Saddling Nature Ebbs Patterns

Plains are among the most productive landscapes on our planet. They filter out excess sediment and nutrients as the water seeps in, filling the aquifers that provide fertile agricultural land. They will cushion temperature variations and reduce the speed of the water, creating perfect conditions for habitats to bond with biodiversity. Their natural infrastructure protects againsting and erosion.

In addition, the dynamic ecosystems that form where the ebb and flow of a river meets the earth are the cultural, spiritual and economic cornerstones of many communities.

North of the Washington border is the largest river in the Salish Sea, the Fraser River. Its waterhed drains a quarter of all of British Columbia’s land, creating hundreds of kilometers of productiveplains. In particular, it is the largest producer of wild salmon in Canada.

Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have maintained the lands and water from the sources of the river in the Canadian Rockies to its mouth in the Strait of Georgia. The lower Fraser River Valley is the most populated area in the waterhed and is currently home to 31 First Nations. However, increasingly frequent and exacerbated events related to climate changen the lives and livelihoods of these communities.

Over the course of seven days in November 2021, two atmospheric river brought more than 12 inches of rain to the Pacific Northwest. After the record heat wave and forest fires this summer, the soils quickly reached their capacity to absorb and retain water, leading to widespreading and landslides.

In the lower Fraser River Valley,plains drowned in nearly five feet of water and sediment. More than 1,000 farms, 15,000 hectares of land and 14,000 inhabitants have been affected. Due to their multi-year life cycle, the effects on salmon populations may not be fully known for five year.

After the withdrawal of the water, the communities wondered if the path to recovery should include the reconstruction of old systems.

 

 

Cyclical attempts to control the flow of water through levees, levees and dredging often do not take into account current best practices and lead to problems downstream. Different funding can discourage long-term cross-sectoral solutions. Centralized power structures and insufficient data prevent decision-making by frontline communities.

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