Healthy Watersheds Initiative
The Province of BC has announced significant investments in BC watersheds, through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative – a partnership to support British Columbia’s economic recovery through investments in community-driven watershed conservation and restoration projects.
Projects funded through this program will improve the health of watersheds, create economic and skills development opportunities, generate new learning, and strengthen relationships with First Nations and Indigenous-led organizations.
The Province of BC has contributed $27 million in funding, announced as part of the B.C. Economic Recovery Plan, to support more than 60 important watershed projects that have been prioritized for support in communities around the province. The confirmed group of watershed projects to be funded has been technically reviewed by the Province and assessed for success in meeting the Province’s economic and environmental goals.
The Real Estate Foundation of BC, in partnership with Watersheds BC, has been asked by the Province to support the implementation of the Initiative.
- Jobs where they’re needed: Strengthened economic development for First Nations, local governments and traditional resource communities. Would create more than 800 direct jobs across the province, including rural, Northern and Indigenous communities. This does not include the many spin-off employment, economic and community benefits that would be generated.
- Ready to go: ~90 projects (to date) totaling approximately $90 million in funding opportunity. Projects can be implemented in the short-term–37% of the projects can start immediately, with another 50% underway within 1-6 months. Projects range in completion time from 6 months to 2 years. 93% of projects can accommodate physical distancing if needed to get started and be completed.
- Leverages existing organizations, funding mechanisms and skills: Projects led by, or in partnership with, First Nations, municipalities, Regional Districts, fish and wildlife, recreation and conservation organizations across B.C.
- Investment in source water protection is cost effective and fiscally prudent: investments in upstream natural assets are economically efficient and appreciate over time. Investments in downstream, grey infrastructure are capital intensive and depreciate over time.
- Widespread and deeply-held public support: over 80 percent of British Columbians assert ongoing access to abundant clean fresh water in their regions is essential to health, food security, salmon, fire safety, jobs, economic well-being, and overall quality of life, both today, and in the years to come.