Implementation of the Chilliwack River Watershed Strategy: Awareness and Engagement of Decision-Making Institutions that Affect Watershed Conditions within the Chilliwack Valley

The need for watershed planning in the Chilliwack River Watershed came about due to the recognized desire by key individuals and agencies for improved information and collaboration in the watershed, a goal conveniently shared with the integrated planning and governance program of the Fraser Salmon and Watershed Program. Through the ongoing collaborative efforts that have gone into the development of CRWS, information has been shared and relationships between key decision-making stakeholders have been forged, resulting in (hopefully) improved communications and better informed landuse management in the future.

What we hoped to accomplish with this specific phase of the project was to further engage watershed managers about the Strategy and the watershed and to identify opportunities to help implement Strategy outcomes. Obtaining commitments and follow-through is a very common weakness of any type of non-legislated volunteer planning process, where recommendations are made by a collective but a lack of adequate buy-in at a policy-making level hinders adoption and further progress. Although agencies were represented on CRWS at a staff level, this does not necessarily translate to changes at an institutional level. Through our attempts at meeting with agencies who manage the watershed, we have been able to identify a number of specific commitments agencies are willing to implement.