Other Regional Work
Here are some examples of FBC's past projects over the years in the Upper Fraser/Northern Interior region.
Northern BC Solid Waste Forum
In October 2021 the North Central Local Government Association, in partnership with FBC, hosted the first regional conference for local elected officials, industry professionals,
Indoor Radon Study in Prince George & Area
In 2014 the BC Lung Association (BC Lung) and Fraser Basin Council (FBC) worked with community partners in Prince George to carry out Canada’s largest ever community-wide indoor radon testing study and a supporting public awareness campaign. The study has helped paint a better picture of the radon gas risks in the region, and yielded data relevant to BC health policies and BC building construction standards.
Radon is an odourless, colourless radioactive gas that is a known carcinogen. It is released into the air through a breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil, and can enter homes through foundation cracks and other openings. Exposure to indoor radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking and is linked to 16% of lung cancer deaths in this country. People can protect their families by testing for radon in their homes and, if needed, taking steps to reduce radon levels.
The Indoor Radon Study in Prince George
BC Lung and FBC began a radon study in January-February 2014 by distributing 2,000 home test kits to interested residents in Prince George and the surrounding area. After a three-month testing period, 71.5% of participating households returned the test kits for analysis. Of the homes tested, 29% were found to have levels of indoor radon exceeding Health Canada’s guideline (200 Bq/m3). When radon levels exceed the guideline, mitigation to reduce radon is recommended, typically through a modification to the home’s ventilation system. Homeowners can take comfort in knowing that homes with high radon levels can be fixed and that the cost is typically similar to other minor home repairs.
For details of the study outcomes, see Prince George: Community-Wide Radon Testing Results.
Assessing Radon Prevention Measures in New Homes
The Indoor Radon Study in Prince George also focused on assessing radon gas levels in new home construction and evaluating different approaches to radon reduction.
FBC staff worked with local home builders from January to June, 2014 to raise awareness of radon gas and to test for radon in new homes constructed under the 2012 BC Building Code. FBC and BC Lung retained Certified Radon Mitigation Providers to evaluate three variants of radon reduction in a total of 16 test homes.
At the time, a roughed in, capped pipe for a subfloor depressurization system was required by the BC Building Code; such an installation was intended to allow for easier installation of a full vent pipe should it be needed, but it did not permit soil gases to leave the building. Passive radon reduction systems (which have a radon pipe installed to vent radon gas from the soil through the building to the outdoors) consistently reduced radon levels; however, in 5 of the 16 test homes, the indoor radon levels remained close to or above the Health Canada recommended level. The best protection was found in the active radon reduction systems, which use a fan to improve radon venting.
In late 2014, the Province of British Columbia instituted new radon mitigation measures in the BC Building Code. The most significant change to the Code was the requirement for a full radon vent pipe to be attached to the rough-in and exhausted to the outdoors. The Code did not require the addition of a fan; however, a homeowner could add a fan to provide further protection when needed. It remains a good practice for all homeowners in areas with high levels of indoor radon to test their homes – and stay safe.
Natural Resource Management Project Trust Funds
The Fraser Basin Council assumed administrative responsibility for several project trust funds that were previously administered by the Resources North Association (Resources North). Resources North was a BC non-profit society based in Prince George, BC that voluntarily wound down its operations in September, 2015. The projected were:
Independent project committees oversaw the projects to determine use of the funds for completion of scientific research and other project work.
The Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society (NEWSS) is a non-profit organization that is building stewardship partnerships with landowners and water stewards across the Nechako River Basin. The NEWSS vision is to improve the health of the watershed, particularly in the agricultural belt. The society is working to build on the success of restoration work that members undertook in the Murray Creek watershed.
The Fraser Basin Council assisted on the Murray Creek project, facilitating First Nations youth participation and employment. FBC also helped NEWSS in its start-up as a non-profit and on education initiatives. The group is active in streambank restoration, environmental stewardship and education, with interest in watershed planning and aquifer mapping. Learn more on the NEWSS website.
Climate Change Adaptation in Prince George
To support the City of Prince George in preparing for climate change impacts, and help others learn from the experience, the Fraser Basin Council prepared a case profile, funded by the BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative program. The City identified 11 major areas of climate change impacts. These centred on:
Priorities actions included:
The City considered climate adaptation in different aspects of planning, as reflected in its myPG Plan and the Official Community Plan.
To learn about the upper watersheds of the Fraser River Basin, you can take a tour of FBC's interactive presentation “Watersheds and Watershed Health in the Upper Fraser.”
It's an introduction to watershed function, water quantity & quality, sensitive habitat and ecosystems, climate change impacts in the region and more. Explore the topics that interest you most, have fun with our interactive quizzes, and see what steps you can take close to home.
Ready to get your feet wet? Start here!
In 2013-2014 the Fraser Basin Council developed a framework of watershed indicators to help assess the health of watersheds at a local or regional scale. The framework is intended to benefit local, regional and First Nations governments, community organizations and provincial and federal agencies in carrying out their responsibilities in BC’s watersheds.The watershed indicators framework identifies key indicators in five theme areas:
The framework was one component of a three-year watershed project and was piloted in the Nechako Basin to identify indicators and analyze available data and information specific to the region, in collaboration with the then Nechako Watershed Alliance.
Youth and Healthy Living
Youth and Watersheds
FBC helped lead several mentorship projects to connect young people with local watersheds and community groups.
One of these was hosted in the Upper Fraser region from September 2011 to March 2012, thanks to the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program. It was called Northern Fraser Youth Capacity-Building for Watershed Governance.
There were 15 participants, aged 18-24, from the Prince George and the Stuart-Nechako regions. They gathered for a training and skills retreat in the fall, followed by individual mentoring placements, and a final wrap-up session with the mentors in 2012. Mentoring partnerships were created with the Murray Creek restoration project, Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative, Exploration Place, City of Prince George, Northern Bear Awareness Society, Northern Health, and the Potato House Sustainable Community School.
Youth and host organizations were enthusiastic about the experience. For a closer look, see the full project report.
Air Quality and Youth
In 2011 a group of Prince George Aboriginal youth explored air quality issues in the region and opportunities to promote good air quality and healthy lifestyles. FBC hosted the project, including a tour of an air quality monitoring station and a look at Canfor Pulp and Paper Mill operations. Participants arranged for a discussion of air quality issues between Aboriginal youth and Elders at the Native Friendship Centre. Partnership support came from PGAIR, BC Ministry of Health, Canfor, the City of Prince George and Northern Health.
Are you involved in the education of BC youth? Check out the Air Quality Resource Package for Teachers.
Living Life Fully: Local and Traditional Foods
“Living Life Fully” offers northern youth the chance to develop projects on healthy living. When FBC worked with program participants in 2011, the project of choice was FOOD! The challenge was to learn about traditional plants and other locally grown foods — and how to pull these together into scrumptious meals.
To share the experience, participants also organized a baby food prep workshop for young parents, developed signage on traditional plant uses, and maintained a community garden plot. The centrepiece of their efforts is the Local and Traditional Food Recipes booklet, available on the BC Healthy Communities website.
This Living Life Fully project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), TD Friends of the Environment, and Enhance Prince George. Participants were supported through a collaboration of the Fraser Basin Council, Dakelh Elders Society and Future Cents, with support from BC Healthy Communities.
Bike to Work Week
The Fraser Basin Council teamed up with Bike to Work BC in 2009 to organize Prince George’s first-ever Bike to Work Week, showing that cycling can be a safe, viable means of transportation in the city. The event drew over 70 workplace teams and 325 cyclists. Of these, 86 cycled to work for the very first time!
It has been thrilling to see Bike to Work Week continue to thrive and grow.
The BC Rivers Day Music Festival in Prince George is a free, fun-filled community celebration that takes place on the last Sunday each year in September at Fort George Park. The event attracts hundreds of visitors who enjoy a sparkling showcase of musical performers and dancers, as well as displays by local groups to honour watersheds and community stewardship.
FBC was proud to have served on the planning committee between 2002 and 2012.
Watch for details on this year’s event at www.riversdaymusic.org.
Naver Creek Restoration
An ambitious multi-year restoration project on Naver Creek near Hixon has been underway since 2006. The work was needed because of a serious ice jam in January 2005 that put residents and their properties at risk, along with railway, hydro-electricity transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines and Highway 97.
Several sites along the creek have needed rehabilitation to minimize the risks of future of ice jams, floods, soil erosion and property damage, and to protect fish and wildlife habitat.
Coordination of this project is through FBC’s Upper Fraser office.