The need to protect watersheds and aquatic species led to the formation of Fraser Valley Regional Watersheds Coalition (FVRWC) in September 1997. The idea was to create a coalition of individuals and organizations, from the central valley to the lower Fraser Canyon, working together to encourage communities to take a greater role in watershed management. The result has been…
The first meeting of the coalition brought together various interests concerned over the collapse of the west coast fisheries, which resulted in high unemployment in coastal communities and the realization that fish stocks are not inexhaustible. The purpose was to begin building relationships that would lead to a structured plan for watershed sustainability. Over the next few years the coalition built cooperation, trust and teamwork, and as partners in the Salmonid Renewal Program, completed 40 projects worth $1.3 million.
In December 1998 the coalition became a Fisheries Renewal partner for the Fraser Valley and lower Fraser Canyon. The administrative lead for the partnership was the North Fraser office of Community Futures, which put out a call for restoration proposals. The partnership has since approved over 644 enhancement projects and with about $1.8 million in Fisheries Renewal funding. Projects approved by the FVRWC range from education and watershed planning to mapping and habitat restoration.
With the end of Fisheries Renewal, the FVRWC (now just FVWC) has found new sources of funding to continue protecting and enhancing watersheds throughout the region. There are also new stakeholders, delivering field programs, informing the public about watershed issues and building information systems to support ‘on the ground’ restoration.