Featured Project: Know-Your-Watershed in Canada

Based on the initial success of the RésEau initiative, an opportunity for a moderate amount of additional funding was offered by Government On-Line, the project’s sponsor. The new work will broaden the scope of the initiative in a number of key areas and provide a more complete coverage of water issues to be demonstrated under RésEau. The priorities identified were:

Improved National Access to Credible and Comparable Water Quality Data A more complete national picture of federal water quality will be developed to complement the regional work initiated by Environment Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific and Yukon Regions.
“One Window” View to Water Quality and Quantity Monitoring Networks Several new advanced tools will provide direct access to data and enhanced functionality allowing a nationally consistent view of water quality and quantity information.
National Aquatic Biodiversity Information System A new biodiversity component will provide access to aquatic biodiversity data and information, a key indicator of water quality.
Groundwater Quality Information System Two key priority groundwater quality issues – arsenic and perchlorate contamination – will be added to RésEau to complement the existing groundwater quantity work.

Imagine you are a parent volunteer with a Grade 6 class in your hometown of Bancroft, Ontario.

The teacher introduces a new environmental studies project. Students will create a wall mural of their local watershed and also collect photographs, interviews and some water samples. Before beginning, each class member is asked to sketch a ‘mental map’ of their local watershed from memory.

Wait a minute! You may be an adult, but you have no idea how to sketch that map, no idea which watershed you live in or how large an area it drains. Where is the source of your town’s drinking water? Do local agricultural or industrial practices threaten the water quality? Will the water supply meet the demand from area farms, households and businesses in the foreseeable future? How about adjoining watersheds? Which upstream activities may pollute your drinking water? If you are motivated to get involved, which organization(s) can you contact?

You are not alone. Despite an increasing appreciation of water issues amongst members of the public and the media, most of us lack basic knowledge about our local watershed. As politicians/planners and the public gain a new appreciation for the value of integrated land-use planning within watersheds, citizens will demand more information, and demand that it be reliable and relevant.

Until recently, many watershed-related databases and maps were not readily accessible to the public. Thanks to a partnership between Natural Resources Canada (digital watershed maps, place names database) and Environment Canada (systems development, watershed profile), a RésEau project entitled Know-Your-Watershed is about to change all that.

Imagine again if you could enter the name of your town (ex. Bancroft) on a website which would return a series of maps showing the extent of your local watershed as well as the ocean basin you inhabit. Imagine if you could do this for any town in Canada, and that the information was current, relevant and free-of-charge.

Locating your watershed is just the beginning of a growing ‘watershed profile’ which initially includes upstream/downstream basins, water heights, water quality, and names of local environmental groups involved in water-related activities. We have partners who have suggested new map layers (ex. water diversions, dams, resource-dependent communities, water use, snowfall), new services (postal code lookup, upstream/downstream tracing), new profiles (real-time water levels, water quality information, water quality in remote Aboriginal communities, updated census populations, indicators of agricultural and socio-economic effects on watersheds, pollution sources) and more.

Actually, that Grade 6 story might come true. This year, the Canadian Wildlife Federation has selected ‘Watersheds’ as their theme for Wildlife Week and Oceans’ Day (Spring 2006) and will highlight the RésEau Know-Your-Watershed site in a teachers’ kit mailed to all Canadian schools. Expect the initial release of Know-Your-Watershed via the RésEau site in January 2006.

(One final word of advice: Make sure you find the Know-Your-Watershed site before that Grade 6 class. Otherwise, it could be embarrassing.)

Biodiversity Program

A shared goal
As the Canadian pulp and paper industry moves toward achieving sustainable forest management, it recognizes that maintaining biodiversity is an essential part of that process. While biodiversity is a relatively new field of study, Canadian forest companies have, over the past several years, undertaken a wide range of projects to better understand the ecology of species and apply their findings in management plans. CPPA’s Biodiversity Program was created to serve as a central liaison point for building awareness and for sharing the initiatives being taken to maintain the richness of our forests and waters.
Through its network of participating companies, CPPA’s Biodiversity Program enables our members to share their experience and expertise as they integrate biodiversity conservation into their sustainable forest management strategy. At the same time, the program serves as a primary communications link to a growing network of partners equally working to achieve this crucial environmental goal. The Program is also instrumental in coordinating the forest industry’s participation in local, national and international biodiversity initiatives.

The Canadian pulp and paper industry is joining forces with a network of partners committed to the responsible stewardship of forest lands, sharing information and contributing to common projects. For example, CPPA with Wildlife Habitat Canada are developing a Forest Stewardship Recognition Award program aimed at stimulating biodiversity conservation initiatives by all forest users.
CPPA’s Biodiversity Program acts as industry liaison with groups such as the Canadian Forestry Association for their Loggers for Wildlife workshops. In partnership with the Canadian Forest Service and the Biodiversity Convention Office, CPPA’s Biodiversity Program has led a project to determine the national status and trends of twenty keystone forest species. The program is also a member of Partners in Flight.

In addition to keeping its member companies informed and connected, CPPA’s Biodiversity Program seeks to raise awareness and interest with the public. We invite our visitors to browse through our Internet database where we have compiled the key information on our member companies’ biodiversity initiatives. If there is some additional information you would like, please feel free to contact us through our online form.
For our member companies and our partners, CPPA’s Biodiversity Program offers a range of communication opportunities, including seminars, workshops and dedicated publications to keep up to date on news and developments. The Biodiversity Challenge provides a concise overview of forest biodiversity issues in Canada, and The Bioforester, is a biennial newsletter on recent events. Both are available to the public.

As the biodiversity network grows, CPPA’s Biodiversity Program will continue to provide timely information and work to expand the industry’s contribution.

Moving Forward Together
Through CPPA’s Biodiversity Program, the industry coordinates its participation at the regional, national and international level. In Canada, it was involved in the development of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy and contributes to the Canadian Biodiversity Forum. It also coordinates the industry’s response to regulatory initiatives such as the Canadian Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Internationally, the industry actively participated in the elaboration of Canada’s position for the negotiation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
CPPA’s Biodiversity Program is closely following meetings of the Conferences of the Parties and of its Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice as well of those of the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests. Under the auspices of CPPA’s Biodiversity Program, the industry of is currently preparing its response to the Convention on Biological Diversity.