Here is a selection of past projects in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.
Managing conflicts between wildlife and agriculture, including competing demands for rangeland, can be a challenge. In the Cariboo-Chilcotin, discussions about a range management strategy began in early 2009, with participation of the Province of BC, First Nations, agricultural producers and organizations, and guide, outfitting and hunting organizations.
A working group, later to become the “Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Agriculture-Wildlife Committee,” was formed to look into the economic impact of wildlife on agriculture in the region and propose a strategy to prevent loss of forage, annual crops and livestock. Coordinating the Committee’s work was the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association, BC Sheep Producers and two provincial ministries, with funding from the BC Agriculture Research and Development Corporation (ARDCorp). FBC provided secretariat services. In June 2011 the Committee adopted a draft plan with agreement on these priorities:
Throughout this planning process, there was a shared acknowledgement that Aboriginal rights must be respected in any actions taken to mitigate wildlife impacts on the agriculture sector.
FBC’s Cariboo-Chilcotin regional office is helping enhance collaborative watershed work in the region. This has included providing support to roundtables, such as those focused on the Horsefly River and San Jose watersheds.
Horsefly River Roundtable
The Horsefly River Roundtable brings together a variety of interests, including citizens, government agencies, industries and forest licensees, to maintain a healthy watershed. The focus is on coordinated management of resources, respect for all concerns, and cooperative, positive action.
The Roundtable is a registered non-profit society, and FBC provides secretariat support.
The Roundtable each year hosts the popular Horsefly River Salmon Festival. It also manages riparian habitat restoration projects on the Horsefly main stem, as well as in the Moffat and Woodjam sub-watershed, with a focus on sites impacted by past agricultural practices.
The Horsefly River sockeye run is recognized as one of the major sockeye systems in the province, and the Roundtable is in the process of seeking a “Fisheries Sensitive Watershed” designation for the Horsefly River watershed.
Roundtable participants include agricultural producers, the Land Conservancy of BC, regional staff from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, Xatśūll First Nation, Williams Lake Indian Band, fishing guides and community members.
Learn more at www.horseflyriver.ca.
San Jose Watershed Roundtable
The San Jose River flows northwest from Lac La Hache to Williams Lake in British Columbia’s Central Cariboo region. The river’s main tributaries include Borland Creek, Jones Creek, Missioner Creek and Knife Creek.
The San Jose River watershed is critical to the region and includes the aquifer that supplies the City of Williams Lake with most of its water.
The San Jose Watershed Roundtable was formed in 2013 following a workshop facilitated by FBC during which participants explored developments in collaborative watershed governance. Roundtable members include agricultural operators, community members and regional staff from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, the Williams Lake Indian Band, Ducks Unlimited, City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District and Interior Health.
The overarching goal of this collaborative group is to advance sustainable water management and use in the San Jose watershed by increasing awareness of watershed health issues among water users, the general public and decision-makers.
FBC provides secretariat support to the Roundtable and is helping participants assess options to formalize and carry out their work.
Chad Stump, a TNG Referral Worker and member of ?Esdilagh First Nation (right) and Mike Simpson, FBC (left) display certificates from the Province of BC. The Tsilhqot’in Stewardship Agreement was one of the finalists in the 2012 Premier’s Awards (partnership category). FBC was acknowledged for a supporting role in the process.
The Tsilhqot’in Stewardship Agreement is a strategic engagement agreement between the Province of BC and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) for cooperative land and resource management. The Fraser Basin Council has served as secretariat on this project from the early discussions to completion of the framework and early steps on implementation. Initially signed in 2009 (as the Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement) and renewed in June 2014, the agreement relates to specific territories, primarily west of Williams Lake, which are within Tsilhqot’in traditional territory. The agreement acknowledges Aboriginal rights in the region and aims to create a clear and equitable engagement process with First Nations respecting land and resource activities on Crown land that could impact those rights.
A pivotal component of the agreement is a process for notification and referral of natural resource development applications within the traditional territories of the five member communities. The framework describes engagement requirements and the process for referral and review, which are dependent on region, type of application or activity, and potential impacts. Under the renewed Stewardship Agreement, the Province will work to support Tsilhqot’in economic development, and significant economic engagements are underway. Find the Stewardship Agreement on the TNG website.
The Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail stretches 420 km from the confluence of the Fraser and Blackwater Rivers north of Quesnel, through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, to the Bella Coola Valley. This is part of a network of traditional trails used for many thousands of years by Aboriginal peoples of the Coast and of the Interior.
Historically the trail was important for maintaining ties — and sometimes for waging warfare. It was also a conduit for trading eulachon grease, obsidian, hides, salmon and other goods between First Nations. .
Today the grease trail presents both opportunities and challenges. As always, it connects six First Nations — the Nuxalk (Bella Coola), Ulkatcho (Anahim Lake), Lhoosk’uz Dene (Kluskus), Lhtako Dene (Red Bluff), Nazko and Lheidli T’enneh. In 2011 representatives of these communities formed a working group to explore options for future care and management of the trail.
FBC was pleased to serve as project secretariat for these First Nations in their initial work and collaboration on a new management plan for discussion with the Province. The intent is to manage the trail in a way that brings social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits to their communities and offers better tourism options for consideration.
Between 1950 and 2001, average winter temperatures in the Cariboo-Chilcotin rose 3.5° C. Winters are projected to grow even warmer, with more precipitation falling as rain than as snow, and summers becoming somewhat drier. A changing climate has ripple effects on ecosystems, the economy and community life.
In recent years, FBC has helped with climate change adaptation planning projects in the region. In 2012 the Cariboo Regional District prepared an adaptation strategy, and Xat'sull/Soda Creek First Nation explored climate adaptation in conjunction with its comprehensive community planning process. Both projects were funded by the BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative.
Take a look at the highlights:
Cariboo Regional District
The Cariboo Regional District is creating a regional development strategy (RDS) to guide development over the next 10-20 years. Within this context, FBC helped facilitate a process to address climate change. Through regional and sub-regional workshops in 2011-2012, the District canvassed possible climate change scenarios and related impacts.
Key questions included: What local government services may be vulnerable to climate change? What are the priorities for action? What adaptation options are available for the RDS and in other plans, strategies and operations?
The resulting climate adaptation strategy, adopted by the Regional District in 2012, addressed such issues as water quality and supply, stormwater and infrastructure management, interface fire management and riparian area management. To learn more, see the BC RAC Adaptation Case Study: Cariboo Regional District and the District’s adaptation strategy that resulted from this work.
Xat'sull / Soda Creek First Nation
In March 2012 two Climate Change Adaptation workshops were held in the community of Xat’sūll (pronounced “Hat'sull”) First Nation, also known as Soda Creek First Nation, approximately 30 km north of Williams Lake. The purpose was to explore how an Interior First Nation could incorporate climate change adaptation into community planning processes and decision-making. Xat’sūll First Nation had a Comprehensive Community Planning process underway, and climate change was an important consideration.
Workshop participants discussed climate trend data as well as changes observed over time, and related impacts on the environment and community. They canvassed services that could be affected, including community planning, housing, snow clearing, roads, water, sewer, emergency services, waste management and more. Possible actions were considered, both for mitigation and adaptation.
Recommendations for next steps included the creation of climate adaptation checklists in planning, evacuation procedures, housing upgrades, including those that are energy and water efficient, and continued work to ensure that watersheds are protected under Aboriginal rights and natural resource agreements. For details, see the BC RAC Adaptation Case Study: Xat’sūll First Nation, summarizing this work.
Central Cariboo Art Route
The Central Cariboo Art Route helps residents and tourists visit the studios of artists and artisans in Williams Lake. A self-guided tour brochure is available online and at tourist information kiosks, at other central locations and online.
This is a project of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, the Cariboo Regional District, Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, and by the Community Tourism Opportunities (CTO) program under the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.
Maureen LeBourdais, FBC’s Regional Manager for the Cariboo-Chilcotin, helped establish the Central Cariboo Art Route tour in 2013.
Williams Lake Diversity Mural
Community art can inspire, empower and unite people. That’s the idea behind the community mural installed at Jubilee Place in Williams Lake in 2013 ― to reflect the creativity and diversity of people in the region.
FBC hosted "Embracing our Diversity," a forum in Williams Lake to explore diversity issues and experiences through art and dialogue — and to introduce the mural project. Both the forum and creation of the mural brought people together in a collaborative fashion, encouraging dialogue on ways to address racism, promote multiculturalism and build a more inclusive community.
Thanks to EmbraceBC Arts (Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation) for funding. Project partners include the Canadian Mental Health Association, Boys and Girls Club, City of Williams Lake and PeerNetBC.
Community commitment is alive and well in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Over the years, many grassroots initiatives have emerged in this region. FBC has been able to offer assistance to some, such as by facilitating their early planning meetings and helping founders review options on mandate, governance, funding opportunities and start-up steps.
Here are examples of the work they have underway.
Horsefly River Roundtable
The Roundtable brings together a variety of interests, including citizens, industries, government agencies and forest licensees, to maintain healthy Horsefly community watersheds. The focus is on coordinated management of resources, respect for all concerns and cooperative, positive action. Read more.
Friends of Churn Creek
Friends of Churn Creek is a non-profit society that helps BC Parks achieve a conservation and cultural heritage vision for Churn Creek Protected Area, home to some of BC’s most rare and threatened bunchgrass grasslands.
This area has longstanding importance for First Nations, and it offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, biking and wildlife viewing, as well as carefully managed cattle grazing.
FBC was happy to lend a hand to Friends of Churn Creek as they began their work. “Friends” have been involved in invasive plant control and public education. Visit their site: www.friendsofchurn.ca.
Williams Lake and Area Interface Fire Plan
Fire is no respecter of persons, property, or boundaries. Making communities safer from the risks of wildfire and other natural hazards takes a good plan, coordination of all interests, and a commitment of time and resources.
In 2003 FBC began facilitating sessions on interface fire planning for the City of Williams Lake and surrounding area. We were pleased to see strong participation of responsible agencies and other interests. Thanks to their hard work, a plan was completed and adopted by the City and the Cariboo Regional District in 2005. Today FBC continues to serve as secretariat for the City in the implementation and review of the plan.
The target area for the interface fire plan fans outward from Williams Lake. It includes the area from Deep Creek Reserve to Chimney Valley and east to 150 Mile House. A top priority is to reduce fuel (especially dead trees, brush and wood debris) in interface zones near residential areas.
From 2009-2011, and thanks to provincial funding for community development, crews of resource workers treated 300 hectares of high-risk public lands to help safeguard communities. The work also created the equivalent of 20 full-time positions for a year, of benefit to unemployed resource workers during the economic downturn.
Private sector land users and individual residents also play a critical role in the success of the plan by taking preventive action on their own land.
Quesnel and Area
FBC offered support for the development of a Quesnel and Area Community Wildfire Protection Plan, adopted by the City of Quesnel in 2007. Our role was to facilitate meetings of local government, First Nations, the forest industry, fire experts and the public.
The City of Quesnel has posted the plan on its website, along with videos on wildfire prevention.
FBC frequently helps local government and First Nations with public engagement or planning on local issues, including those that impact community health and safety.
We have, for example, facilitated public meetings on collaborative water governance in the San Jose Watershed, helped the Cariboo Regional District address erosion and flood impacts on the Cottonwood River, and facilitated discussion at Community to Community Forums. Contact us for more information.