In pursuit of new relationships

Our greatest asset has always been the people that make up the BVRC community and our relationships with each other. The Centre exists in a constantly changing landscape that provides room for both the renewal of organizational partnerships and the creation of new connections. During this time of transition, we are going to focus on developing relationships with new organizations and nurturing established partnerships.

While there is a great deal of research happening, there is also uncertainty. I feel it is a top priority to deepen our work and relationships with First Nations organizations and communities. They have a growing need for capacity in the area of research, monitoring and assessment that we have the ability to fill. We also aim to strengthen our relationships with industry, government, academia and the public while adhering to our mandate.

While scientific research is the core of what we do, the Centre also establishes key connections with the community through Centre-sponsored events, field schools, conferences, awards/scholarships, and employment opportunities for administrative professionals and project managers.

Keep an eye on our website and your email inbox for information about an upcoming seminar on "The Human Dimension of the BVRC." The Centre is 50-50 people and science and our network will continue to be our greatest asset. The BVRC coalesces around the relationships we create and holds them together.

—Rick Budhwa, Executive Director

Farewell to Kala Hooker

Kala Hooker came to the BVRC at an important time. She served as Operations Manager for two and a half years, utilizing her creativity, organization, ambition, and positive disposition to become one of the most effective team members the Centre has ever had.

Kala fulfilled a mid-level management role that hadn't existed before at the Centre and illustrated the importance of having someone in this capacity. "At the Centre, I had the opportunity to grow and build on my strengths while working with great people. I have a clearer understanding of the importance of an organization like the BVRC to the scientific community and the public in the Bulkley Valley. The Centre is as much about science as it is about people, and bringing the two together in this great place where we live and work," says Kala.

She moulded her position into one that was not only her own, but provided a significant benefit to the BVRC. "Kala has left a legacy of how to manage aspects of the BVRC and do it right," says Rick. While she has moved on to pursue other personal and professional opportunities, we look forward to working with her in a different capacity in the future.

Lis Rach wins the 2016 BVRC Photography Contest

WINNER: eDNA Water Sampling by Lis Rach

Lis Rach has won the 2016 BVRC Photography Contest via democratic vote on our Facebook page (see all the entries HERE). She will receive a $50 Bugwood Bean gift card and a free one-year BVRC membership (worth $50). Congratulations, Lis!

Thank you to everyone who submitted their photos to the contest. This year's theme was "people in the environment" and we received many beautiful and inspiring images that capture our members and contractors hard at work in the field.

2016 ML/ARD Field School

From August 29th to September 2nd, the BVRC hosted an international group of scientists and industry professionals at the 2016 Metal Leaching/Acid Rock Drainage Field School. This course provided participants with an opportunity for hands-on learning, knowledge sharing, and networking with peers from around the world.

We would like to thank our primary instructor, Bill Price, and all of the mine tour leaders who worked together to make this field school such a huge success.

Member profile: Saeid Assaf

Saeid Assaf and his family arrived in Smithers this past February thanks to the efforts of the Bulkley Valley Refugee Sponsorship Group and his cousin, Mona Awil, who immigrated to Canada twelve years ago. Saeid is from Homs, which was devastated by the Syrian revolution and ongoing conflict that began in 2011. After enduring five years of displacement, struggle, and serious health concerns for his daughter, Saeid and his family are rebuilding their lives here in Canada.

Saeid is a chemical engineer by training with twenty years of professional experience at a power station in Homs. The war not only displaced him and his family from their home, but also disrupted his career. This past summer, Saeid became a member of the BVRC after the Centre sponsored his participation in the recent Metal Leaching/Acid Rock Drainage Field School (ML/ARD). This five-day course welcomed participants from around the world, providing a unique networking opportunity for everyone involved. "It gave me an opportunity to learn and connect with colleagues that speak my language, in a professional sense," says Saeid.

Saeid attends English language classes at Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA) and Northwest Community College, but admits that securing adequate employment is still a struggle. As a member of the BVRC community, he will have the opportunity to establish and develop relationships and connections that align with his professional background and expertise.

When he arrived in Smithers nine months ago, Saeid noticed the stark difference in climate, and at first the food seemed tasteless to him. He speaks of Syria in terms we don't read in the news: the beauty of its mountain ranges and plains, and the contrast between the humid Mediterranean coast and the arid desert regions. This past spring, he and his family planted a garden and he has now found a taste for some of the local fare. "I see every month based on the last one—we hope for a good, new life, but good things come slowly," says Saeid.

Project profile: Skeena Knowledge Trust

The Bulkley Valley Research Centre is partnering with Skeena First Nations, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Province of British Columbia to design and establish the Skeena Knowledge Trust (SKT). The Trust was born from the need to know what salmon-related information exists in the watershed and how it is changing so we can work toward more informed decision-making about Skeena salmon and their habitats.

The purpose of the SKT is to become a comprehensive source of information on wild Pacific salmonids in the Skeena Watershed, including water quality, habitat, and population data. Strategically, the project will be structured to integrate with existing decision-making processes, including a variety of cumulative effects initiatives surrounding the various pipeline and LNG proposals, climate change adaptation assessments, fisheries recovery plans, and sustainable forest management planning.

The multi-disciplinary SKT Governance Establishment Group is comprised of Don Morgan (Project Manager, BVRC), Johanna Pfalz (Project Coordinator, Eclipse Geomatics), Greg Knox (SkeenaWild Conservation Trust), Richard Overstall (Buri, Overstall), and Blair Ells (FLNRO). The Governance Establishment Group is currently recruiting Settlors and Trustees to finalize the formation of the Trust.

The Skeena Salmon Data Centre, managed by the SKT, is a delivery tool aimed to compile and communicate credible data and information relating to wild Pacific salmon in the Skeena watershed. This resource will help inform and enable the assessment of resource development proposals and government policy by First Nations and non-government organizations, as well as regional, municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

Read more

BVRC Holiday Social: December 9, 2016

Mark your calendars! The annual BVRC Holiday Social is scheduled for December 9, 2016. Drop by the BVRC office anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. for festive drinks and appies on us!

We are located at 3883 Third Avenue in Smithers. For more information, contact us at 250-847-2827, or email

Job Opportunity at the Forest Practices Board

Director, Investigations
Forest Practices Board
Victoria, BC

The Forest Practices Board is recruiting a key individual to lead the independent investigation of public complaints and special investigations of forest and range practice issues affecting stewardship of Crown lands in British Columbia. The Forest Practices Board serves the public interest as the independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices in British Columbia.

Click HERE to find out more about this opportunity and for information about how to apply. Applications must be received by November 18, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

Call for Proposals from Environment and Climate Change Canada

The 2017-2018 call for proposals for the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) and the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) are now open until December 9, 2016.

AFSAR is now in its 14th year, and provides funding to support projects aimed at developing Indigenous capacity for participation in the recovery of species at risk and protection of their habitats.

HSP is now in its 18th year, and provides funding to help Canadians protect species at risk and their habitats, as well as proactively preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern.

For more information about these programs and to obtain the 2017-2018 application guidelines, please visit: Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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