Connected Waters Campaign Update by Lina Azeez
What is Connected Waters all about?
The Fraser River and its tributaries, home to the largest collection of salmon runs in the world, have been heavily degraded through urbanization and agriculture. Most of the flood infrastructure, installed to protect homes and farms from flooding, also blocks fish from accessing valuable overwintering and rearing habitat.
Connected Waters aims to restore salmon habitat by upgrading to fish-friendly flood infrastructure to improve the movement of water and fish, and with restoration works like riparian plantings and removing invasive species.
We are talking to everyone!
Over the past year we’ve been reaching out to all levels of government, local first nations and first nation led organizations, local farmers, concerned residents and the recreational communities all with the aim of building understanding around the issue and finding ways to work together. We are full steam ahead for this year with presentations, panel discussions and community meetings scheduled into spring.
We’ve hosted and co-hosted events
With the support of our energetic volunteers, we have hosted canoe tours, invasive plant pulls, a big planting project on the Katzie Slough and attended numerous events to spread the word about the importance of rebuilding salmon habitat in the lower Fraser.
Mapping the way forward
If you’ve not seen it already, we’ve created an awesome map highlighting waterways impacted by flood infrastructure. It’s sobering to see the extent of the issue (over 1,480km) but it’s also empowering to see that this problem can be solved with federal and provincial governments supporting municipalities and diking districts to upgrade their infrastructure to be fish-friendly.
Pitt Meadows and Chilliwack Waterways
The communities of Pitt Meadows and Chilliwack are working hard to support fish-friendly waterways. The Friends of Katzie Slough in Pitt Meadows are petitioning their mayor and council to ensure their budget includes money for improving Katzie Slough. In Chilliwack, the Friends of Camp-Hope Slough are doing the same to ensure local waterways become part of the ‘green infrastructure’ of the city.
Research on the Slough
Currently, two BCIT/SFU Masters in Ecological Restoration students are gathering data and studying the Katzie Slough. Their analysis will help us better understand this complex waterway and help us identify the best ways to restore the slough.