Pitt River Watershed
Region North America
Land and habitat protection
British Columbia (B.C.) is home to the richest diversity of plants and animals in Canada. It is the country's most biologically diverse province, with 14 ecological zones and a wide range of ecosystems, including coastal rain forests, dry interior grasslands, alpine tundra, and northern boreal forest.
The area, known as the Pitt River Watershed, is spectacular with magnificent waterfalls, hot springs, wildlife, and wild salmon. The glacier-fed river flows into Pitt Lake — the largest tidal lake in the world. Remarkably rich in its wild salmon and trout, the Upper Pitt River Valley attracts grizzly bears and elk who rely on the river, making this ecosystem an important wildlife sanctuary. The Upper Pitt was designated as B.C.’s most endangered river in 2000 due to development pressure.
B.C. Parks Foundation’s Work in British Columbia
BC Parks Foundation is an independent registered charitable foundation with a mission to enhance and expand British Columbia’s world-class parks system.
BC Parks Foundation is working closely with Indigenous communities and BC Parks, its official charitable partner, to acquire and administer land in the province. Ultimately, the organization’s mission is to prevent the urban development of the land and turn it into a park system that protects, enhances, and sustains the land for present and future generations, while allowing locals to enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, canoeing, and camping.
For B.C.’s First Nations people, the connection to the land is especially long and deep. As Haisla elder Cecil Paul says: “These are not just places. Our stories are embedded in these places and we couldn’t survive without them. They contain all our wisdom for living.”
How Age of Union Is Helping
- Acquisition of the Pitt River Watershed territory, which has been under intense development pressure;
- This territory will soon become a permanent conservation zone as part of the BC Parks provincial parks system;
- Facilitating access of local Indigenous communities to previously privately-held land.
Fisheries Biologist, Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance
Ian Hamilton is a field biologist whose specialty lies in assessing biotic and abiotic habitat quality in marine ecosystems, focusing on predator-prey dynamics and species interaction. Ian currently works with the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance (LFFA) on habitat restoration and long-term solutions to habitat loss. The LFFA is an Indigenous-led organization that supports the management of a sustainable and expanding fishery for the First Nations of the Lower Fraser River in British Columbia. Since 2019, Ian has worked with the Katzie First Nation to restore aquatic habitats in the Upper Pitt River Watershed. This work is contributing to healthier and abundant fish stocks in the region and is supporting the Katzie to reaffirm their rights over the management of fish within their territory. Ian aims to continue developing sustainable restoration programs with First Nations while integrating conservation-based management actions to improve the health and productivity of all Lower Fraser salmon stocks.
Elected Councillor, Katzie First Nation
Rick Bailey is an Elected Councillor for the Katzie First Nation located in what is now known as the City of Pitt Meadows in British Columbia, Canada. As a professional fisherman, Rick has spent decades fighting to protect the rivers, lakes, and streams throughout Katzie’s traditional territory, and advocating for Katzie’s right to manage these waterways and the resources they provide. For Katzie, the waters that flow through their territory are sacred, and the salmon that live and spawn within them are viewed as family. For the last several years, Rick has been leading efforts to restore vital salmon habitats throughout Katzie’s territory – specifically, in the Katzie Slough, Widgeon Marsh, the Pitt Polder, and the Upper Pitt River. These projects help guarantee the survival of Katzie’s salmon family, enhance the local environment, increase climate change resiliency, and promote the Nation’s role as stewards of their traditional lands and resources.