COVID-19: B.C’s economic restart plan includes $27M for watershed protection

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“It also demonstrates that economic stimulus opportunities are good for the environment and by investing $27 million in watershed and wetland projects it is investing in employment opportunities for those hardest hit by COVID, and that’s women, youth, and Indigenous people.”

The government has not yet decided on specific projects for the funding, but Tull said they will likely focus on clean drinking water, water conservation, climate adaptation, and watershed renewal, including wetland and river restoration, and restoring fish populations.

Other projects on the table focus on reconciliation and creating employment in First Nations communities such as water guardian programs, and working with farmers to create sustainable agriculture, Tull added.

The coalition estimates a $1 million investment in watershed restoration can create between 13 and 32 jobs and $2.2 and $3.4 million in economic activity.

Andrew Patrick, a spokesperson for B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said, in an email Saturday, that the funding will create more that 1,000 new short-term jobs to protect natural spaces and help B.C. prepare for the effects of climate change.

Examples of this may include using restored wetlands to buffer waterbody surges instead of concrete barriers, conserving species and habitats to maintain natural pest control services or improving water monitoring to better identify climate risks and support effective adaptation policy planning.

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