KETTLE RIVER Q&A: Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, questions answered

This new column will focus on answering questions about the Kettle River watershed.

What do you need to know about the Kettle River watershed?

That’s the focus for this new column, where I will answer questions about the Kettle River watershed. I’ll also provide updates on the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB) progress towards the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan.

Today I’m going to answer a question from a recent community event: “What’s the plan all about?”

The Kettle River watershed means all the land, forests, farms, wetlands and streams that drain into the Kettle River (including the Granby River and Christina Lake). The watershed isn’t something that comes from somewhere else and goes somewhere else – it starts right here with our backyards and our decisions.

The management plan is an initiative of the RDKB to understand the watershed and inform the decisions that affect it. The first phase, recently completed, was to study water supply, demand, quality and aquatic ecosystem issues across the watershed. This technical study is now available on our website, kettleriver.ca.

The second phase of the plan is to work with a broad network of stakeholders to understand the range of issues in the watershed and develop recommendations about land and water planning, policy and stewardship.

The resulting plan, due in 2014, will provide a strategic vision for the watershed, with concrete actions to be undertaken by the various agencies and stakeholders who have a role in the management of water and land resources within the basin, including individual citizens.

This fall, we have been actively connecting with the public to learn about watershed issues and understand priorities. You may have received a survey in the mail asking you to share your thoughts; please send this survey in to the address listed by Dec. 31 or fill in the online version at kettleriver.ca/survey – please, only one survey per household.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. We will be sharing the results of the survey early in 2013 and using the findings to help guide our recommendations.

Ask me any watershed questions at plan@kettleriver.ca.

– Graham Watt is Kettle Watershed Management Plan project co-ordinator for the RDKB