Supporting Land Stewardship Actions and Protecting Habitat for Salmon

The Chilliwack and Cultus Lake watersheds are highly valued recreational areas for their wildness, beauty and biodiversity. Many residents and land users choose to live or vacation there because they appreciated the area however no outreach to landowners had been conducted prior to this program. Our outreach program set out to measure the current level of stewardship in select regions of these two watersheds and to support, inspire, and facilitate new stewardship actions for the riparian areas benefiting recreationally important salmon and all other wildlife species. Through this program we were able to contact 310 landowners and engage 82 of those in learning more about their local environment and how to be better stewards.  Seven of these landowners received a detailed property report outlining the value of their property for biodiversity and what they could do to enhance it; and all interested landowners and land users in Cultus Lake received a ‘Caring for Cultus’ booklet produced by DFO and containing Living by Water materials. Although just the first year of the program, nine new occurrences of species at risk were found and several landowners indicated an interest in signing stewardship agreements in the future.  Landowner contact program typically take at least two years to start to see a subjective and objective measurable results and the Fraser Valley Conservancy is committed to ongoing programming with the stewards in these watersheds. Several landowners from this program are attending an open house in late March where they will learn about pesticide and herbicide effects on the local environment and take home stewardship items such as native plants and bird nest boxes they built during the open house event. Future funding will be used to increase the number of stewards and support the ongoing actions of this program year’s stewards.