- BC Games
EDITORIAL: Save our rivers
Creeks and rivers support an interdependent web of life and we damage them at our peril.
For much of the last century, we have done everything imaginable to destroy these critical waterways — covering them over, altering their course, polluting them, diminishing their capacity to support life. It’s a wonder we still have functioning creeks and rivers and to which exhausted salmon still return to spawn.
Nature’s resilience can, in large part, explain why our creeks and rivers still teem with life. But there have been efforts made over the years to improve things and some humans deserve credit.
Thanks to streamkeepers and other stewards, there are more kilometres of life-supporting habitat along these waterways and more fish in the once sterile creeks.
Thanks to wise lawmakers, there are more regulations requiring industry to minimize the impact of development and resource extraction on waterways, and cities are taking more responsibility and using best practices to protect waterways in their jurisdictions, too.
Even the public is getting involved by cleaning up garbage during shoreline cleanups, removing invasive species, planting native species and raising cain when problems arise.
Such was the case last week when an alert neighbour spotted a white substance in a Coquitlam creek and contacted authorities. It turned out a contractor had washed residue from a new aggregate driveway down a storm drain, which clogged the pipe — but not before killing a number of coho salmon fry and poisoning what little water there was in the stream.
It just goes to show you that nothing can be taken for granted. All it takes is one dumb or thoughtless move or a change in government or social attitudes, and all that hard work protecting our waterways can disappear.
This week, as World Rivers Day approaches, we should make time to learn about our nearest creeks and rivers and take a walk along them, observing how they still bear life despite their proximity to industry and development. True, they are under threat day by day, but if each of us becomes a responsible steward, they have a greater chance of surviving into the next century.