June 11, 2008
Challenges/Issues and Opportunities/Successes of the Volunteer Aquatic Stewards
- Continued frustration with lack of protection, enforcement and habitat degradation due to many impacts.Volunteers feeling that their efforts are so minute to the overall threats to salmon habitat
- Information overload – cannot keep up with the information such as policy, funding, programs, issues, who’s involved.Even if it is just local issues.
- Overwhelmed by the impacts and where to start…ensuring government agents are doing what they say they are supposed to do, working with volunteers, designing projects etc.
- Programs announced and confusion of where and what they are and how they fit into other programs.Don’t want to spend the time figuring it out.
- Volunteers don’t want to be involved in things like meetings, reviewing literature, developing program…they want to show up and plant some trees.
- Decrease in volunteer energy and time available
- Getting communities engaged in projects – groups are good at this
- Public Awareness and Education – multi-faceted approach
- Consistency of local grassroots efforts as opposed to rather than regional, provincial, or federal approaches
- Environmental Literacy of general public has increased which has facilitated more public awareness and education opportunities at a community level
- Steward can leverage; funds, labour, materials like no one else!
Baker Creek Enhancement Society Programs 2007/2008:
We currently manage projects for:
·Department of Fisheries and Ocean (Salmonids in the Classroom)
·Pacific Salmon Foundation: Volunteer work for a Fundraising Dinner Event
·Quesnel Air Quality Roundtable and Ministry of Environment(Public Education and Awareness)
·Support for Idle Free Ambassador from May to August.
·City of Quesnel – Environmental Education, Air Quality Awareness Events and Activities, Interpretive Trail development and Maintenance,
·Over 1500 volunteer hours for help with various programs and events for a dollar value of over $16,0000 per year.
·Oceans Day, environment week, wildlife week awareness activities, Clean Air Day, Commuter Challenge, Rivers Day
·Ongoing Environmental Representation on all community planning initiatives including all Forest Companies Stewardship plans, Official Community Plans and Development Permits.
·Community hikes and cleanups within the watershed
·Telus – Employees Environment Volunteer Clean up/tree planting of Dragon Creek
·TD Bank – Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up of Baker Creek
·Birding in the West Fraser Timber Park wetland.
·Ongoing restoration, stewardship and monitoring projects on Narcosli Creek, Baker Creek and Dragon Creek
·Currently facilitating a Climate Change Action Group.
·School Programming to over 2200 students per year through our Nature Education and Resource Centre
·Wetland hikes, Natural History Presentations, and Open Houses for the general public.
·Coordinated local Environmental Mind Grind with topics on “Watershed Health and Water Conservation”.Over 16 teams participated.
·Earth Day events which include over 600 participants and include watershed conservation activities.
·Development of Mentoring Program between Quesnel and Williams Lake High School Students and Researchers from the Quesnel River Research Center.
·Delivery of Salmonids in the Classroom Program to seven Schools.
·Summer and Spring Day Camps.
·Initiation of a Community River Ecology Centre at the confluence of Quesnel and Fraser Rivers.
·Initiation of Salmon Statues on all Fraser River Crossings.
Gavin Lake Forest Education Society re:water
-all our work is directed towards educating youth
-we are currently teaching 2 related modules
1) Watershed module -explaining how it works and how we can screw it up.
2) The Perfect Stream - demonstrating what makes up perfect Trout spawning habitat
-we also have a few demonstrations of water conservation methods and messages spread around camp. These include signage, xeriscape gardening, a future dual low flush toilet and rain water barrel
It should be noted that all these things are largely due to the great partnership we have with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society and their continuing financial support.
Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society
Water Wise & Watershed Health Program
Water Wise Year three begins:
·In the schools: for a second year in a row since the program began, over 50 elementary school classes, as well as 10 high school classes this past school year received instructional lessons in the areas of watersheds, water chemistry & water quality, waste-water and ground water. In May, and continuing through June, 10 classes that received Water Wise classroom instruction elected to take field trips with Water Wise Instructor to the River Valley where they learn how to test water quality, learn about and identify aquatic species (with Scout Island Nature Centre (SINC) staff), and identify salmon (with Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff). These field trips were made possible with assistance from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
In the Gardens: funding received from Fraser Salmon & Watersheds Program for signage enabled Water Wise to produce eight Low Water Gardening signs that present solutions and information to residents. Tips, information, pictures of drought hardy plants, along with the popular brochures: Xeriscape Gardening, and Water Wise Plant Guides are currently in local garden centers for the rest of the growing season. Our annual Xeriscape Gardening workshop at Thompson Rivers University had almost 60 people in attendance.
In the Community: numerous Water Wise sites and signage continue within the community including the Library, regional elementary schools, and both local high schools. Plans are also underway at Thompson Rivers University, and SINC, as well as the printing of signs for fall distribution within local businesses.
·The Arts Scene: Children’s Water Art Exhibit was on display in the Library for World Water, and Earth Day. As well, Melissa Newberry’s Drama & Dance’s spring break’s Water Play, and Kwaleen’s Assignment Earth,(water wise song portion) are performing at the May 25th Children’s Festival by request from the Community Arts Council.Columneetza’s Media class students created Water Wise video’s and CCCS staff has included them in a brief 15 minute Water Wise DVD (to be viewed at this AGM!)
Media Coverage brief:
oRadio: ads continue, the variety includes those featuring high school students voices. Ads focusing on watersheds and salmon are planned for the fall.
oTelevision: Water Wise Interview summarizing the program has been airing on Shaw TV since April from Prince George to 100 Mile House, and future in-kind Public Service Announcement (PSA) segments in partnership with Water Wise and Shaw TV using local talent from the Arts Council Theatre Group are currently being planned.
oNewpaper: The Tribune featured numerous articles on the Water Wise Program including Instructor Jenny Howell in the classrooms. The Advisor has also run several photos and articles on our efforts within the community. CCCS & Water Wise also wrote and produced numerous articles including ones focusing on Xeriscaping and watershed health (2008 is the year of Sanitation). Many supportive water conservation articles have also appeared in both the local newspapers and weekend editions.
·Student Survey: a local high school student spent one day at work in our CCCS office. Prior to this she created (and distributed) a survey seeking to find out how knowledgeable students and staff were on numerous world and local water issues. The results were published in both newspapers, and this student was asked to present her findings to City Council who took up her challenge to become Water Shepherds
·Watershed Health and Fish Habitat in the Cariboo Chilcotin
oInterior Coho Volunteer Trapping Programran for three years (2003 – 2006) and at this time we are collaborating with Fisheries and Oceans staff to bring together the data and observations of our dedicated volunteers.One initiative is to involve school children in the rescue of hundreds of Chinook in the Kersley creek that were found to become stranded each year as the stream dried up.In the past our volunteer did this alone, Baker Creek Enhancement Society is pitching in on this rescue!
oBiffert’s Pond – a wonderful initiative begun with the development of a local simulation watershed by Wayne & Val Biffert. Water Wise is working with the Bifferts to produce signage, and water wise education to compliment what students learn on site.
oParks Guide 2008-2009 features nine pages on Salmonids of the Cariboo Chilcotin.
Gavin Lake Modules - new CCCS modules The Gavin Watershed and Invertebrates were offered this year, we are now alternating every other year with Ecological Webs and Protecting Species and Spaces and The Perfect Stream modules, as many schools that attend Gavin Lake are split grades and this offers them different classes their second year attending camp.Our instructor has incorporated her water knowledge into this exciting new Watershed module and we are planning for next year to include a winter water module!
Horsefly River Roundtable
- Completed a biological watershed profile of the Horsefly River Roundtable.Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the DFO/MOE Fish Watershed Sustainability Planning.
- Monthly speakers to the roundtable on various watershed topics such as:Water temperatures, Invasive Fish Species, Land Exchanges, etc.To build capacity for decision making on the watershed.
- Completed a day long strategic planning on prioritizing community engagement projects
- Continued work on Stage 2 and Stage 3 of Fish and Watershed Sustainability Planning
- Hosting a community watershed tour on June 19th.
Scout Island Nature Centre and Williams Lake Field Naturalists Update for SEHAB Meeting June 2008
- We just completed another year of Salmonids in the Classroom (11 classes) with the fry release.A total of 270 students and lots of parents released their fry into the Williams Lake River.They also watched fish being dissected, dipped for bugs, played games, looked at intertidal creatures and learned about the Stream to sea connections, walked and looked at habitat and worried about the pelicans waiting to eat their fry.
- To celebrate Rivers to Oceans Week (besides the fry release), the public will join us at SINC to release fish, learn about the Stream to Sea connections, and paint storm drains.This is in conjunction with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (CCCS).
- Our 3 summer staff were trained so that they could teach the Stream to Sea program (using our intertidal tank and fresh water tanks with Chinook)and they have lead 12 school groups through the program.They also lead community groups through the program and tourists visiting the Nature Centre.This program will also be part of our summer youth programs.
- This summer we will have two evening events inviting public to help us net fish for our tanks and learn about the habitat in the Williams Lake River Valley
- We worked with the CCCS all spring doing programs with school classes along the river and marsh in the Lower Williams Lake River Valley.Classes tested water quality with Jenny from the CCCS as a follow up to her “Water Wise” programs in their classrooms.The classes then dipped for invertebrates with SINC staff.
- Spring and fall, we run ecosystem programs in the River Valley that have students comparing, marsh, river, and forest ecosystems
- The Nature Centre is creating a salmon exhibit for the Horsefly Tourists Centre
·Students Working/Learning in Their Watershed
This is a joint program involving the Quesnel River Research Centre, Scout Island Nature Centre, Baker Creek Enhancement Society and School Districts 27 and 28
·Matches grade 9-11 science students with people doing research at the Quesnel River Research Centre—part of University of Northern BC
·There will be a spring field trip to Horsefly River to help with the fry count and to learn how to do a stream assessmentThis is a one day field trip
·Students will then apply for the fall program.They will spend 2 days each fall at the centre assisting researchers doing research infields such as biology, ecology, aquatic sciences, atmospheric and physical sciences and be included in the harvesting and fertilizing of chinook eggs for raising at the research centre
·The program is designed toget youth out in nature working with experts and to offer experiences that will engage all types of learners including those who go on to post secondary training and those who choose to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
·Students will receive credit towards their high school program for this 2 days of work
·Those seeking to go on to post secondary work in sciences can choose to help andbe mentored for the year by one of the researchers and eventually receive credit towards their post secondary work
Advocacy and Restoration Work
·We continue to support the work being done by the City of Williams Lake in the Williams Lake River Valley that is dealing with storm drain run off before it enters the river.We have been raising planting stock, loaning equipment, storage space, and volunteers for the planting of the new marshes that the city is building to accommodate the storm drains
·After 25 years of “discussing” with the rancher and MOF Range Management the need toprotect the lowest marsh in the Williams Lake River Valley, it is now agreed that theWilliams Lake Field Naturalists and Ducks Unlimited can proceed to fence this marsh to protect it from the rancher’s cows.This is extremely important for 2 reasons.The first is that this marsh provides the main source of water to the lower river during critical spawning months and the cows have historically destroyed the riparian vegetation around the marsh.Second, this marsh is located on a public trail that runs along the river.Thousands of people walk there each year including classes that come here for a variety of ecosystem programs.They see the damage done by cows and it is important that they see a riparian edge returned to health.So even though we have to pay for it, this is still considered a success.
·The Williams Lake Field Naturalists were prime supporters of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Strategy recently completed and are part of the next step of forming a Sustainability Committee for our region.They are also involved in discussions related to “Run of the River” plans in the region.
·We are also working on protecting the other side ofthe Scout Island Marsh across from the Nature Centre.This has been a long time issue (30 years) as industry including tire storage was/is allowed in the riparian edge of the marsh (that empties into the Williams Lake River).We helped to encourage the non renewal of the lease for this tire storage, have initiated talks with the city and Ministry of Transport about doing restoration work along this edge, and hope to also encourage the building of a trail along this edge to allow for a wildlife and people corridor between the river valley and the Nature Centre.Neither deer or people should have to out maneuver trucks in order to walk in peace!