For World Rivers Day, 29 September 2013, WaterWealth joined in the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society's (CVRCS) celebration and cleanup at the Chilliwack Fish and Game clubhouse on Chilliwack Lake Road.
The Chilliwack/Vedder River has always been a special place for people who call this region home. Before Europeans settled in the region there were Stó:lō settlements throughout the Chilliwack River watershed from Sxótsaqel (Chilliwack Lake) to the Stó:lō (the Fraser River). The Chilliwack river and its tributaries are home to a variety of sacred sites. The river is also well known for white water rafting and kayaking, is an extremely popular fishing site and feeds the aquifer that Chilliwack relies on for its drinking water.
As land use in the Fraser Valley intensifies there are challenges to all watercourses and the Chilliwack River watershed is no exception. From the early 20th century diversions that altered the course of the river and drained Semá:th (Sumas) Lake, to recent and proposed gravel mining, independent power projects, recreational uses and illegal dumping, many activities can have impacts on the watershed.
On World Rivers Day, despite the rain, some 300 good people came out to celebrate and steward the beauty and bounty of the Chilliwack/Vedder River by cleaning up refuse all along it's length. Turning this...
This was the 3rd CVRCS river cleanup of this year and the 40th that they have organized since 2002. Volunteers are provided garbage bags, gloves and pick-up tools to gather garbage and dumpster bins are on hand to receive it. A CVRCS director coordinates where teams are sent to get the most benefit from the volunteer time given. Sheila and I were sent to a section of the Vedder Canal and were pleased to find it in not too bad shape. It seems a lot of the folks who use that area must be looking after it too and packing their garbage out with them. The bulk of what we cleaned up came from the gravel pit area near the south end of the canal where partiers had left a fair bit of litter and recycleables.
At noon lunch was provided as people congregated back at the clubhouse. The spread of food was impressive with veggies and salads and BBQ and deserts and of course lots of coffee.
Speeches were spoken by such as FVRD Area E director David Lamson who also spoke on behalf of other elected officials who had been invited but who were attending other commitments on Rivers Day. Live music was provided by the band “Work in Progress”. Shaw TV was even on hand, filming their Go Fraser Valley show that will air on Wednesday and on line. The last business of the day was handing out of prizes generously donated by a long list of local businesses.
An awesome day and some good and needed care for an important area of our home waters! Thanks to the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, all the sponsors and all the great volunteers who came out to pitch in and have some fun!