BC Living Rivers Trust Fund
The BC Living Rivers Trust Fund, created in 2002, is a provincial legacy fund to invest in the health and sustainability of BC’s watersheds. This is critical, given the serious challenge of climate change, changes in hydrology, declining salmon stocks and multiple demands for water.
BC’s Watersheds — A Good Investment
Between 2006 and 2012, the BC Living Rivers Trust Fund invested $21 million in 450 priority watershed projects. These investments were in the Fraser Basin (Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program), Georgia Basin-Vancouver Island and Skeena Basin. A further $1 million was put into the Fund in 2012-2013. The work has focused on:
- watershed planning and management
- stewardship and restoration of freshwater/estuary habitat
- sustainable fisheries management
- education and engagement of the public.
As an overview, see this Living Rivers video from 2009.
A Success Story
The success of the BC Living Rivers Trust Fund is reflected in many ways;
- Prominent British Columbians helped found and continue to support the Living Rivers Trust Fund
- The Fund is soundly managed through an independent Advisory Group and a respected financial manager (Vancouver Foundation)
- As founding delivery partners, the Fraser Basin Council, Pacific Salmon Foundation and BC Conservation Foundation have contributed their experience in fund administration, program management and watershed work
- The Province’s investment was leveraged nearly three to one (to an estimated $57 million) through federal and other contributions between 2006 and 2012
- The business model offers an effective, efficient and affordable approach to sustaining BC watersheds
- BC First Nations have been actively engaged throughout the program — leading and partnering on projects
- The Fund has helped build a strong, cooperative network of over 150 public, private and non-profit sector bodies with expertise and experience in watershed work — including community groups, educational institutions, agricultural organizations, industry and fisheries interests.
- Over 50,000 members of the public have been engaged in their watersheds through education and volunteer activity
- Important progress has been made in understanding different models of collaborative watershed governance
- Water and watershed science has been advanced through research projects, along with a better understanding of traditional ecological knowledge
- Significant fish habitat sites have been restored or enhanced in the Fraser Basin, Georgia Basin, Vancouver Island and the Skeena, and landowners are more active in stewardship of waterways
- Innovations in fisheries management have been piloted, evaluated and put to immediate use
- There is now a better understanding among all partners, and members of the public, about the challenges facing watersheds, and why we need to manage BC’s water resources for sustainability.
A Good Example — Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program
To learn about Living Rivers investments in the Fraser Basin, see highlights from the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program (FSWP). Also hear from some of the FSWP project partners talk about the value of watershed investments, in the video below.
Video: Project partners share thoughts on the value of FSWP
As set out in Living Water Smart: BC’s Water Plan, there is a need to manage BC's water resources carefully. This will help ensure a sufficient quality and quantity of water for communities, economic activity and ecosystems — now and in the future. If an ongoing provincial commitment is made, the Living Rivers Trust Fund can help secure BC's water future.