Recent Items – 2004-2005
By Lee Kaiser, March 24, 2006
Residents of the city have been taking good care of their namesake waterway – Dawson Creek. That’s the conclusion of an environment expert hired by the Dawson Creek Watershed Society to do a cursory assessment of the waterway.
“There are a number of different land uses and activities in your watershed, and while there have been some past impacts as a result of activities, you still have a largely intact watershed,” Hemmera Envirochem’s Malcolm Smith told council at Monday’s regular meeting.
“There’s a lot to be proud of.”
He said the society approached Hemmera Envirochem last year to do a limited watershed assessment that it could use in restoring and managing the watershed.
“It’s a lot more expensive to rebuild water courses and the values that go with them than to protect them in the first place,” Smith said. The society came to council for a letter of support in its application for outside funding. Several tributaries, including Ski Hill Creek, South Dawson Creek and Frondizi Creek, make up the 274-square-kilometre system which then drains into Dawson Creek before passing into the Pouce Coupe River.
Smith said that the Dawson Creek could possibly support fish if a barrier to fish passage at the Rolla Road Crossing was dealt with.
“There’s not very good fish presence upstream of the Pouce Coupe River,” Smith said.
The study relied on existing data dating back to the 1990s and he said more up-to-date data on water flows, temperature, and water quality would be needed to determine if the waterway could sustain fish. The report also targets leachate near the old Dawson Creek landfill and low water flow linked to water licenses as potential concerns. Asked about the group’s funding sources, Smith said the society is looking into more funding to put its recommendations into place.
“The watershed society doesn’t have tons of resources but I think there’s some fairly modest things that can be done with small amounts of money and some sweat equity from people around town,” he said.
Another member of the delegation, Bill Studley, executive director for the society, said the group plans to continue monitoring as soon as the ice melts.
“We do have some equipment and can continue with certain aspects of water quality testing for E. coli, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and several things like that,” he said.
Another goal of the assessment was to help recruit the community to take ownership in protecting the watershed, said Studley.
“It’s a sort of multi-pronged project that I’m asking for money for. We would like to set up some sort of vehicle to get citizens and businesses to adopt a segment of the creek, picking the litter out of it and report to the watershed society (on bank erosion).”
Council later agreed to provide the letter of support.