UBC Undergraduate Research

Threats to the ecological health of the Salmon River watershed in Langley, B.C. and suggestions for improved local and provincial management Roberts, Lindsay

Abstract

In this report I use Environment Canada and the Government of Canada’s hydrometric and precipitation data respectively to discuss current hydrologic trends in the Salmon River, located in Langley, B.C. I then provide a critique of environmental management and include comments from interviews I conducted with professionals in regards to sustainability efforts in the watershed. The Salmon River watershed has experienced land cover changes such as land clearing for agriculture and some low-density development. These activities have caused stress on the groundwater and stream levels in the summer, and have also increased the percentage of runoff in the watershed. I conclude that management of the Salmon River Watershed must be improved through the efforts of the Agricultural Land Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Township of Langley. In order to prevent and reduce runoff and over-extraction of water sources, the Agricultural Land Committee must set forth legislation regarding the ALR subdivision in the Salmon River uplands. Provincial legislation and guidance conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is needed to introduce farmers to financially and environmentally sustainable, water-efficient techniques. Lastly, local and provincial education and restoration programs targeted toward industrial and agricultural activities should be maintained by the Township of Langley to help reverse the trends noticed in the Salmon River watershed. Moreover, the Water Management Plan conducted by the Township of Langley should be used to increase awareness of environmental issues and to help implement and evaluate initiatives. The Plan can be better utilized by: organizing the information to target specific water users including farmers, residents and private well owners, by increasing transparency of planning and updates to evaluate progress, and by using the recommendations to create and enforce mandates and legislation regarding water usage and runoff.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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