Erosion is where soil and sediment is worn away by wind, rain or even glaciers. In watersheds, steep banks combined with severe weather can result in landslides or creeks and rivers banks flooding. Tiny particles in our water supply add to the challenge of cleaning our water.
To minimize this risk, Metro Vancouver deactivates old roads, stabilizes slopes, strengths creek beds, and re-vegetates disturbed areas.
Water monitoring and forecasting
Monitoring stations throughout the watersheds help predict the impact of weather patterns on water quality. For example, in-stream data collection can signal when erosion in a tributary (side stream) may reach the reservoir.
Long-term data on precipitation and snowpack is also is useful for examining trends affecting water supply in our region, including the impacts of climate change.
Maintaining ecosystem health
These huge areas of forested land and protected wildlife habitat are valuable natural assets to our region. The ecological health of our watersheds contributes significantly to the clean water, soil, and air we enjoy in this part of the world.
Our watersheds are covered with old-growth and second-growth stands of predominately Western red cedar, Douglas-fir, Sitka Spruce, and hemlock trees. They are also home to wildlife such as the Douglas squirrel, barred owl, black tailed deer, and black bear.
Fish are present in all of the rivers flowing from our watersheds. While our first priority is to provide clean, safe drinking water, healthy fish habitat and populations play a key role in a balanced ecosystem. Metro Vancouver works on initiatives to restore habitat, and replenish fish stocks in the watersheds including protecting and creating healthy habitat to live, rear, and spawn; maintaining minimum populations; and providing safe passage past the dams. Salmon are a special consideration not only for ecosystem health but also for their cultural significance.