During the second quarter of 2021, work continued on watershed assessment of current conditions; filling data gaps; filling asset register; development of initial maps; and condition assessment of assets.
A proposal is underway for the installation of surface water monitoring stations in the creeks that lie within the Gibsons Aquifer watershed. Staff is proposing to install hydrometric stations (upper and lower) on each of these waterways to determine the seasonal discharge values (i.e. water level and flow rates at different times of the year). This information will be used to better understand how surface water (such as streams, creeks, ditches and rivers) may be recharging the Gibsons Aquifer. It will also provide insight into the ability of each creek to support aquatic life.
All hydrometric station data will be compiled and provided to the Town in digital format. Results will be shared with other organizations or consultants, for other environmental initiatives such as creek modeling, discussion of fish habitat, etc. This is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the watershed.
ConcurrentlFollowing noted erosion on some portions of Charman Creek, staff are developing a monitoring and maintenance plan for that waterway. Learn more about the Charman Creek Assessment here.
Until now, the Town’s natural asset management work has been restricted to eco-assets (such as the White Tower Park storm water ponds,) which exist within the Town of Gibsons’ boundaries (as indicated by the green line on aerial photo at right).
The Source to Sea Project seeks to extend the scope of that work by evaluating the natural assets that lie within the entire watershed of the Gibsons Aquifer (as indicated by the pink line on aerial photo at right).
This is considered to be a more ecologically relevant scale, as activity that impacts the natural assets within the watershed (but outside of Town boundaries) also impacts our community’s stormwater management, flood mitigation and drinking water services.
Natural assets in the watershed area which will be assessed include forests, streams, creeks, wetlands, urban parks and the foreshore.
The Source to Sea project area is the same as for the Town’s 2013 Aquifer Study, with the northern boundary set at the top of Mt. Elphinstone and the southern boundary at the Town’s waterfront. The western boundary includes the Chaster Creek watershed and the eastern boundary includes the Gibsons Creek watershed.
The overarching goal of the Source to Sea project is to ensure that the natural assets within the Town’s entire watershed are understood, measured, valued and, ultimately, managed to ensure their health.
Specifically, we seek to understand the current and possible future roles of the natural assets in providing:
- safe, reliable drinking water supply through the aquifer recharge;
- stormwater management services; and
- flood mitigation services.
Project goals include:
- establishing a baseline inventory of the natural assets that support water services;
- providing a condition assessment of the identified areas;
- understanding the level of service of the identified natural assets; and
- recommending best management practices of the natural assets identified.
Information collected on the Charman Creek Lands will provide staff and Council with the information required to make informed decisions regarding future uses of the forested area.
Data gathered through this project may also be used as inputs for the Aquifer Mapping Study update, and to support implementation of recommendations contained in the Town’s Integrated Stormwater Management Plan.
The Source to Sea project is being conducted in partnership with the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, concurrent with its Managing Natural Assets to Coastal Resilience project.
Engagement and input will also be sought from:
- Sunshine Coast Regional District (drainage and watershed governance);
- Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (drainage);
- Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations / BC Timber Sales (aquifer and watershed governance); and
- First Nations (cultural and watershed governance).
This project was supported through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which is delivered by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Watersheds BC, with financial support from the Province of BC as part of its $10-billion COVID-19 response.
The Interagency Watershed Plan (below) illustrates how managing the aquifer watershed requires effective collaboration across many jurisdictions and organizations.