For the past 26 years, the Fraser Basin Council has supported a range of initiatives as facilitator, educator or program manager: community sustainability planning, disaster risk reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation (including for cleaner transportation and housing), sustainability education and indicators and much more. We are inspired to work with BC communities and organizations that are advancing sustainability through collaborative action.
Here are examples:
Greening BC’s Fleets
Over the years, FBC has partnered on many key green transportation initiatives. These include:
Fraser River Debris Trap
The Fraser River debris trap, located near Agassiz in the Fraser Valley, is a uniquely designed set of floating booms that intercepts large volumes of natural wood debris (45-55,000 cubic metres on average) during spring high water. Without the trap, woody debris would move into the lower reaches of the river and Strait of Georgia, posing a risk to human safety, navigation and foreshore structures.
A 2006 study commissioned by FBC shows that the trap offers widespread public benefits, avoids at least $8 million in costs of clean-up and repairs, and pays for itself 12 times over.
FBC was secretariat for the Fraser River Debris Trap Operating Committee for 12 years and worked to secure multi-party funding agreements to operate the facility. The future of the trap was secured when the Province of BC and Port Metro Vancouver stepped up a long-term funding and management agreement, beginning in April 2011. The debris trap continues to provide value by helping to safeguard the Lower Fraser from large amounts of woody debris during spring freshet each year.
Tackling Invasive Plants
Alien invasive plants are a big problem in BC. They disrupt natural ecosystems, overrun agricultural lands and harm local economies.
In 2001 the Fraser Basin Council brought together government, business and community interests for scientific grounding on the issues and to find new ways to collaborate. This led to an Invasive Plant Strategy for BC and creation of an Invasive Plant Council (now the Invasive Species Council of BC, or ISCBC).
Over 300 organizations province-wide have pledged support for the strategy. ISCBC is there to help educate and engage different sectors, encourage integration of data inventories, oversee research on biological controls and economic impacts, and assist regional committees. Read more.
One of FBC's early success stories was in 1998 when we helped bring greater public attention to a serious pollution problem at the old Britannia Mine site, located partway between Vancouver and Whistler.
An active copper mine from 1902 to 1974, Britannia Mine became the largest single point source metal contamination problem in North America. Acid Rock Drainage from the old mine had severely damaged marine life in Howe Sound. Contaminated water, soil and sediments at the site were also a significant obstacle to the long-term economic and social development in the community.
FBC invited all orders of government, private sector bodies and the community to come together on a solution. As a result of that early work, later negotiations among the parties, and new contaminated sites legislation, progress was made. A settlement agreement was later reached between the Province and mine owners.
A new water treatment facility was built in 2005, and the results were worth it. Britannia Beach is today a vital, healthy community. And by 2011 Pink salmon were once again beginning to appear in the area — something hardly imaginable a decade earlier.