Although the Nechako Watershed Roundtable has recently released a new set of strategies to improve the health of the Nechako watershed, it may not be able to help implement them.
That’s because their operational funding ended last month.
“Funding will be critical for the Nechako Watershed Roundtable to continue its work and to help advance the actions proposed in the Nechako watershed strategy,” said Theresa Fresco with the Fraser Basin Council.
According to the roundtable, the health of the Nechako watershed is critical to the long-term social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of all its residents. Yet, this system faces a number of significant challenges.
The changing climate has contributed to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and other adverse impacts; the iconic Nechako white sturgeon have become an endangered species; creeks and streams throughout the watershed have degraded; and the diversion of water out of the Nechako River system continues to impact many aspects of watershed health.
The new strategy report points out that Burns Lake has increased its turbidity over the last 30 years and has a higher algal content than previous years. It also says that mercury may be increasing in the lake as a result of dead trees. In addition, Burns Lake fish have been impacted by erosion and flooding, and there are concerns about loss of habitat and declining moose populations in the region.
“Many projects and initiatives are underway to address these issues; however, there is a need for improved coordination and more effective sharing of knowledge and other resources,” says Fresco.
The Nechako Watershed Roundtable was established in 2015 to address this need for collaboration and to develop strategies to further advance the vision of a healthy watershed.
Key actions proposed in the new report include strengthening education, engagement, and capacity of decision-makers and the public; strengthening data, information and knowledge; and strengthening planning, stewardship and beneficial management practices.
Although specific commitments, resources, lead organizations and timelines have not yet been established, examples of potential partners are provided in the strategy.
Fresco said the roundtable was recently selected as a pilot for a government initiative that will provide funding so that the roundtable can research how it will fund its activities going forward.
You can read the full report at http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/Nechako_Watershed_Roundtable.html