Lina Azeez, Connected Waters campaigner
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much of our social and economic lives to a halt, and our governments have already begun developing plans for jump starting the economy.
In a recent meeting with Watershed Watch and other environmental leaders, Premier Horgan identified the lower mainland’s diking network as a high priority for capital investment. Outdated flood protection, especially in the lower Fraser, is putting our communities at risk of major flooding, with over 70 per cent of dikes vulnerable to failure or overtopping. If this happens, projected economic losses surpass $42 billion.
Upgrading these structures can cost millions of dollars which means municipal governments and First Nations struggle to find the funds to do this important work. Provincial and federal investment in new flood infrastructure makes sense. But what kind of new flood control we build makes all the difference.
Current flood control structures were installed without regard for salmon and their habitats. Right now, over 1500 km of prime salmon habitat in the lower Fraser River are blocked by these structures. When we replace these structures, we have an opportunity to re-open this blocked habitat by choosing flood control solutions that consider fish passage.
Fish-friendly flood control has been rolled out with great success around the world, with some of the best examples coming from just across the border in Washington State. There are even some great fish-friendly flood control structures already in place here in BC, but they are few and far between.
For the past 5 years, we have been working to convince government leaders to make this investment, and now that it is a very real possibility, we need your help to make sure it is done right.
An investment in flood protection will not only protect communities from flooding, but will also create a wide variety of well-paying jobs from engineering and design to field work, construction and restoration. We are asking our supporters to help ensure this massive investment in flood protection will simultaneously give struggling wild salmon back the habitat they desperately need.
Will you join us in calling on the Provincial and Federal governments to invest in a safer, fish-friendly, green economy? You can use our one-click letter writing tool to send Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan the message that flood control structures need to be upgraded using modern solutions that protect our salmon and our communities at the same time.