Our Story Watersheds BC grew out of ongoing collaboration between the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, First Nations Fisheries Council, and the BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative. For almost a decade, these organizations have worked together toward a common vision of watershed security and healthy waters, achieved through new approaches to watershed management and governance grounded in community values and local and Indigenous knowledge. Drawing on this research and experience, these organizations identified a critical need for a dedicated resource hub to provide local leaders with knowledge, skills, and support to deliver effective watershed management and governance in their communities. Watersheds BC emerged in response to this need. Watersheds BC is supported by a core staff team and a suite of advisors who collectively bring decades of experience in water policy, law, governance, and communications to our work. We continue to draw on the expertise and networks across these organizations. We are a part of MakeWay’s shared platform which provides operational supports, governance and charitable expertise for changemakers. Lynn Valley Trail wooden footbridge. PC: Rohit D. Silva, 2020. Our VisionOur vision is healthy, secure & well-governed watersheds across BC that provide clean fresh water to people, fish and animals, now & forever, creating a foundation to support strong, vibrant and resilient communities and thriving local economies. Our MissionWe work to strengthen BC’s watershed security by equipping & supporting local people and decision makers like you with the knowledge, training and networks you need to restore and secure your home watersheds. Our PartnersWatersheds BC works closely with organizations and communities to achieve watershed security and local watershed governance. Here are a few of our key partners. POLIS Water Sustainability Project in the field. Photo credit: Oliver Brandes, 2020. The POLIS Water Sustainability Project is an action-based research group at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies. The team develops cutting-edge research and shares solutions, best practices and opportunities for reform with those working on the ground (and in the water). This includes communities, experts, governments at all levels (local, Indigenous, provincial, federal), and non-governmental and Indigenous organizations. By combining practical research with community action, the team demonstrates the powerful potential of new governance approaches and works to drive innovative law reform to generate change towards a sustainable and secure freshwater future. The POLIS water work has a specific focus around watershed governance, water law reform and watershed security to drive effective public policy. Inspecting salmon. First Nations Fisheries Council photo collection, 2020. The First Nations Fisheries Council works with and on behalf of BC First Nations to protect, reconcile, and advance First Nations title and rights as they relate to fisheries and the health and protection of aquatic resources, including access for food, cultural, and economic purposes. The First Nations Fisheries Council of BC’s “Water for Fish” program supports First Nations engagement in water governance processes in BC. The program aims to identify and advance shared interests of BC First Nations on freshwater policy, governance and management at the provincial level. It also provides support for First Nations as they pursue effective freshwater management practices throughout their territories. Taillefer Creek Road, D'Arcy, BC. Photo credit: Hannah HM, 2019. By working together, we can achieve a more sustainable future for our shared home waters. This is the essence of watershed governance, and the inspiration behind the BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative. The BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative supports projects that bring together governments, First Nations, water users and community interests at the watershed scale to make better decisions for the benefit of water, and everything that depends on it. The Legacy Initiative emerged as a strategic initiative of the BC Water Funders Collaborative and was co-founded by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Sitka Foundation. Drawing on local experience and expert advice, this unique initiative provides funding to catalyze strategic partnerships and makes capacity investments in leadership and innovation at the watershed scale to advance freshwater sustainability throughout B.C. Funders in the zodiak. Courtesy of REFBC. The Real Estate Foundation of BC is a philanthropic organization working to support land use and real estate practices that contribute to thriving, resilient communities and natural environments. REFBC has awarded more than $95 million in grants to non-profit organizations working to strengthen BC communities and protect our shared land and water. To complement its grant program, REFBC partners on projects that fill gaps in knowledge and collaboration. REFBC has demonstrated a lasting commitment to supporting freshwater sustainability, watershed governance, and community-led conservation through its grantmaking, research, and partnerships. Its strong record for excellence in grant administration, program evaluation, and cross-sectoral collaboration is why they were selected to manage the Healthy Watersheds Initiative in partnership with Watersheds BC.