Water Wise, a project of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, aims to educate and empower Williams Lake and area to conserve water and become conscious of wastewater issues. The project was initiated in 2006 with support provided by Eco Action Canada, and contributions from local groups and individuals, Community Futures Development Corporation of the Cariboo Chilcotin, Endswell Fund, the Vancouver Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Gavin Lake Forest Education Society and the City of Williams Lake. From 2007 The City of Williams Lake formed a partnership with the CCCS and provided funding to keep the local Water Wise Project active within the City, along with continued support of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and more recent funders, the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program and the Garfield Weston Foundation, which allows Water Wise to reach farther into the region.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society has been involved in the Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park Management Planning process over several years. The focus of CCCS is on Parks and Protected Areas, and the concerns regarding grasslands in our region was something they wished to work on. In 2008 BC Parks approached the CCCS to combine the series of signs into a concise kiosk. The Board approved this project, since the JSRP was viewed as a high priority area, being the home of the California bighorn sheep and numerous other grassland species, including several rare and endangered species. Originally designated as a Wildlife Management Area in 1975, the WMA was created through an exchange of lands with Riske Creek Ranching. In 1995 the Junction Sheep Range was legislated as a Class A Provincial Park.
For many years people have come to the Junction area to enjoy the scenery, wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, and just the pleasure of being out in the grasslands. Unfortunately, many have unknowingly been damaging the grasslands. A few have intentionally ignored requests to travel on roads, camp only at designated sites (off the Park and ranchlands) and carry out their litter. Through new signage, a brochure [PDF - 240k] designed by several groups working together on these issues, media coverage, and the dedicated work of many community members, the public is now well informed.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society would like to acknowledge the supporters who helped make these conservation issues a united cause, and through whose efforts made it all possible - the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC, Upland Birds Society, BC Wildlife Federation, Wilderness Watch, BC Parks, WLAP, Williams Lake Field Naturalists, the Wild Sheep Society of BC, Williams Lake Sportsman's Association, Riske Creek Ranching, and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The efforts of the people within these groups to inform those travelling through the JSRP area continue, as it is a never-ending struggle to keep the few who refuse to cooperate from destroying more grasslands.
In the Parks Visitors' Guide the CCCS presents not only the information on the Parks and protected areas within our region, but also, articles on how to view wildlife, bear and cougar awareness, ecological reserves and integrity, protected areas, endangered species, alien species, wetlands, grasslands, backcountry and marine ethics as well as detailed information on local sites (Scout Island Nature Centre, Horsefly Spawning Channel, Barkerville), and trails (Williams Lake River Valley Trails).
CCCS appreciates funding support for the 2005 Parks Visitors' Guide from the Shell Environmental Fund
CCCS has worked with the artists and photographers in our region, putting on exhibits focused on Parks and Protected Areas, wildlife, watersheds, salmon and much more of the natural environment. Our displays make use of local photographers and encourage engagement in the celebration of what we have to conserve. Our Park Guide has over 200 photographs of the area, and each year we host a Children's Art Exhibit in the Williams Lake Public Library. Some of the Children's artwork then becomes used in our Water Wise bookmarks promoting water conservation in the communities. CCCS works with high school students in the creation of Water Wise videos. In the celebration of watershed health, CCCS assisted in the coordinating of elementary schools in an outstanding musical performance Up Your Watershed with Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright of the Artists Response Team, in Williams Lake.
Children's Artwork is a powerful medium for the community to take notice, so each year during Earth Month (April) we setup a Children's ‘Water’ Artwork display at the local Library. With artwork from students all around the school district this gives students an opportunity to express themselves to the public. We then produce bookmarks which feature this artwork and include water wise tips for year round distribution at the Library, local bookstores, and given out in the classrooms to students who receive water wise lessons.
Each year, students who have received Water Wise education in the classroom have the opportunity to take part in our Water Wise program's storm drain painting. Classes that sign up “take to the streets” in bright orange vests to paint yellow fish on the road next to storm drains to serve as a reminder that storm drains lead to fish-bearing streams and to not pour any paint, gasoline, oil, or any other contaminants down these drains.
CCCS sponsors six modules at the Gavin Lake Education Centre. including: Endangered Species; the Web of Life, Watersheds, The Carbon Cycle and Sustainability , Aquatic Invertebrates, The Perfect Stream, and Snow Science. On average Gavin Lake hosts between 600 – 800 students annually. An overview of the different lesson plans can be found on our Public Education page.
Teachers wrote: "the modules that the students experience are jumping off points for our fall curriculum in the areas of science and socials", "thanks for the great module on 'Endangered Species', the kids came away pleased with themselves and their newly acquired knowledge. I also came away with a bundle of useable information." All teachers attending received a binder with 100-plus pages of details on the specific species at risk living in the Cariboo Chilcotin region, websites to visit for more detailed information, and stories and articles on such things as alien species and the webs of life. "We are grateful for having participated in the Endangered Species module. Our class feels that we can now make better personal decisions about the environment around us."
A principal writes: "Your centre (Gavin Lake) allows for a learning/teaching style which is not always possible in our classrooms. They (parents/children and staff) note how our entire community benefits from the ecologically-sound attitudes which our children learn. The lessons on the link between the natural world and the one created by man is often commented upon by teachers who have accompanied the kids."
2010 modules sponsored by W. Garfield Weston Foundation.salmonids and of which type and numbers as well as which of these streams require maintenance to improve fish habitat.
The initial introduction to this project was conducted by DFO staff who instructed the group of interested volunteers during a day-long orientation. Instruction was given on the live trapping of par (young fish ranging in size between 3 -10cm) and the proper handling and identification of the various fish existing in our streams. A seine net was laid out at the mouth of Williams Creek in knee-deep water to enable the volunteers to experience the identification of fish. In less than five minutes the seine net was gathered in and the resulting "catch" took over 1½ hours to identify and measure. Some of the species tallied were Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, leopard dace, whitefish, common sucker, and northern pike minnow.
The volunteer members are required to take water temperature readings, identify ideal trap locations within the stream, accurately identify fish species and, on occasion, measure water flow rates. The information is recorded on data sheets and then on computer which are then forwarded to DFO staff who then forward the data on to the Recovery Team to add to their data bank.
The complex environmental system that is our waterways pose challenges for all of us. One stream under study was found to dry up in early June leaving hundreds of Chinook salmon par stranded in small pools. By July these pools were dry.
If you would like further information on this project or to become a volunteer contact the CCCS.
The CCCS will continue to be involved in the development of the Williams Lake River Valley Trail System. It is featured in our Parks & Trails / Sites of Interest Guide to Visitors of the Cariboo Chilcotin and Coast.
Launched in February, 2004
Original material in this website may be reproduced in any form without permission on condition that it is accredited to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, with a link back to this site or, in the case of printed material, a clear indication of the site URL. We would appreciate being notified of such use. Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this web site, the CCCS does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify CCCS from any and all injury or damage arising from such use.
This site has had visitors since March 1, 2004