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New funding from B.C. a strong step towards a sustainable legacy for watershed health

Today, the Province of BC announced it will provide $30 million for partnerships that empower local leaders to secure a sustainable future for their watersheds and the communities that depend on them. Of this funding, MakeWay Foundation and Watersheds BC (a project on MakeWay’s shared platform) will steward $15 million specifically to support Indigenous-led projects for watershed health.

Watersheds are lifegiving for all living things – and are central to Indigenous rights, cultures, livelihoods, and overall health and well-being. Healthy watersheds provide clean drinking water, abundant wildlife, and thriving local economies. They support food security, inspire celebrations, and bring people together. Indigenous communities have upheld and stewarded these values since time immemorial, and continue to lead incredible initiatives to advance watershed security, benefitting us all.

The Province’s latest $30 million commitment builds on a previous $27 million dollar investment in the Healthy Watershed Initiative (HWI)  led by Watersheds BC and the Real Estate Foundation of BC. HWI supported 61 projects and employed over 750 people across BC. We are excited to build on this momentum by stewarding further investments into the critical work being led by Indigenous communities across the region.

Investing in watersheds helps protect communities from climate change; sustains critical habitats and food sources; creates good local jobs and, if done with respect and reciprocity, upholds Indigenous rights and title. Healthy watersheds support healthy communities.

“Watershed health is integral to the continued exercise of Indigenous rights, and Indigenous peoples are best suited to decide how to restore healthy watersheds. Dedicated funding for Indigenous watershed work is promising, but we continue to call on those non-governmental organizations who also received significant resources under the Province’s recent watershed funding announcement to share that wealth and partner with the Indigenous nations on whose territories they operate” said Tara Marsden/Naxginkw, Senior Indigenous Advisor for Healthy Watersheds Initiative, who also supported the Indigenous Leaders Advisory Circle.

Watersheds BC and MakeWay will work hard to administer this next phase of funding in ways that reflect the recommendations of ILAC, and in collaboration with Indigenous partners, to shape a thoughtful process for deploying funds. 

We also congratulate those who have helped us collectively arrive at this place today. We particularly acknowledge the leadership of the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Healthy Watersheds Initiative partners.

Beyond today’s news, many communities are calling for a long-term source of sustainable funding through a Watershed Security Fund. Today’s historic investments are one step in the right direction.

Photo by Lora Tryon – The Redd Fish Restoration Society field crew collect samples in Clayoquot Sound

“Investing in watersheds is vital to the continued health of our land, waters and communities”, said Zita Botelho, Director, Watersheds BC, “if today’s announcement signals intent and commitment, we are one step closer to the creation of a Watershed Security Fund, and a vision for watershed health rooted in resilience and sustainability for future generations.”

More details on funding and process.

 

Media contacts

Watersheds BC: Zita Botelho, Director, Watersheds BC
zita@watershedsbc.ca | 604.616.5353 

MakeWay: Alison Henning, Director, Communications |
alison.henning@makeway.org | 236.317.2778

Contact

Alison Henning
(236) 317-2778

alison.henning@makeway.org