SWSS Celebrates its 20th Anniversary!

The Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society began its 20th Anniversary year by hosting a Celebration on Saturday, April 21, from 5:00 – 9:00 pm at the Salmo Secondary School, 715 Davies Street.

The Anniversary’s Guest Speaker, Corky Evans, our notable former MLA, provided the sold out crowd of 130-celebrants with a thought-provoking talk about how we could better manage our forests and watersheds; following an opening welcome given by our current MLA, Michelle Mungall.

The celebration was assured its success when our famous local chef, Scott MacLean agreed to Dinner prepare the Dinner.  And yes, all celebrants reported that it was over-the-top delicious!

After dinner, the SWSS History and Future Dreamscape presentation was delivered by Gerry Nellestijn, our intrepid Coordinator.  Then SWSS’s first Summer Student, Lisa Pavelich, now co-owner of Masse Environmental, followed with her Perspectives & Thoughts.

In recent years, the SWSS has been involved in promoting the return of the extirpated Salmon to their traditional home in the Salmo River.  To further this vision, the Anniversary’s Theme, Imagine Salmon, was realized with Celebration swag and entertainment.

An original Andrew Raney wire Salmon, along with Stickers and Flags, and a Salmon tattoo designed by Val Malescu were given to each Celebrant. Entertainment was enthusiastically enjoyed before dinner with a song about Salmon, sung by the Salmo Children’s Centre Salmo(n) Singers. A fantastic, and moving dance was performed with a rare appearance by the Famous Salmo(n) River Dancers.


Margaux Resources Ltd.
Columbia Power Corporation
Beaumont Timber Company Ltd.
Kootenay Savings and Credit Union
Monticola Forest Ltd.
Custom Dozing Ltd.
Masse Environmental Consultants Ltd.
Pandion Ecological Research Ltd.
Frank Communications Inc.
Nelson Star
Secure By Design

20th Anniversary Celebration Community Sponsors
Andrew Raney Steel Sculpture
Salmo Secondary School
Salmo Valley Youth & Community Centre
Salmo Community Services
Ymir Community Hall
First Christian Reformed Church of Vancouver
Underground Coffee

THE SWSS CELEBRATES ITS FIRST 20 YEARS, here’s a few details:

SWSS emerged out of a Community-based “Forest Transition Strategy” workshop facilitated by the NDP Government in 1998. The ‘Strategy’ outlined a number of approaches to generate jobs at a time when the local mining sector had collapsed and the forestry sector was in decline. Watershed Restoration was identified as a possible way to generate employment in the area.

Interested folks came together, created the SWSS as a largely volunteer, not for profit, charitable organization to open the door of that opportunity. And have we succeeded! Advocacy, science, monitoring, outreach/education and restoration has generated approximately $10 million dollars of economic activity!

SWSS and their partners have proudly been able to bring the Salmo River Watershed to be one of the best scientifically characterized Watersheds in the nation! We know the “Place Where We Live”. Through our multi-faceted “The River Speaks” Awareness Campaign we have reached out to over 2000 students of all ages and levels, spoken at approximately 30 conferences here and abroad. We have given presentations at Rod and Gun Clubs, government organizations and others with interests in the Environment and Green Economic Development.

We invited artist groups on numerous occasions to workshops, to educate them about Water issues and Environmental reality, based on science. Partnering with regional Galleries, we were able to show the Artists inspired pieces to bring those issues to the public. Honouring the beauty of this Place!

We have brought a wide diversity of groups together, from the USA and the Canadian Columbia Basin to advocate – honouring Canadian First Nations’ and US Tribal vision – to include Ecosystem Function into the Columbia River Treaty. Salmon Reintroduction is the benchmark of Ecosystem Function, we are helping with our Imagine Salmon campaign. We see the renegotiation of this Treaty, which is going on right now, as “the single most important opportunity we will have in our lifetime to make real Environmental change”.

SWSS is not just about issues and concerns, we have defined ourselves by action! Based on hard, reputable science we have attracted some of the best scientific minds in the west. Science for us is not just about studies that collect dust on forgotten shelves. They have allowed us to move ahead with knowledgeable outreach, instream restoration, wetland construction, mine tailings restoration, riparian area restoration, food web restoration and well thought out monitoring programs to rate effects of our activities. We have built over 1.3 km’s of instream habitat, constructed about 1650 sq. metres of wetland, played a leading role in food web experimentation and enhancement.

SWSS leadership is provided by our Executive Group as well as a multi-stakeholder Watershed Planning Team (WPT), made up of members from First Nations, landowners, industry, and Canadian and US government agencies to reflect the Salmo River’s transboundary geography. The WPT helped us to develop the ‘Salmo/Pend d’Oreille Watershed Aquatic Ecosystem Health Improvement Plan’, which prioritizes six objectives, containing a number of strategies and actions that lead to the completion the objectives. WPT members help with carrying out those objectives. The Plan, provides a mechanism or approach, that is now providing inspiration for action to other areas of the Columbia Basin.

The WPT agrees with the Streamkeeper philosophy that “those who benefit from the Environment should contribute to a stable approach to restore that Environment”, shouldn’t we all? Don’t we all intuitively know that a Healthy Environment means a Healthy Community? Equally, don’t we all realize that our economy is entirely dependent on our Environment? Let’s celebrate that thinking together April 21st!

Caring for What We Don’t Own
Find out information about SWSS, the Salmo River Watershed, and Streamkeeping, where citizens can learn how to assess the health of their local watersheds. Pages also include our stewardship and awareness activities, provide access to our Reports, and indicates how you can help the Salmo River.

The SWSS envisions a Salmo River that is clean and healthy, that supports a diverse range of species, and enables sustainable economic activity. Please join us!