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Two Kootenay Projects included in Provincial watershed ans wetland funding

The Elk River and Columbia Basin areas will both have more staff to monitor the waterways thanks to $1.5-million in provincial funding.

The B.C. Government said the economic recovery investment will help create 750 jobs to restore the province’s watersheds and wetlands.

In the Columbia Basin, Living Lakes Canada will train 25 people to monitor and collect data from water-deficient areas around the region.

“The data will provide a better understanding of diminished water resources, droughts and flood events to help communities make decisions about water resources and adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said the Provincial Government.

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The project will use one million dollars from the province to focus on monitoring and restoration in the Upper Basin area.

The Elk River will have more staff to monitor the waters to ensure the ecosystem remains habitable for local fish species, such as the west slope cutthroat trout.

“The Elk River Alliance’s community-based watershed monitoring initiative focuses on volunteers collecting samples and data from key Elk River tributaries to identify trends in ecosystem health. Volunteers will also assist with community outreach to promote the importance of healthy watersheds,” said the Province.

The B.C. Government is supplying $500,000 to the project to monitor the health of the Elk River tributaries.

B.C. hopes the investment will help its waterways stay resilient and healthy into the future.

“Investing in watersheds is vital to the continued health of our land and rivers by ensuring our soil is protected and that our fish populations remain healthy,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Through Nation-to-Nation consultation, we’re moving forward together on watershed rehabilitation and protection initiatives across the province that support people and build a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Through StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, $27 million have been dedicated to about 70 watershed and wetland initiatives, including the Columbia Basin and Elk Valley project.

This initiative is included as part of the B.C. Government’s $10-billion COVID-19 response.

“Our StrongerBC plan is creating jobs and helping communities in all regions of the province recover from the pandemic,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “These projects are vital, not only because they provide good-paying jobs to help people emerge from the pandemic on a stronger footing, but because they also strengthen our crucial watersheds and wetlands for future generations.”

The projects approved for funding are all slated for completion by this December.

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