Alexis Carlson browses seed packets at a booth at the Nanaimo Rivers Day event Sunday at Bowen Park. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Community’s water stewards celebrate Nanaimo Rivers Day

Event at Bowen Park on Sunday included barbecue, stream walk and information booths

Nanaimo’s environment includes not only the land but the rivers running through it, and that was celebrated today.

The municipality and partners hosted a Nanaimo Rivers Day event on Sunday at Bowen Park.

Rob Lawrance, the city’s environmental planner, said it’s a day to think about the value of ecosystems including the river systems.

“People are starting to get out and reconnect with I think a very valuable and important system that we have all through the city. All our fish-bearing creeks and the Nanaimo River itself,” Lawrance said. “This is just a little gathering for people to kind of connect, learn a little bit about some of the programming … and just learn more about how valuable our rivers are.”

Stewardship takes a few different forms. Lawrance pointed to Departure Creek rehabilitation at Woodstream Park, a project that included partnerships with the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association, Streamkeepers, the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Island Timberlands and more. Lawrance said fish-bearing channels were created from what was essentially a ditch with sediment in a gravel parking lot.

“We kind of raised the money and got the energy together and made it happen. I think that’s the real story; it’s that connection and that bonding and you kind of learn from each other going forward…” said Lawrance. “It comes from the community, it comes from residents who care about their neighbourhood and want to work with the city and others to try to make it a better place.”

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Nanaimo Rivers Day, held in and around Bowen’s lower picnic shelter, included a salmon barbecue put on by Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, live music, a guided stream walk and information booths with participants that included the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The city was also selling its popular $20 tree vouchers which can be redeemed for trees up to $75 in value. There will be a limited number of vouchers available soon at the city’s service and resource centre; the vouchers are for Nanaimo residents only and there is a limit of two per property.

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