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Elk River Alliance to host public info session on land use and river health

The ERA is inviting the public to the presentation on Dec. 8
The Elk River Alliance is hosting a public presentation on Dec. 8, 2022, about land use and river health in the Elk Valley. (Submitted by Evgeni Matveev)

The Elk River Alliance (ERA) is inviting people to a community information session on Dec. 8 on land-use in the region and how it impacts the Elk River watershed.

A press release from Evgeni Matveev of the ERA says that the Elk River Watershed Monitoring Collaborative (ERWMC), a partner-led organization spearheaded by the ERA, is hosting its first public event open to the community.

“The event will start with a presentation on land-uses in the Valley, and how they impact the Elk River Watershed, and finish with a question and comment period where citizens will have a chance to voice their concerns regarding river health.”

The event will be taking place at The Arts Station in Fernie on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 7 to 8 p.m., with Matveev, communication and outreach coordinator with the ERA, presenting on the subject of land-use impacts on the watershed.

“Most people have a general awareness of environmental issues facing our water,” he said.

“However, we always hear questions like: what are the selenium levels in the water? How is forestry impacting the water? Is the river healthy?”

“We want to address these questions and provide some ideas for future steps we all need to take.”

The ERWMC had its inaugural annual forum about a year ago, and spent this year bringing partners together to decide on priorities for monitoring.

“Our program is focused on working together to ensure the best data is available to decision-makers, and we want to share our vision with the community,” said Anne-Caroline Kroeger, program manager for the ERWMC.

“This is also a chance for us to hear the concerns of Elk Valley citizens so we can address them with our programming.”

The day after the public presentation, the second annual ERWMC forum will take place, “where partners will discuss future steps for the collaborative.”

“Some future prospects include deciding on monitoring priorities and conducting fieldwork to get a big-picture understanding of watershed health.”

Current partners of the ERWMC program include Teck Resources, Teck Resources, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it, Living Lakes Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, North Coal, Collaborative Monitoring Initiative, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Elk River Guiding Co., and Elk River Alliance.

To learn more about the Dec. 8 event, visit the ERA website or Facebook page.

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