Rossland Streamkeepers want you!

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
February 11th, 2016

A  recent but very community-oriented  Rosslander wants more information about the water courses around Rossland – those that supply us with water, and those that run through our community.  If you share his interest, or can provide any information about the history of local streams, please show up at one of the information sessions he has set up at the Rossland Public Library meeting room  on February 25 and March 3, 2016,  from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

Bill Coedy is the man, and he wants to start a Rossland Streamkeepers group.  His background helps to explain his interest:  Bill says he has over 30 years of experience and training in the area of aquatic science ranging from laboratory management to regulatory monitoring programs, and that he holds a MSC in Chemistry, a Diploma in Environmental Toxicology, a Certificate in Project Management and recently a Field Certificate in Environment Canada’s program called Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN). 

Streamkeeper groups are established in many communities.  Locals may be familiar with some of the work of the Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers; Gerry Nellestijn of that organization has, in years past, come to Rossland to introduce school classes to Streamkeepers by way of exploring a local stream and its biota.  He was responsible for bringing to the attention of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans the fact that an old tailings pile from the defunct Yankee  Girl mine was contaminating the Salmo River,  which ultimately led to a remediation project to protect the river from further degradation.  

Streamkeepers monitor water quality and flow and the organisms living in the water; they track changes over time, and report these changes.  Training in this citizen science activity is available through CABIN, noted above, and through organizations such as the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation and  Project Watershed .  

Bill says, ” We are looking for volunteers and also stories, facts and points of interest on our creeks. We encourage citizens to take a little time and complete a volunteer recruitment survey so we can get to know some of your concerns and ideas.” 

Water is a hot topic these days, as citizens hear about depletion of aquifers in agricultural regions from over-use and extended drought,  the privatization of water sources,  the fact that many Canadian communities do not have safe drinking water,  contamination of watercourses by tailings pond breaches such as Mt. Polley,  changes in the patterns of precipitation from climate change, pollution of groundwater and water wells by fracking chemicals in both Alberta and northern BC,  and water pollution from pipeline ruptures across the continent.

Locally, most Rosslanders know that our water supply is entirely dependent on precipitation, as it comes from three rather small creeks flowing from the Rossland Range north of Rossland; that many of our water supply pipes are ancient;  that Trail Creek is, or was recently, a fish-bearing stream; and that it has been covered over — culvertized — through some  parts of  Rossland. 

Bill anticipates that Rossland Streamkeepers  will work collectively to achieve several goals. “There are many watershed stewardship organizations in the Kootenays, and we can foster cooperation and collaboration on projects and information on the protection of our aquatic resources in a changing climate.  Through our organization building process we will be in a better position to acquire and generate information and data for  management of our aquatic resources so we can provide input to decision makers on land-use planning and development.”

If you are interested but cannot make either of the information sessions,  contact Bill through rosslandstreamkeepers@gmail.com

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