The BC Government is allocating one-hundred million dollars toward ensuring the province’s watersheds are healthy for generations to come.
The money is being allotted to projects that maintain and restore watersheds and
It’ll be distributed by the BC First Nations Watershed Table, which includes government and indigenous representatives.
Cowichan Watershed Board chair Tom Rutherford says it’s a positive step forward.
He also says the announcement is the result of hard work by “watershed champions” Cowichan Tribes Chief Lydia Hwitsum and former Chief William Seymour.
Rutherford says they “have been really working hard with elected officials from the province” for several years pushing for something like this.
Chief Hwitsum says “co-developing the watershed security strategy and fund with First Nations, supported by the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC, signals an important shift,” one that values, honours and upholds the natural world we rely on.
Province wide, Rutherford says watersheds face serious challenges, and the Cowichan Valley is no exception.
He says in the last decade, or longer, the valley has experienced some alarmingly low water levels.
Rutherford says unhealthy watersheds negatively impact the ecosystem, salmon and other aquatic resources, the local economy, and our own health.
“Watersheds in BC are under pressure,” according to Rutherford, ”because of climate change, because of increased demand for what’s becoming a scarce resource, because of the way we’ve lived on the land for the last hundred years which has had some pretty serious impacts on how water moves through the watershed.”
He applauds the government for moving forward on such an important part of our ecosystem.
The Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, Nathan Cullen, says watersheds are the lifeblood of the province and for too long not enough has been done to protect them.