As Canadians celebrated Canada Water Week last week, and the world celebrated World Water Day, here at home, one of our local Kootenay residents was also celebrated. Nelson’s Heather Leschied — program manager for Wildsight’s Living Lakes Canada water team, one of the founders of the Lake Windermere Ambassadors and Friends of Kootenay Lake, fly-fisher, sailor-in-training and water advocate — was honoured as one of WWF Canada’s Water Heroes, and named a finalist for Water Canada’s Water’s Next Award.
The Water Heroes are Canadians who are working tirelessly to monitor water quality in local waterways, restore habitat for frogs, turtles and fish, repair degraded riverbanks and engage their communities in stewarding local waters. Heather was profiled specifically for her work on the Flathead River.
The Flathead River is a trans-boundary tributary of the Columbia River, located near Fernie. The Flathead River Valley is the only unsettled, low elevation valley in southern Canada. With support from WWF and the Loblaw Water Fund, the Flathead River Biomonitoring Program uses watershed health as a framework for advocating for landscape conservation. The results of the program will provide tools and fill a knowledge gap with respect to forestry impacts on freshwater and fisheries, so that our communities can advocate for the protection of this world-class ecosystem.
Water Canada’s Water’s Next national awards program honours the achievements and ideas of individuals and companies that successfully work to change water in our country.
Heather was nominated for her role in furthering our understanding of water through her leadership in the East Kootenay Integrated Lake Management Partnership, Columbia Basin Watershed Network, and BC Lake Stewardship Society, and for supporting water stewards across the Columbia Basin as a Streamkeepers Instructor and Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network Field Instructor.
World Water Day is marked on March 22 every year as a day to celebrate water, to commit to making a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues and to prepare for how we manage water in the future. In 2015, the theme for World Water Day was ‘Water and Sustainable Development.’
Lindsay CuffWildsight Communication Manager