KCP Bursary Program Supports Kootenay Water Hero

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Nelson’s Heather Leschied, Program Manager for Wildsight’s Living Lakes Canada, was honoured as one of WWF Canada’s Water Heroes, and named a finalist for Water Canada’s Water’s Next Award. The Water Heroes are Canadians who are working tirelessly to monitor water quality in local waterways, restore habitat for frogs, turtles and fish, repair degraded riverbanks and engage their communities in stewarding local waters.

KCP’s Professional Development Bursary Program provided assistance to help Heather attend the Canadian Water Summit where the awards were taking place. On her return, Heather shared that “it was a great opportunity to explore the use of, and threats to Canada’s freshwater through an industry/business perspective. The focus of the conference was on the linkages with water sustainability and energy consumption, so naturally industries such as the food and beverage, agriculture and energy production were the focus. It was a unique experience because many presenters were corporate executives, rather than academics or activists, the latter of which I am more accustomed to.”

Some of the presenters that Heather highlighted included:

  • Minister of Environment Mary Polak who spoke about the province’s aim to be leaders in water sustainability with references to the Water Sustainability Act and the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, and forthcoming regulations which will include the ability to enter into more formal arrangement with communities with respect to water management;
  • Stephanie Smith, Hydrologist with BC Hydro who spoke about the Columbia River Treaty and the climate modelling that is currently underway, as well as Water Use Planning; and;
  • James Snider, VP Freshwater with WWF Canada who presented on the Freshwater Health Assessment, an online tool which synthesises freshwater data in Canada and scores the health of our major watersheds. Living Lakes Canada has been using this tool, as well as contributing data to it, and we are thrilled to hear about the new Threats Assessment, which identifies the level of threat to a watershed’s health such as climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and pollution among others.

Click here to find out more about the Freshwater Health Assessment.

Click here to find out more about Canada’s Water Heroes

Click here to find out more about the Canadian Water Summit.