Paul Demenok.

Column: Shuswap Watershed Council marks productive first year

The Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) Annual Highlights Report, the new Environmental Monitoring System Users Guide and the Water Quality Monitoring Report for 2016 are now available on the Shuswap Watershed Council website at (www.shuswapwater.ca).

The first Annual Highlights covers the period from April 2016 to March 2017 and here are the key results from the first year of the Shuswap Watershed Council:

Water Monitoring

• Co-ordinated water-quality monitoring efforts of up to 17 different organizations to reduce duplication and enrich data base.

• Collected data on over 500 water samples from across watershed.

• Provided grant of $13,500 for additional monitoring studies on the Salmon River,

• Developed a new project for monitoring nonylphenols in Salmon Arm bay

• Created a users’ guide to access the Environmental Monitoring System data base.

Protection Initiative

• Established Water Protection Advisory Committee.

• Entered into a three-year research agreement with UBC-Okanagan to study sources of nutrients in the Salmon and Shuswap Rivers.

• Provided $10,000 grant to Splatsin Development Corporation to clean, restore and fence a two-kilometre section along Alderson Creek.

• Provided financial support to North Okanagan Dairy Extension Advisory Committee to fund a speaker at annual seminar.

Safe Recreation

• Established a partnership with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) to create a safety campaign.

• Provided a grant of $1,200 to RCM-SAR for life-jacket loaner station.

• Purchased and distributed water safety whistles to recreation enthusiasts.

Advocacy

• Created and distributed numerous communiques about the Shuswap Watershed Council and its work.

• Placed ongoing posts on Twitter and Facebook and the watershed council’s website.

• Advocated for greater action by province on aquatic invasive mussels

• Provided detailed meeting summaries online.

Administration and Governance

• Finalized terms of reference for the Shuswap Watershed Council.

• Established criteria for community representation and welcomed three new community representatives in 2016.

• The council meets four times per year .

• Expenses were $177,426 in 2016, which is $81,314 below annual budget.

Overall, I think it has been a very good first year for the Shuswap Watershed Council.

As compared to the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process program, the Shuswap Watershed Council is much more focused on the primary objective of water quality.

We have a major research study underway with UBCO and in three years, we hope to have a much better understanding of the sources of nutrients in our watershed.

I think the communications and collaborations have been greatly improved and I would like to sincerely thank the Fraser Basin Council and all the members of the Shuswap Watershed Council steering committee for their dedication and commitment to this important program.

If you are interested in learning more about the water quality in the Shuswap watershed, I would encourage you to see the 2016 Water Quality Results available on the Shuswap Watershed Council website at www. http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/Shuswap_Water.html.

Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District

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