How do we decide what counts? In a world of finite resources, everything we do results in trade-offs. Overall, people have a tendency to play up the benefits of human activities without considering the economic benefits provided by undisturbed ecosystems. Over the next few months, SWCC and a team of advisers will look at ecosystem services and natural capital in the Skeena Watershed and determine how we could determine their value.
Women on water (WOW) is a new Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition and Tides Canada Initiatives program aimed at educating and building river, self-esteem and leadership skills in the women of our watershed!
In summer 2011 SWCC took two groups of our biggest fans and supporters down the Skeena River for some white water action and lots of camp fire strategizing.
The communities of Hazelton, Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Smithers are hosting Up Your Watershed! concerts in celebration of watershed stewardship, salmon conservation and the fabulous, unique rivers of British Columbia. Singers/songwriters/producers Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright of the Artist Response Team (ART) will join with choirs of local students to perform songs that are the “leading edge of environmental folk pop to rock your world!”
We are happy to partner with North West Watch and the Skeena Bicycle Service (SBS) to provide the people of Terrace with a fossil fuel emissions free alternative to driving. You can borrow a bike for free anytime at supporting local merchants. Transportation is too often a significant barrier keeping folks with low incomes from reaching necessary services; a bike...
SWCC volunteer, Gretel Miles, collected the stories of the lives of the elders & oldtimers of the Upper Skeena with the idea of preserving rich, shared heritage for future generations, as well as our own. A book and audio cd has been compiled.
The summer of 2009 saw Ali Howard become the first person on the planet to ever swim the entire 610km Skeena River. After 26 days of whitewater, boulder gardens, crazy currents and community celebrations, she had done it! Ali is now touring the region and beyond with slideshows, video footage and discussions about her epic adventure. The documentary, Awakening the Skeena will be available for purchase in a few short weeks.
In November and December of 2009, every elementary and highschool student in the entire northwest corner of BC decorated a paper salmon. From Houston all the way over the Prince Rupert, Nisga'a and Kitimat and extending all the way up North to Stewart, Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek! Each little paper salmon is about 8" in length and will be compiled into a giant piece of art! More than 12,000 students are participating across and beyond the Skeena, Nass & Stikine watersheds!
At the heart of the SWCC Youth on Water program is our recognition of the immense value of the Skeena watershed and the Sacred headwaters. While ascribing to the mandate of SWCC, the Y.O.W. program will provide an opportunity for local youth to experience the grandeur of the Skeena River and the Sacred Headwaters through direct, water level, engagement. Y.O.W. will achieve its multifaceted goals through community partnerships, the utilization of committed volunteers, the unwavering commitment of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition employees, and, most importantly, through the efforts of the YOW participants.
Northern BC's Sacred Headwaters is a rare and special place. Here in a vast alpine basin, three of the Northwest's greatest salmon rivers are born: the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine. Stone sheep, caribou, grizzly bears and wolves call the Headwaters home, and the area is critically important to the local indigenous people, the Tahltan. Royal Dutch Shell wants to exploit the Sacred Headwaters for coalbed methane gas. Such a development would see the wild landscape of the Sacred Headwaters turned into an industrial maze of wellheads, roads and pipelines. Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition has been working since 2004 to protect the Sacred Headwaters from coalbed methane development. Our work has included conducting public outreach and education, mobilizing residents of the Skeena watershed, and engaging in dialogue with Shell and the BC government.
Our baseline inventory research is designed to contribute to the general understanding of the upper Skeena's globally significant wildlife, wild salmon, and cultural heritage resources. These projects target selected wildlife, fisheries and cultural heritage features as well as locations of specific conservation concern. Due to a widely recognized deficiency of science-based knowledge specific to the remote upper Skeena ecosystem, there is relevant information that is not included in proposed development plans for the Skeena watershed. Baseline inventories provide an accurate record of the landscape and its components as they naturally occur, increasing the opportunity for effective sustainable development decisions to take place now and into the future.
A discovery expedition of the Upper Skeena lead by Director, Jim Allen. After completing a Swiftwater Rescue Technician course, the 10 person field crew completed 2 consecutive 10 day Upper Skeena River rafting expeditions in hopes of finding and reviving ancient heritage trails for archaeological documentation and development of eco-tourism. It was a joint project with Hereditary Chief, Gwinninixtkw, who lead the Cultural Heritage portion of the expedition. The project found and revived 12km of ancient Gitxsan trail as well as campsites for future use by outdoor adventurers Among these trails and campsites were ancient village remnants, fish pits and gravesites.
SWCC public education initiatives, including our popular Conservation Camps for Kids, provide accurate and updated information on current conservation issues and opportunities within the Skeena watershed. These programs take the form of film nights, slide shows, guest lectures, technical presentations, field courses and information brochures. They occur at all levels of the regional community including; schools, band councils, town councils, chambers of commerce, stakeholder groups and community meetings. The Skeena watershed is a large complex ecosystem on an internationally significant scale. The recent pace of development proposed in the Skeena is challenging for any one person or group of people to keep with. Our public education programs utilize a well connected network of government, industry, NGO, First Nation and community service groups to deliver forward moving education and outreach products.