By Taryn Skalbania/Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance
Council voted unanimously at March 13 meeting to support a staff recommendation to form a Healthy Watershed Committee.
With threats of climate change, pests and disease, forest fires and flooding and heavy commercial use including mining, cattle ranging and logging, Peachland’s two watersheds are in serious need of protection, now more than ever.
Long ago jurisdictions such as greater Vancouver, Coquitlam, Nechako and the Columbia basin realized that a healthy community needs healthy water and healthy water can only flow from a healthy forest.
This is why Peachland is following their lead and the First Nations value of healthy for salmon, healthy for all.
Council should be commended for taking these steps towards ensuring the lands surrounding Peachland that supply our drinking water, shade and temperature control, wildlife habitat, carbon storage and recreational opportunities are protected for our children, grand children and great grand children.
The newly formed committee will consist of members of municipal council, staff, Westbank First Nations, the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance and residents at large.
Like the task force for Climate Change, this committee can examine the threats to our municipal back yard and through research, education, and recommendations, endeavour to minimize those threats.
Jacques Cousteau has been praised for following the mantra “You can’t save what you don’t love, and you can’t love what you don’t know.”
With a need to increase interactions with nature in mind, council’s support of the Healthy Watershed Committee has started a pivotal environmental stewardship program , giving urban residents an opportunity to know, love, protect and be inspired by nature.
The beaver and his lodge can be found on private property within the Peachland watershed, near Glen Lake; once considered pests and eradicated, beaver are now considered a sign of a healthy watershed, (other indicators include salmon, moose and salamanders!) Beaver are being returned to inhabit their former wetlands to aid preservation.