EDITORIAL: River monitor
The health of the Coquitlam River can’t be measured by one small study taken over a few days in one single year.
There is no point in getting overly excited about Coquitlam’s self-funded and self-reviewed $13,000 study that found the river is “in good shape overall.” While the city’s study is a good first step, it is limited in scope and more testing days are needed over many more years to get a true picture of the river’s well-being.
The results, which flagged issues such as slightly high dissolved oxygen rates and an unusual copper reading, only prove that the river needs to be monitored and protected from development and pollution.
This is not the time to rest on laurels. Indeed, the study’s findings only prove that the more people who take an interest in the health of the river the more its long-term viability can be protected.
The city of Coquitlam deserves credit for taking a leadership role and bearing some responsibility for the health of the river. But this modest effort at data gathering shouldn’t merely be an exercise in public relations for either the gravel industry or the city itself.
There is another much larger project that deserves even more recognition — the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable — a collaborative effort involving both the city, the aggregate industry and many other groups and agencies.
Funded in part by the real estate industry, BC Hydro, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam, Metro Vancouver, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Kwikwetlem First Nation and other partners, the roundtable co-ordinates and implements activities that will promote the river’s long-term sustainability. Dozens of groups and individuals are involved — from artists, to hunters and fishermen, to watershed residents — and all support a common vision that includes, education, stewardship, and of course, monitoring.
Without more knowledge of the river’s health, we can’t be sure if our actions are making a difference, for good or for bad. Thankfully, enough people who care are paying attention and that bodes well for the future.