A number of problems plague the Vanderhoof watershed which in turn affects the whole community.
“Certainly the watershed is very important we’ve always thought that,” said Gerry Thiessen, Vanderhoof mayor. “I think the health of our community depends on how we embrace the watershed area.”
Wayne Salewski, founding Director of the Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society, presented to Vanderhoof town council a number of problems and opportunities for funding in the area.
“We’re trying to find partners and identify bigger watershed planning issues that are there,” said Salewski. “And Murray Creek is an important part of our whole program but it’s just one of our 32 streams. We’re working hard in identifying the bigger picture issue rather than just a single watershed.”
The Water Stewardship Society has been working with locals for a number of years to help clean up the rivers and creeks and get them to be healthy fish-bearing systems.
The work they are doing for Murray Creek, Wayne wants to replicate for Stoney Creek.
Stoney Creek is quite swampy and gross at the moment, and with it placed on several nature paths in the area, cleaning it up is a good image move for the community.
“Stoney Creek has a whole whack of problems, it’s bizarre,” said Salewski. “And we want to understand what the watershed is about. So we’re willing to work with Saik’uz, First Nations, Vanderhoof and get a plan together that includes input from the landowners and the community.”
“A lot of our work in the last year is in getting NEWSS launched so that’s all the streams under one set of governance. We’ve actually spent the last year and half making funding proposals working with the NEEF management committee in order to qualify for what they’ve designated as $200,000 annually for us.”
These funds could go to the restoration of the creeks but it’s important to remember that Murray and Stoney Creek are only two of 32 streams that the society is looking at in the Vanderhoof watershed area.