PRINCE GEORGE, BC--(Marketwired - October 21, 2015) - The Nechako Watershed Roundtable, a new community initiative launched today, will work to bring together diverse interests to protect and improve the health of the Nechako watershed for current and future generations.

The Roundtable is a collaborative group that includes representatives of BC First Nations, provincial agencies, local governments and other organizations with responsibilities and interests in the watershed. The Roundtable plans to educate on the health of the Nechako watershed, provide information for decision-makers on key watershed issues, and undertake stewardship initiatives.

A public launch event, with presentations, takes place this evening, October 21 (5:30 pm to 9:00 pm) in the atrium of the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, will attend as a special guest. The inaugural meeting of the Roundtable takes place the next day.

"The Roundtable wants to inspire good decision-making by helping leaders in all sectors support the long-term health of the Nechako watershed," said Terry Robert, Senior Regional Manager for the Fraser Basin Council's Upper Fraser office, secretariat for the Roundtable. "Everyone has a role to play - and if different interests work together, the future is bright."

The Nechako watershed -- a large river system in north-central BC -- is facing significant challenges, including impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and salvage logging, climate change, and the diversion of water. Robert says that water management issues are complex, and that everyone who is committed to responsible resource development will benefit from a better understanding of cumulative impacts.

A dialogue began in 2012 among different organizations within the watershed, which came together informally as the Nechako Watershed Alliance. In the spring of 2015, participants decided to form a watershed roundtable that includes local, provincial and First Nations agencies, as well as community groups, academic and research communities and the general public. The composition of the panel is expected to evolve, and the Roundtable intends to engage industries working within the watershed.

Guided by a core leadership committee, the new Nechako Watershed Roundtable intends to create a strategic plan to prioritize projects. The Roundtable includes participants from the:

  • Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council
  • Cheslatta Carrier Nation
  • City of Prince George
  • District of Vanderhoof
  • Fraser Basin Council (Secretariat for the Roundtable)
  • Fraser-Fort George Regional District
  • Integrated Watershed Research Group, University of Northern BC
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
  • Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society
  • Northern Health
  • Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
  • Saik'uz First Nation

The Fraser Basin Council serves as secretariat for the Roundtable.

Note to Media

Media are invited to attend two events:

Public Launch Event for the Nechako Watershed Roundtable
When:
Wednesday, October 21 (5:30 to 9:00 pm)
Where: Atrium, UNBC, Prince George

Meeting of Nechako Watershed Roundtable
When:
Thursday, October 22 (9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
Where: Bentley Centre, UNBC, Prince George

The agenda for both events can be found here: http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/_Library/UFR/NWR_Launch_Agenda-October_21-22-2015.pdf

Contact Information:

Media contacts:

Terry Robert
Senior Regional Manager
Upper Fraser, Fraser Basin Council
E: trobert@fraserbasin.bc.ca
T: 250 612-0252

Denise Palmer Hoskins
Communications Manager
Fraser Basin Council
E: dhoskins@fraserbasin.bc.ca
T: 604 488-5352

Dr. Margot Parkes
Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society
UNBC
E: parkesm@unbc.ca
T: 250 960-6813

Wayne Salewski
Chair
Nechako Environment & Water Stewardship Society (NEWSS)
E: salewski@telus.net
T: 250 567-9542