Cowichan Watershed Board Announcement
Date: January 28, 2010
For Immediate Release
Cowichan Watershed Board Members Announced
Duncan, B.C. – Today Chief Lydia Hwitsum, Chief Councillor, Cowichan Tribes and Gerry Giles, CVRD Chair, jointly announced the newly established Cowichan Watershed Board.
The Cowichan Watershed Board (CWB) is a recommendation of the Cowichan Water Basin Management Plan (the Plan) that was completed in March 2007. The CWB’s mandate is to provide leadership for sustainable water management to protect and enhance environmental quality and the quality of life in the Cowichan watershed and adjoining areas.
The CWB does not have regulatory authority. Its job is to promote wise water management practices throughout the watershed by:
- advocating for the well-being of the watershed;
- guiding and coordinating the implementation of the Plan;
- providing timely, balanced and thoughtful advice to First Nations, federal,
provincial and local government;
- securing stable funding sources to support water management activities, engaging local stakeholders in water management decisions;
- gathering information on and monitoring the health of the watershed;
- providing and accessing specialized expertise and knowledge for sustainable water management in the Cowichan watershed; and
- developing outreach and educational tools to enhance watershed thinking and increase understanding of water science, stewardship and management activities.
“Water is our most precious resource,” said Gerry Giles. “It enhances our well-being and enriches our environment, but if it isn’t managed well it can become a threat to our security. Given the November flooding, the dwindling numbers of Chinook returning to the river, summer droughts and the cultural, recreational and economic importance of water to the Cowichan community, it is time to ensure that we proactively manage this amazing resource. With the appointment of the Cowichan Watershed Board, we have an incredible foundation to build upon our knowledge and to develop capacity around the Cowichan Water Basin.
Lydia Hwitsum spoke of the spiritual, cultural and ceremonial importance of the watershed to the Cowichan people. “Water is a shared resource; it is the lifeblood of our communities. Cowichan is committed to working towards the success of this important initiative. When Cowichan Tribes and the CVRD hosted John Slater the Provincial Parliamentary Secretary for Water Supply and Allocation for a water day this past fall we stressed the importance of establishing this cooperative venture. Clearly from the calibre of their recommended appointments both the Ministry of Environment and Federal Fisheries are taking this initiative very seriously.”
Rob Hutchins was clearly pleased to have been named a Co-chair of the Board with Chief Lydia Hwitsum. “With the establishment of this board we are breaking new ground both in the Cowichan Valley and in British Columbia. We have an important challenge before us, and I am optimistic that through this endeavour we will become better water stewards and in turn develop a model of effective water management for others to follow throughout the province.”
The CWB has 12 members.
- Three appointed from among CVRD directors:
- Mayor Rob Hutchins, Ladysmith, Co-chair
- Lori Iannidinardo, Director Area D
- Klaus Kuhn, Director Area I
- Two appointed from Cowichan Tribes Chief and Councillors:
- Chief Lydia Hwitsum, Co-chair
- Darin George, Councillor
- Four appointed jointly by Cowichan Tribes and the CVRD:
- The Honourable David Anderson
- Mayor Ross Forrest, Lake Cowichan
- Dr. Bruce Fraser
- Tim Kulchyski
- One recommended by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
- Don Radford
- Two recommended by the Ministry of Environment
- Dr. Lorna Medd
- David Slade
The CWB’s first meeting will be at 6 p.m. on February 3, 2010 at the CVRD Boardroom in Duncan.
CWB member bios are attached to the PDF version of this document (link below).
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Lydia Hwitsum, Chief Councillor, Cowichan Tribes and CWB Co-Chair (250) 748-3196
Gerry Giles, CVRD Chair, (250) 701-1756
Rob Hutchins, CWB Co-Chair (250) 210-1471