UBCO Research Team Releases Peachland Watershed Study – Summerland Review

A first step to engage the public in a major UBC Okanagan research study of the Peachland Creek watershed will take place at the Peachland Community Center on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m.

Focused on the question ‘Who owns the water anyway?’, the new study aims to offer solutions to the conflicting issues of wildlife, indigenous people, domestic water supplies and biodiversity facing the basin. slope is facing.

In the April 28 presentation, study researchers John Wagner and Rheanne Kroschinsky of UBC Okanagan will describe the range of watershed organizations active in British Columbia and elsewhere in North America, and the suitability of their watershed management approaches for the Peachland Creek watershed.

As participants in the UBC Okanagan Watershed Ecosystems Project research, Wagner and Kroschinsky will attempt to identify best practices for designing watershed governance institutions that take into account the values ​​and interests of Indigenous and settler cultures, with a commitment to long-term ecological health. of the watershed being the key to a reasonable balance between competing interests in many watersheds of the province.

Wagner is a professor of environmental anthropology at UBCO. He conducts research on human/water relations in the Okanagan Valley, the Columbia River Basin in Canada and the United States, and in Papua, New Guinea.

In her research on the Columbia River Basin, Wagner focuses on water governance and the relationship between the Columbia River Treaty and irrigation, food security, food sovereignty, and Indigenous rights.

In the Okanagan Valley, he has conducted research on settler colonialism, the history of water management, and floodplain restoration as a factor in mitigating climate change.

With the Peachland Creek study, Wagner has a particular interest in understanding how permitting decisions are made regarding watershed activities, fully acknowledging that community residents often feel frustrated with their apparent lack of voice in these decisions.

“From a social science perspective, this has been attempted at different scales in many places…you bring watershed users to the table to work together and make decisions,” Wagner said.

He said the research consultation for the Peachland study will involve Sylix area chiefs, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Sylix knowledge holders, Peachland residents and municipal government, as well as various government agencies mandated to make decisions on the use of watersheds.

Wagner said he hopes the model developed from the Peachland study will also be applied to other community watersheds in the Okanagan Valley and province.

Also involved in UBCO’s research effort are Adam Wei, Chair of Watershed Management Research and Group Leader; Jeanette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy; Lael Parrott, professor of biology; Rehan Sadiq, professor of anthropology; Jeff Curtis, Professor of Earth, Environmental and Geography Sciences; and Hilary Ward, head of research section at the Ministry of Forestry and assistant professor of biology.

The Peachland Community Center is located at 4450-6th St. For more information, visit www.peachlandwpa.org.

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