NORTH ISLAND AND MAINLAND           Community Advisor: Aleria Ladwig           SEHAB Rep:  Lynne Broekhuizen
Environmental Protection Modernization Plan
The north island region does not have the development problems that are seen within the urban area and generally there is a good relationship between land base users and the government agencies. 
The concern that  we have is this process could undermine the good working relationship by reducing the ability of DFO habitat technologists to work with land base users.  Currently we take a team approach and look for the win/win situation.  
If moving to a matrix means reducing the number of habitat technologists in areas, it is the wrong  move.  Many sites do not fit the cookie cutter type matrix and there needs to be communication between the developer and DFO prior to site development.  DFO needs to be part of the team and the habitat technologist can provide that role.  Auditing is a good idea, but it is still better to prevent than fix.
Volunteer Recruitment  A dilemma with many of our regions, the volunteers are aging and we do not seem to be getting new recruits.  This really needs to be addressed. 
How can we recruit volunteers in today’s busy society?
Education has become a focus on the north island. This will not only increase the fresh water and marine  environmental  awareness,  but  will  encourage  young  people  to  become  involved  as volunteers or possibly direct them in their career choices.
Coho Returns
Coho returns appear to be generally good in our region.  Fish were reported to be late, with one hatchery reporting capturing coho on Christmas Day (that  is dedication!).  The Nimpkish River group captured Chinook for brood stock past Christmas.  Most of the hatcheries managed to get their brood stock although high fall water levels hampered some of the facilities.   The high, dark coloured water restricted escapement counts.  We can only assume they were good based on the brood captures when the water allowed access. 
Stock Assessment
We will  never  be able to credibly give a report  on the state of  the fish stocks without  stock assessments.  There is no credibility to reports unless there is sound technical data to support. 
We desperately need more stock assessment to understand the state of the resource.
Communication with Fisheries and Oceans and the public and even between their departments is extremely poor. 
There are too many people in acting positions within the department.  Employees are frequently put in positions temporarily or are moved.  The lack of permanency in positions has hampered the DFO workers and the community in their ability to form relationships and to protect the resource. 
Enforcement staff are often difficult to contact and volunteers get frustrated with the “telephone tag” that often results when trying to report potential fish habitat degradation issues.
The gap between Enforcement,  other  DFO departments and the volunteer  community groups and the general public needs to be closed and this can only be done with communication.