The WaterWealth Project has launched a freshwater focused climate monitoring program inspired by work of US Forest Service researcher Dan Isaac and the Climate Shield program in the USA.
Our plan is to identify streams with natural advantages where native species might find refuge to thrive despite changing climate. Sites selected for the program are having temperature loggers installed to provide on-going hourly records of water temperatures.
At those sites regular water quality monitoring and various habitat and species surveys will be conducted. In addition to gathering data about the waterways going forward, we will also seek to understand the human and climate history of the streams and surrounding areas. Participation and public outreach will enhance awareness of the value and vulnerability of these natural areas. Information and data collected will be public and made available to interested parties to contribute to climate-smart land use planning, management, and conservation.
To date the program has benefited from funding and material support from the Visscher Group of Companies, Gerry Enns Contracting, and Emil Anderson Construction; technical support from Pearson Ecological and our area DFO Community Advisor; and the time, energy, and inspiration of WaterWealth volunteers and donors.
The current phase of the program is being conducted in the watersheds of the Sts’elxwíqw’ and Th’ewálmel stó:lō (Chilliwack and Vedder River), within territory of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe and the area of negotiations of the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association. With that in mind, WaterWealth has developed policies to conduct our work based on zones of the S’ólh Téméxw Use Plan. These policies will form part of the orientation and training of program volunteers, and public engagement associated with the program.
Monitoring locations have been added to our list in response to requests from the Chilliwack River Hatchery and the People of the River Referrals Office. This brings our list of monitoring sites to 33, including two where we will use temperature data from Pearson Ecological and one using a federal hydrological station’s temperature data. At Sxótsaqel (Chilliwack Lake) our deep logger (hypolimnion) will add data to the site of Pearson Ecological’s shallow (epilimnion) logger. Five locations spanning from Vedder Crossing to Post Creek (near Sxótsaqel) will include air temperature monitoring.
We believe this program is poised to be a leading example of citizen science in BC.
Support, involvement, and inquiries are welcome.