Check out our recent chat with Kendra Nelson, social media coordinator with Rivershed. The Rivershed Society of British Columbia is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the health of the Fraser Watershed and its riversheds through Watershed CPR (Connect, Protect, Restore).
Rivershed formed in the wake of Fin Donnelly’s 1995 “Swim for Life” down BC’s longest river, the Fraser. We are working with a movement of Watershed Defenders to help protect and restore salmon and wildlife habitat in each of the Fraser’s 34 riversheds. Our vision is to see the Fraser Watershed as a resilient watershed, with salmon, people and economies flourishing in rivershed communities. Our mission is to connect, protect, and restore the Fraser’s 34 riversheds. Rivershed’s work is primarily focused within the Fraser Watershed. Consisting of 34 intricately linked and interdependent riversheds, the Fraser Watershed encompasses 21 million hectares, accounting for more than a quarter of British Columbia. It is home to about 1.2 million people—more than 60 percent of BC’s total population. The Fraser River is an integral part of a complex and vibrant ecosystem that supports over sixty fish species—including all salmon species—as well as more than 300 types of resident and migratory birds and dozens of iconic mammals, such as grizzly bears, caribou, and moose. People, communities, and wildlife depend on the Fraser River and its Watershed for their prosperity and survival. Rivershed acknowledges our position as settlers on Indigenous, and often unceded, untreatied land in what is today called British Columbia, Canada. Our organization works to understand the responsibilities of this privilege, and we aim to engage, promote, and support Indigenous-led Watershed CPR. Our work values Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science in our effort to build a resilient Fraser.
How does Rivershed contribute to ocean conservation?
- Rivershed is developing a Watershed Defender Movement across the Fraser Watershed. The Watershed Defender Movement creates a unified voice for priority campaigns and restoration projects to achieve Watershed CPR (Connect. Protect. Restore) goals.
- Rivershed Programs include:
Visualization Tool: Working with the Watershed Defender Movement, Rivershed is developing a visualization tool that presents a vision of a protected and restored Fraser Watershed. The Visualization Tool will use visual materials such as renderings, videos, and animations will show the value of restoration and protection for a resilient Fraser Watershed. This tool will be used by the Watershed Defender Movement to elevate and support regional campaigns and encourage public support and capital investments for a resilient Fraser Watershed.
- Watershed CPR Education Program: The Watershed CPR Education Program is a self-guided, virtual learning experience all about the Fraser River. Through a series of engaging activities and interactives, users learn about the wildlife that inhabit the Fraser, the First Nations who have lived here since time immemorial, conservation issues, and how to “perform Watershed CPR” and become a Watershed Defender. This program offers two unique experiences for children and young adults who want to learn about the Fraser. https://watershedcpr.canadiangeographic.ca.
- Foodlands Corridor Restoration Program: Rivershed is working to restore habitat along the watershed through the Foodlands Corridor Restoration Program. We are collaborating with local Indigenous communities and agricultural landholders to restore portions of private land adjacent to waterways along the stɑl̓əw̓/Fraser River*. The intention is to create continuous corridors of natural areas that reflect the diversity of values that the land represents, both from a western farming perspective and from a traditional fishing, hunting and harvesting perspective. Using a decolonized approach to habitat restoration, Foodlands features collaboration with local Indigenous communities through the co-design of corridor sites, the integration of traditional knowledge and language, and the creation of local jobs.
* “stɑl̓əw̓” is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for the Fraser River. hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is the Downriver dialect of Halkomelem; one of many Indigenous languages spoken across the Fraser Watershed.
What are your future goals?
- With salmon stocks across the Fraser Watershed falling, climate change posing an ever-increasing threat, and biodiversity loss being evident, now is the time for a watershed-wide effort to create a resilient Fraser. By 2030, we envision the Fraser as a resilient watershed with salmon, people and economies flourishing in rivershed communities. To achieve this, the Rivershed Society of BC (Rivershed) is implementing Watershed CPR (Connect, Protect, Restore). We will work with our network to connect 100,000 Watershed Defenders, protect 30% of the Fraser Watershed and restore 5% of the Fraser Watershed by 2030. We are building a Watershed Defender Movement to create a unified voice across the Fraser for priority campaigns and restoration projects to achieve these Watershed CPR goals.
What is your favorite Fin Pin?
- The sockeye salmon, of course!
How can you help?
- Join our Watershed Defenders movement! The Watershed Defender Movement (the Movement) is dedicated to working together to implement Watershed CPR to transform the Fraser into a resilient watershed. You can join here: https://rivershed.com/connect/
Support our work to connect, protect and restore the Fraser Watershed and sign up to become a member of the Rivershed Society of BC here: https://rivershed.com/become-a-member/