Chapman Creek Watershed
Healthy watersheds naturally clean, filter, and store water, as well as providing key nutrients and habitat for native flora and fauna, making them vitally important to not only human health, but the health of our entire ecosystem.
Here on the Lower Sunshine Coast, we have been challenged by greatly reduced summer rainfall, with the result that the main community water source (Chapman Lake, draining into Chapman Creek) has been inadequate to supply the water used by the community.
During the fall of 2023, the SCCA will present a community education program called Watersheds and Our Water Supply, with the goal of explaining to the community how watersheds work, what challenges the Chapman Lake Watershed is experiencing, and what can we do as community members to protect our water supply and keep the watershed healthy.
We will encourage community members to sign up for an SCRD service that will email them each month, letting them know how much water their property used that month, how this compares to their usage last year and how it compares to the average usage of other properties in the SCRD. Our goal is to encourage community members to reduce their use of water, in order to maintain the health of the watershed and also ensure adequate community water supply throughout the year.
This campaign will include a series of educational posts on social media, action calls to sign up for SCRD emails, and in-depth materials organized in the section of our website called Watersheds and Our Water Supply (under the menu item Learn & Discover).
Related SCCA Campaigns
Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds
Historically, the major rivers on the Sunshine Coast produced a landed salmon catch measuring in the hundreds of millions of kilograms annually. Then the fishery began to decline sharply in the 1970s from overfishing, hydroelectric dams and logging.
In 2005, the Fisheries Sensitive Watershed (FSW) designation was created by the British Columbia government. Its purpose was to ensure that forestry activities did not compromise fisheries values in major fish-bearing watersheds.
As of 2012, government had not yet designated any FSWs in the greater Sunshine Coast region, so the SCCA decided to make the nominations ourselves.
Through our Habitat Area Nomination Project we proposed seventeen formal nominations of specific areas for Fisheries Sensitive Watershed (FSW) designation.
West Howe Sound Watershed
The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and Town of Gibsons supply potable water to approximately 30,000 full and part time residents on the Sunshine Coast. The primary source of freshwater is the Chapman/Gray Watershed system.
Over time, increased demand (population growth) and recurring drought (climate change) have resulted in growing “water deficit.” To address this deficit, the SCRD is investigating groundwater sources and considering next steps to connect aquifers to the primary Chapman Water System.
Two aquifers at the base of Mount Elphinstone in the West Howe Sound Watershed, currently yield large volumes of high-quality water that could make up more than 1/2 of the SCRD’s anticipated water deficit for the next 50 years. If this system is protected.
Updates on Chapman Creek Watershed
According to an article in the Coast Reporter, “There is a new wildfire burning near Chapman Lake and the Clowhom Lake fire has increased in size dramatically.”
Given the location of the fires in the park, upstream from our primary drinking water source areas, the SCCA reached out to government contacts to track the situation.
The Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Centre invites businesses to join the SCRD, the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization and Sunshine Coast Tourism for a virtual water update for local businesses on July 12, 2023, at 9:00am. Get updated on water supply conditions and learn where to find information throughout the summer. There will be a short presentation from the SCRD and time to ask questions.
A large portion of BC Timber Sales (BCTS) tenure area on Mt. Elphinstone is in the Mountain Block recharge area of two prolific aquifers (560 & 552). These aquifers supplement Sunshine Coast’s primary drinking water system. As climate change wreaks havoc on the Chapman Creek Watershed, our community is relying more and more on these …
BC’s Chief Forester will soon decide an Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) for the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District (SCNRD). The AAC determines how much logging can occur in the Timber Harvest Land Base (THLB) on the Sunshine Coast over the next ten years. NOTE: The THLB represents 160,000 hecatres of public forested land, but it is NOT the only place …
Who would have imagined that 90% of Sunshine Coast residents would be subjected to Stage 4 water restrictions in December? What happened, and what can be done about it? What Happened? As most locals are aware, following a long dry summer, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) announced Stage 4 water restrictions on August 31st. …
On Oct 31 the BC Watershed Security Coalition sent a letter calling for the creation of the Watershed Security Fund in Budget 2023 to all members of the Treasury Board and other strategic Ministers, including Premier David Eby ahead of the cabinet committee meeting discussing the Watershed Security Strategy and Fund. On Friday, Dec 1, at a …
SCCA Executive Director Suzanne Senger and SCRD Vice-Chair Donna McMahon shared the Sunshine Coast’s water challenges on the national stage, with an article in the Globe and Mail. The article details what the two saw when they hiked up to Chapman Lake (the subalpine water reservoir which serves 90% of the population on the Sunshine …
A bogus petition calling on the BC Minister of Environment to remove lands from the Tetrahedron Provincial Park and enable further development of Chapman Lake is circulating in our community. This request is an unfounded, misleading non-starter. The Tetrahedron Provincial Park Master Plan includes a requirement for comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) when a new activity is proposed in a park. …
Diversification of drinking water sources, protection of source area ecosystems, and environmental flows are crucial for the long term sustainability of the local drinking water system. The Sunshine Coast is experiencing drought. Again. Lawns are brown, farms are suffering, streams are dry and fish are stranded. A week after the IPCC declared Climate Code Red, …
BC PARKS OPEN HOUSE – THURSDAY MAY 24th As part of BC Parks consultation process, they are hosting another Open House to get input from our community on either revoking the Tetrahedron Provincial Park’s Class A status, or removing Chapman and Edwards Lake from the Park in order to build the Chapman Water Expansion Project. …