Healthy Watersheds Initiative

Opportunity for Economic Stimulus in BC Watersheds

In 2020, Watersheds BC and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC) were approached by the Province of British Columbia to partner in the delivery of the Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI), the most significant infusion of funding for watershed work in decades.

HWI supported more than 60 projects across the province through $27 million in stimulus funding under the BC government’s economic recovery plan.

These projects invested in local communities by creating jobs for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They conducted monitoring of water quality and flows, brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to discuss their shared water future in the face of climate change, and restored healthy freshwater ecosystems.

Under its partnership agreement with REFBC, which administered the HWI funds, Watersheds BC provided dedicated and tailored capacity support to project teams in areas such as administration, evaluation and learning, project coordination, and sharing their stories.  Our involvement in HWI enabled our team to support project teams to create economic and employment opportunities, generate new learning, strengthen relationships with First Nations and Indigenous-led organizations, and build capacity to improve the health of their local watersheds.

Watersheds BC is grateful for the opportunity to support those amazing teams in the implementation of their projects and to help strengthen the connections between local leaders as part of an increasingly strong and vibrant freshwater community.

Visit the Symposium & Celebration Dinner page on the HWI website to see some of the overall learnings and outcomes, and how our work continues to support a diverse set of project groups to protect their local watersheds – all while creating employment and training opportunities for British Columbians.

Training in Clayoquot Sound. Photo credit: Graeme Owsianski, 2021
Training in Clayoquot Sound with the Central Westcoast Forest Society. Photo credit: Graeme Owsianski, 2021

​Program Partners

The Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) is leading the administration of funding for the Healthy Watersheds Initiative and working with Watersheds BC to support the implementation of more than 60 projects.

Together, we are collaborating to support learning and evaluation, share project stories, and to facilitate collaboration between the Province, First Nations, watershed organizations, and community partners.

Funding Announcements

The Province of BC has closed the review of the projects and there is no additional funding available to apply for.

The list of supported projects can be found on the HWI website.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.



Zita Botelho, Director, Watersheds BC
Leanne Sexsmith, Director of Strategic Programs & Partnerships, Real Estate Foundation of BC


General questions: [email protected]
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