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Key Elements of Stewardship for the Dawson Creek Domestic Watershed

Watershed stewardship program efforts are generally aimed largely at anticipating and preventing further human-induced impacts caused by sediment (turbidity), organic material (total organic carbons), artificial contaminants (pollutants) and other quality concerns (bacteria, pathogens) from various land-use activities. Over the years there has been a rapid expansion of stream crossings and other linear developments in the watershed which may impact upon seasonal (empheral) and year-round flows. Particular concern to the City is the cumulative effect on water quality and supply over decades with rapid and combined expansion of resource-uses. While government measures, regulations and recommended industry best management practices all strive to protect the environment, adverse impacts do occur during resource development and operations. When identified by watershed users or during compliance monitoring, such issues can be addressed and remedied. As we work hard to paint the picture about the patterns of surface and ground-water flows (hydrometric data gathering) and water quality tracking, our vision is to build our capacity to better anticipate just what effects are being created from changing climate and land-use throughout the community watershed. Still other emphasis is given annually to the assessment and management of our headwater source at Bearhole Lake where a water control structure (weir and fish-ladder) was constructed to create additional storage (reservoir) under Permit to the City through BC Parks.

Key aspects of the City’s stewardship program includes a 3 year watershed baseline research program in partnership with the University of Northern BC, public education and extension activities, as well as liaison with government and industry to increase collaboration for watershed management. In Dawson Creek, and throughout BC, stewardship groups have also been recognized for their vital role in fostering watershed stewardship action and an environmental ethic despite the many challenges they face. Other efforts will be aimed at increasing greater water-use efficiency through appropriate City policies/bylaws, municipal water-smart planning and infrastructure development for sustainable water use.

Attendees of the July 2016 Pacific Streamkeepers Training Course hosted by the Dawson Creek Watershed Society