B.C. government announcing investment in watershed health

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier talks about investment in watershed health'
B.C. premier talks about investment in watershed health
Legislative reporter Richard Zussman breaks down Thursday's announcement from Premier John Horgan to protect B.C.'s watershed and wetlands by mitigating climate change and securing drinking water. – Apr 21, 2022

The B.C. government has announced $30 million in grants to restore and maintain ecosystem services and watershed health across the province.

The funding was originally announced in Budget 2021 and will also support climate resiliency and support local organizations in meeting their mandates.

Premier John Horgan participating in the announcement, his first government announcement since his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Click to play video: 'B.C. Premier John Horgan tests positive for COVID-19'
B.C. Premier John Horgan tests positive for COVID-19

“Healthy watersheds and wetlands are critical for climate adaptation,” Horgan said.

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“They serve as a protective buffer for communities against flooding, droughts and wildfires. This new funding will help safeguard B.C.’s watersheds and wetlands for generations to come, while continuing to create good, local jobs for people throughout the province.”

Half of the funding, $15 million, will be provided to Watersheds BC through the MakeWay Foundation to co-ordinate watershed restoration projects led or co-led by First Nations.

The remaining $15 million will go to six organizations to support watershed restoration work throughout the province. They are BC Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Living Lakes Canada, Redd Fish Restoration Society, Farmland Advantage (Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC) and the Rivershed Society of BC.

“The Cowichan and Koksilah rivers have always played an integral role in the well-being of Cowichan people,” Cowichan Tribes chief Lydia Hwitsum said.

“Continued investment is necessary to protect our community from future flooding events and restore critical fish habitat, ensuring a valuable resource is sustained for generations to come.”

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Horgan tested positive for COVID-19 on April 4. His symptoms were mild and he returned to the office after his symptoms cleared.

Horgan recently resumed travelling across the province, including two trips to Vancouver before his diagnosis.

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The premier said he does not know where he contracted the virus.

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