City partners with two British Columbia First Nations to restore river and watershed

In the Alouette watershed of British Columbia, Canada, water runs from the mountains and ridge tops into the local ponds, streams, and lakes. The water eventually flows into the Alouette River, then into the Pitt River and Fraser River before finally reaching the Pacific Ocean.

The non-profit Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) was formed in 1993 by dedicated citizens who recognized there needed to be a strong community voice to advocate for the restoration and protection of the Alouette River and its watershed, which has been severely damaged by the 1928 construction of the Alouette Dam.

The new Alouette River Ecosystem Partnership (AREP) was recently created to improve the water resource management of the Alouette River and surrounding ecosystems in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The partnership comprises the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, the City of Maple Ridge, and ARMS.

The goals of the Alouette River Ecosystem Partnership are to:

  • Create a functional watershed ecosystem in the Alouette River area that restores all seven species of Pacific Salmon;
  • Provide a scientifically sound and functional fish passage that reconnects the watershed above the dam with the river for the benefit of all species of salmon and freshwater fish;
  • Protect and enhance the current freshwater species;
  • Enhance wildlife resources in the ecosystem; and
  • Develop recreational and educational opportunities with BC Parks and other partners.

The Alouette Watershed represents a significant resource for our community. Our partners with the Katzie First Nation and Kwantlen First Nation have helped educate us on the historical and cultural significance of the ecosystem. The environmental stewardship by the dedicated ARMS volunteers has demonstrated what is possible in fish and wildlife restoration. We trust that BC Hydro sees the benefits in supporting the goals of the partnership in our community and for their customers around the province,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden.

Featured photo (courtesy of AREP) shows Alouette River Ecosystem Partnership representatives of the Katzie First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation, the Alouette River Management Society, and BC Hydro.

See full article by Cheryl Ashlie in Water Canada.

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