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River working group finalizing future mission

The Nanaimo River Working Group is on the path to finalizing its formation and mission.

The group, which spawned out of the river symposium Nanaimo Area Land Trust hosted last year, has completed its first draft outlining its mission.

Gail Adrienne, NALT executive director, said the oganization is the co-ordinating agency bringing the community partners together on the project. So far, about 40 representatives from community groups or as individuals interested in protecting and preserving the watershed are involved.

During a meeting in April, members drafted the group’s mission, which is to implement strategies and activities for the long-term promotion, protection, sustainability and stewardship of the watershed, while maintaining a balance of its natural, cultural, social and economic benefits. The watershed is defined as the Nanaimo River, its tributaries and the estuary.

Adrienne said as the mission statement is only a draft, it could change during the next meeting, which is planned for June.

One goal once the formation of the group is finalized is to create an updated study on the health of the river habitat and fisheries.

There were studies done years ago, but Adrienne doesn’t know of any comprehensive habitat studies that examine the entire water system. She said a study on the state of the fisheries is also needed as the only ones she knows of were done a decade ago and a lot has changed since then.

“[The watershed] has reached a point where we have to take care of it. It’s really what this group is about,” said Adrienne.

The working group meets again June 19 from 1-4 p.m. at Vancouver Island University in the upper lounge of Bldg. 355.

The meeting will deal with the formation of the working group, its mission and governing documents, not projects for the conservation or protection of the watershed. Once the working group is finalized, it will turn its attention to those issues.

Adrienne said the working group still needs representatives from recreational users, such as flyfishermen.

For more information, please contact NALT at 250-714-1990.

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