Lives, property and wild salmon are at risk because B.C. is not prepared for the next big flood. Our provincial government is working on a long-awaited BC Flood Strategy, and they recently put out an “Intentions Paper”. (Here’s a short summary version.) They are now asking for public feedback on what this flood strategy will look like. Now’s our chance to weigh in!
At first glance, the government’s intentions paper is pretty good. It talks about the need for strong collaboration with Indigenous communities, reducing flood risk and using sustainable, nature-based solutions. But we think it can be improved to keep us safer from future disasters, and also deal with the hundreds of obsolete flood control structures around B.C. that are needlessly blocking vast areas of wild salmon habitat.
If you are concerned about future flood disasters, or the impacts of outdated flood management on our wild salmon, please take a few minutes to provide some feedback. The more of us who do this, the stronger our voice will be. Here’s how:
- Check out the Summary Intentions Paper.
- Complete the survey, here. (It takes about 10 minutes). Or, submit a rewritten submission and send it to BCFloodStrategy@gov.bc.ca
The deadline for survey submission is Friday, January 6, 2023, but you have until Friday, January 27, 2023, at 4 pm to submit a written submission.
The survey is easiest to complete on a computer or laptop. You can make comments in the boxes under Vision and Outcomes, Principles, Program Area and Key Actions.
Here are some things to consider asking for in the survey:
- Move the creation of the Flood Strategy from the Ministry of Forests to the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Preparedness.
- Put environmental sustainability first in the list of outcomes. The other two outcomes—public safety and economic stability—require a strong, healthy environment. A change of perspective will encourage more imaginative win-win solutions.
- Recognize the importance of a resilient floodplain. Instead of only focusing on floods, set a clear goal of improving management of the entire floodplain. Rather than the current piecemeal approach, we need regional floodplain plans that look at the whole system and provide benefits beyond flood control.
- Support salmon recovery. Wild salmon are severely impacted by flood pumps that grind up fish, and floodgates and dikes that are blocking thousands of kilometres of salmon habitat. Our provincial and federal governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on salmon recovery. Therefore, the flood strategy should explicitly support recovery objectives for endangered and threatened salmon populations.
- Provide adequate funding to put the strategy into action. The goals laid out in the Intentions Paper are good, but they will not be met without long-term funding to implement them. Improving B.C.’s failing flood control methods will be a costly, multi-year process. A strategy without funding will be little more than empty words.