, but also of the land,” said Aimee Watson, RDCK Board Chair. “In addition to the protection of drinking water, watershed concerns such as slope stability, wildfire resiliency and ecosystem health must be included in our planning and decision making. The RDCK Watershed Governance Initiative is a multi-year initiative aimed at understanding the context of each unique watershed while helping us, as a local government, better understand how to protect and ensure a healthy future for watersheds and the ecosystems within them.”

The success of this pilot will lead to Phase 3 of the Watershed Governance Initiative with a focus on continued relationship building, planning, mapping and monitoring as outlined below:

  1. Engage with the First Nations whose traditional lands lie within the Regional District;
  2. Continue to support community led watershed mapping;
  3. Support a natural asset management pilot project for RDCK water systems; 
  4. Support regional water monitoring; and,
  5. Support community led Nature-Based Planning.

Phase 1 focused on building organizational capacity and determining the scope of project. In the spring of 2020, the Regional Watershed Governance Initiative Report was produced, providing guidance to the RDCK of its role in watershed governance.

More information can be found at https://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/sustainability-environmental-initiatives/water.html or by reaching out to Paris Marshall Smith pmarshallsmith@rdck.bc.ca.

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The content on this page was last updated September 7 2021 at 1:38 PM