Coquitlam River Watershed Initiative

Angela Smailes initiated the CRWI under the auspices of the City of Coquitlam, in 1996, after observing the need for communication between the existing local environmental stewardship and interest groups in the Coquitlam River watershed area. Although these stewardship initiatives were looking into issues such as stream and lake enhancement and planning processes focusing on provincially held lands in the area, the large issue of pollution in the Coquitlam River from development in the upland areas had not been addressed. It was too big to be dealt with by one group.
 
In Octover 1996 a forum was held for the people of the Coquitlam River Watershed area, to assess whether the community was interested in addressing the issue of pollution in the river. With the help of those who attended, categories were established to break down the large problem of pollution to more manageable proportions; issues included sedimentation, habitat loss, and development. Another workshop was organized to look at the categories in greater depth, and to discuss creation of an umbrella organization. This day-long workshop gathered together knowledge, initiated brainstorming solutions, and provided a basis for the actions needed to sustain the Coquitlam River watershed into the future.
 
Two committees were set up - a planning group to determine the structure for the watershed organization, and an action group to organize activities to achieve the group's goals. The planning group has since evolved into an Interim Board for the Coquitlam River Watershed Society. The action committee has:
  • staffed a booth at the Coquitlam Environment Fair with a display of photos, CRWI educational panels and a 3-D map of the watershed
  • produced a pamphlet about the watershed
  • started a web site and an Internet newspaper column
  • done surveying and mapping of pristine streams on the east side of the river in the area of Burke Mountain
  • established training in streamkeeper techniques, and
  • begun plans for a Citizen River Watch to monitor the program for the Coquitlam River in its initial stages.
Many people and organizations have been involved in the CRWI, including Riverside High School students, City of Coquitlam fair personnel, staff and newspaper editors at the local computer centre, the Streamkeepers project, and technicians and officers at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
 
Category: Watershed Stewardship
Project: Coquitlam River Watershed Initiative (CRWI)
Phone: (604) 464-0004 (Eunice Hodge); 464-5020 (Diane Lorimer)
Fax: (604) 535-3936
Contact: Eunice Hodge, Diane Lorimer