Living Rivers Trust Fund Advisory Group announces support for key watershed business plans



    Partnerships to address critical issues facing BC watersheds and fish
    populations.

    VANCOUVER, June 19 /CNW/ - The Living Rivers Trust Fund Advisory Group,
advisors for the distribution of the $21 million fund established by the BC
Provincial Government, has announced its support and funding of its first two
key watershed business plans in British Columbia.
    "The Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program and Living Rivers - Georgia
Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island embody the vision of Living Rivers to
create a legacy for the province based on healthy watersheds, sustainable
ecosystems and thriving communities in British Columbia," said John Woodward,
Chair of the Advisory Group. "We are very pleased to see these two initiatives
move forward to address watershed protection and restoration."
    With funding agreements over four years of $10 million for the Fraser
Salmon and Watersheds Program (FSWP) and $5.5 million for Living Rivers -
Georgia Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island (LRGB), Woodward credits the BC
Government with the vision that led to the establishment of the fund and the
commitment to tackling the needs of sensitive ecological areas in the
province.
    "These two basins are important to the overall health and sustainability
of numerous watersheds in British Columbia," said Premier Gordon Campbell.
"B.C.'s rivers and waterways are the lifeblood of our environment, our economy
and our communities. The Living Rivers Trust Fund serves as our commitment to
protecting and improving B.C.'s rivers, watersheds, and fish habitats for
generations to come."
    The B.C. government established the Living Rivers Trust Fund in 2003,
committing $7 million dollars to protect and restore B.C.'s rivers and
waterways, including vital fish habitat. In May 2006, Premier Campbell tripled
the Living Rivers Trust Fund to $21 million.
    "The Living Rivers Advisory Group has taken a leadership role at a very
strategic level and has been able to leverage the resources of other partners
to get these plans in place," said Woodward. "When the Ministry of Environment
created the Fund, they appointed the Advisory Group to make recommendations
based on best practices, sound business planning and scientific and technical
advice. We are confident that both business plans represent all of the
elements and intent for the Fund's use."
    Pointing to the example of the FSWP, Woodward notes that Living Rivers
was instrumental in bringing about a partnership that involves key
organizations capable of carrying out the work needed to reverse current
trends in salmon stock populations. "Pacific Salmon Foundation and Fraser
Basin Council are the two main collaborators who developed this initiative.
However, through Living Rivers, we were able to bring together a greater
number of organizations that have committed additional resources, including
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society. Other
stakeholders - First Nations, recreational and commercial fisheries and
conservation groups have been instrumental in the development and planning
stages and play an important role in the implementation of projects.
    "Living Rivers - Georgia Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island was
initiated by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation in collaboration
with the provincial Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
They have also developed a collaborative management model and secured many
contributing partners including the Pacific Salmon Commission's Southern
Endowment Fund to undertake projects and develop new governance models that
will facilitate adaptation to climate change. Expansion to the West Coast of
Vancouver Island in 2007 will further strengthen partnerships with First
Nations, regional governments, community interests and the private sector,"
said Woodward.
    And while Pacific salmonids have been identified as the symbolic icon of
Living Rivers, projects in each plan have been developed based on their
ability to address long-standing impediments in achieving healthy watersheds
and include other fish populations such as white sturgeon in the Fraser and
steelhead in both plans.
    "Both business plans recognize the importance of engaging First Nations
and the need for community and public involvement. We're actually quite
excited at the potential they hold as models that can be applied to other
areas in the future - not just in British Columbia but on a national and
international scale," notes Woodward. "Each one has developed goals and
objectives that are based on priorities for their specific areas. For example,
improved water and private land management in the face of climate change was
seen to be a high priority within the Georgia Basin. For the Fraser Basin,
priorities include developing better information tools to allow for improved
responsive and effective fisheries management."

    Backgrounder to follow.


    
                                 BACKGROUNDER
                                 ------------

    Living Rivers Trust Fund
        -  Established by the BC Ministry of Environment in 2003 with a
           $2 million trust fund with the Vancouver Foundation. An additional
           $5 million was added to the fund in 2004 and, in June, 2006, the
           Provincial Government announced that it was tripling the
           investment for a total of $21 million committed to protecting and
           improving BC's rivers, watersheds and fish habitats.
        -  The Living Rivers Advisory Group was established in 2004 with
           Chair John Woodward. Current board members include:
              -  Shawn Atleo, BC Regional Chief, BC Assembly of First Nations
              -  Rick Hansen, Chair, Rick Hansen Foundation
              -  Don Peterson, President, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
              -  Paul Sprout, Regional Director, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
              -  Chris Trumpy, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment
              -  Eva Cheung Robinson, Program Director, Vancouver Foundation
        -  For more information, please contact Tess York
           (Tess.York@gov.bc.ca).

    Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program (FSWP)
        -  A multi-year program that aims to inspire human behavioural change
           for the benefit of salmon and the watersheds they depend on.
        -  The Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Fraser Basin Council jointly
           initiated the FSWP in 2006.
        -  FSWP has established seven program areas:
           1. Education and Engagement (Think Salmon)
           2. Governance
           3. Engage First Nations
           4. Habitat Stewardship
           5. Improved Fisheries Information
           6. Sustainable Fisheries
           7. Water Stewardship
        -  Recent activities include:
              -  Launch of Think Salmon brand, website and public relations;
              -  Development of significant partnerships among governments
                 and other organizations, including First Nations;
              -  Completion of 33 projects related to salmon and habitat
                 restoration.
              -  Research and workshops on the effects of Mountain Pine
                 Beetle on the future of salmon.
        -  Sample of projects planned for 2007:
              -  Community Based Social Marketing Program and pilot
                 development
              -  First Nations Fisheries Dialogue Forum
              -  Watershed Assessment and Data Integration
              -  Riparian Interface Stewardship Program
              -  Habitat Monitoring Framework
              -  Live Capture and Tagging Pilot Project using fishwheel
                 technology
              -  Use of POST technology in research on juvenile Cultus Lake
                 sockeye
              -  Support of the Nicola Water Use Management Plan
        -  For more information, please contact Mark Saunders, Director,
           Fraser Salmon & Watersheds Program, Pacific Salmon Foundation,
           604-664-7664 (msaunders@psf.ca):
              -  Visit www.thinksalmon.com for detailed FSWP project
                 information
              -  For more information on Pacific Salmon Foundation and Fraser
                 Basin Council please visit: www.psf.ca;
                 www.fraserbasin.bc.ca

    Living Rivers - Georgia Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island (LRGB)
        -  The British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) initiated the
           Living Rivers - Georgia Basin Business Plan in 2006 and expanded
           it include the West Coast of Vancouver Island in May 2007.
        -  The LRGB Partnership and Steering Committee consists of leaders in
           non-profit foundations, provincial and federal governments, First
           Nations, environmental stewardship, recreational fisheries, and
           the private sector.
        -  The Committee has adopted a multi-year business plan designed to
           achieve the Vision: Healthy watersheds and sustainable fish
           populations through shared responsibility, stewardship and wise
           use of water.
        -  Through partnerships, the LRGB focuses on improving water flows
           for fish, restoring river and estuarine habitats, enriching stream
           productivity, encouraging community participation and facilitating
           adaptive water management plans and pilot governance projects
           designed to lessen impacts of climate change on high priority
           watersheds;
        -  With an investment of $850,000 from the LRTF in 2006, the LRGB led
           or supported implementation of 20 projects in 2006 worth
           approximately $2.25 Million including the $800,000 First Phase of
           the Stoltz slide remediation project on the Cowichan River and the
           $175,000 Cameron Lake weir upgrade as well as funding assistance
           to 22 additional projects through the Pacific Salmon Foundations'
           Community Salmon Program
        -  The LRTF will invest $1.45 Million in 2007 including $250,000 for
           the expansion to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. LRGB expects
           to lead or support 35 projects worth approximately $3.7 Million
           with the balance of the funding coming from a wide range of
           partners. They include:
              -  Adaptive Water Management Plans on several watersheds;
              -  Development of potential headwater storage;
              -  Sediment reduction, Habitat complexing, salmon passage and
                 stream/lake enrichment projects;
              -  Pilot watershed governance and estuarine restoration
                 projects;
              -  Community salmonid projects.
        -  For more information, please contact Al Lill, Manager Living
           Rivers - Georgia Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island, BC
           Conservation Foundation, 778-338-4366 (alanlill@shaw.ca) (cell:
           778-686-4366).
    





For further information:

For further information: To arrange for an interview with Mr. Woodward
or a spokesperson for either the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program or
Living Rivers - Georgia Basin and West Coast Vancouver Island, please contact:
Jane McIvor, c/o McIvor Communications Inc., Direct line: (604) 633-9022,
Cellular: (604) 418-8546, E-mail: jane@mcivor-communications.com

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LIVING RIVERS TRUST FUND ADVISORY GROUP

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