Fraser Basin Council
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Our History

The Fraser Basin Council works in communities across British Columbia. Both our name and history, however, are grounded in the Fraser River Basin, the land drained by the Fraser River and its tributaries − home to two-thirds of BC residents.

The Fraser ― A River in Need of Help

The Fraser River is at the heart of British Columbia. This is the longest river within BC — stretching nearly 1,400 km from the Rockies to the Salish Sea — and one of the world's great wild salmon rivers. The Fraser Basin is BC's largest, and Canada’s fifth largest, drainage system — 240,000 square km (roughly a quarter of the province).  For a sense of the scale, consider that all of Great Britain, or most of California, could fit within it.

The Fraser River and the Basin have been highly impacted by well over a century of population growth and development. By the 1980s, alarm bells were ringing over the fast pace of industrial activity, urbanization and pollution from various sources. The health of the river was in jeopardy. Although the situation seemed bleak, environmental management agencies believed the river could recover if  steps were taken.

One “watershed moment” came when Gordon Campbell, then Mayor of Vancouver, and John Backhouse, then Mayor of Prince George, challenged each other to "clean up their parts of the river." The joint challenge reminded everyone of the efforts needed all along the Fraser River and across jurisdictional boundaries.

Fraser River Action Plan

In 1990 the Government of Canada identified the Fraser River Basin as a major freshwater system requiring priority action.

From Canada's Green Plan came the Fraser River Action Plan (FRAP). Jointly sponsored by the federal Departments of the Environment and Fisheries and Oceans, FRAP was modelled on the Fraser River Estuary Management Program, which was helping create inter-agency cooperation on estuary management.

FRAP made a good start on restoring the environmental health of the Fraser River and the Basin. The program encouraged collective stewardship and cooperative partnerships, and helped people understand how their actions could improve (or harm) watershed health. FRAP protected wild bird habitat, curtailed the release of toxic wood preservatives, and helped introduce some best management practices and pollution prevention plans for business and industry.

FBC’s Predecessor — Fraser Basin Management Board

The Fraser Basin Management Board was created in 1992 to address some of the river management issues identified in the Fraser River Action Plan. The FBMB was composed of representatives from the four orders of Canadian government (federal, provincial, municipal and First Nations), along with those from the private sector and civil society.

In the course of its five-year mandate, the FBMB demonstrated the value of leaders working together in collaboration on complex issues. In brief, FBMB:

  • shared “who does what” in the Fraser Basin
  • created stronger connections among agencies
  • identified priority sustainability issues
  • launched eight demonstration projects for watershed restoration with multi-interest bodies:
    • Salmon River Watershed Roundtable (Thompson/Salmon Arm)
    • Nicola Watershed Community Roundtable (Thompson/Merritt)
    • Salmon River Watershed Management (Lower Fraser/Langley)
    • Nahatlatch Integrated Resource Management Plan (Fraser Valley/Canyon)
    • Prince George Riverfront Trails Project (Upper Fraser/Prince George)
    • Williams Lake River Valley Corridor Project (Cariboo-Chilcotin/Williams Lake)
    • Alouette River Watershed Project (Fraser Valley/Maple Ridge)
    • Baker Creek Enhancement (Cariboo-Chilcotin/Quesnel).

Charter for Sustainability

In addition to these legacy projects, a key outcome was a strategic plan for the social, economic and environmental health of the Basin. This plan became the Charter for Sustainability.

Creation of the Council

The Fraser Basin Council was created in 1997 as a non-profit organization to continue the the good work begun by the FBMP. The Charter became a touchstone for the new organization and remains so today.

Expanding Horizons

Over the course of its 26 years, the Fraser Basin Council has delivered a wide range programs and services throughout the Fraser Basin and other parts of BC, including initiatives that serve all of the Province. Today our work focuses primarily on three strategic areas: sustainable and resilient communities, climate change action and — as always — healthy watersheds and water resources.

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and throughout BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society. We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

FBC Project and
Partner Sites

Plug in BC:


ReTooling for Climate Change:

FBC Youth:

Climate Action Toolkit: 

Salmon-Safe BC

Contact Us

FBC has offices in Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George. We also have staff located in Abbotsford and Vernon.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff.

Our main office is:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350
F: 604 488-5351

We are grateful at the Fraser Basin Council Society to live and work on the unceded ancestral
territories of the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia.