Interests - Conservationists and Stewards - LOWER River

Constituency Representative: Neil Brooks [Alt. Barb Dutot] <barbdutot@gmail.com>
 

Description:
Our constituency consists of people who consider the protection of the river's ecosystems critical to the survival of all species who depend on it. The World Wildlife Fund reports that in the last 40 years freshwater species have declined by a whopping 81%. Already the Shuswap River watershed has 62 species of special concerns. It is time to be proactive and prevent further damage. Although motorized recreation is not the only source of harm, it is certainly one of them, and regulations are needed.

Interests:

  1. Water Quality & Clarity - Aquatic species need clear water in order to find food and clean water in order to remain healthy. Pollutants from motor boats can enter the water during use or through spillage. They include metals (lead, cadmium, mercury), nutrients (phosphorus, nitrates), and hydrocarbons (methane, gasoline, oil-based products). This can affect the pH, lower the oxygen levels of the water, cause turbidity and promote weed growth. Motor boats can also affect water clarity by churning up the bottom or causing erosion.
  2. Quiet & Safe environment - Aquatic species and animals need quiet to sense danger, protect themselves, reproduce, raise their young, and feed. Loud motor boats disturb birds and other animals' communications and cause stress, making all species vulnerable to sickness. Motor boat wakes can also drown shorebirds' nests.

  3. Varied topography – Healthy rivers have changing water depths, a range of bottom sediments, and diverse physical shapes from shallow riffles to quiet back channels and deep pools. This support a wide variety of aquatic plants and animals, which in turn contributes to nutrient cycling, stabilizes sediments, provides food and shelter, and helps the ecosystem withstand pressures from pollution, climate change and other human impacts. Motor boats can change these features, particularly at low water, disturbing bottom sediments, changing bank topography, introducing pollutants and interrupting species survival.

  4. Robust vegetation - Healthy rivers have diverse algal and aquatic plant communities, and well- vegetated side banks. Aquatic plants provide food and cover for aquatic animals, and help maintain good water quality. River bank vegetation provides shade for aquatic species in the summer, helps moderate changes in water temperature which can be lethal to young fish fry, provides habitat for insects and birds that contribute to the food web, and protects against erosion during periods of high water. Cumulative impacts of motor boats can destroy critical riparian habitat, cause bank erosion, introduce sediments, and impact water quality, negatively impacting this fragile ecosystem.

  5. Free of invasive aquatic species - The Upper Shuswap River is rich in native mussel beds. These play an important role by filtering the water (each mussel can filter and clean well over 50 litres of water/day) and they mix and oxygenate the river bottom sediments, increasing the productivity and diversity of life forms. Zebra mussels brought in by boats can kill native mussels.

Communications:
I communicate with my constituents via newsletters, telephone, emails, face to face meetings and the Pro River Coalition Webpage which will contain updates of meetings.
 
Neil Brooks