Campaigning for the Fraser

Working towards conservation solutions can take time, energy, careful consideration, and collaboration. Few people know this better than the elected officials who work to balance the health of the environment with the needs of their constituency.

Through this exercise, you will step into the shoes of a local government official serving the Fraser Watershed.  You will be up for reelection soon but, prior to voting day, there are five key environmental issues which you will need to weigh in on.  Your goal is to position yourself for re-election within eight key demographics, while also maintaining or improving the health and resilience of the Fraser River.  

To make an informed decision on each issue, you will be provided with a briefing which you are encouraged to review prior to taking your stance.  Click the issue headline to access your briefing, then scroll down to weigh in on this issue.   

At the bottom of the page, you will see how your constituency responds to your stance on the issues at hand. You can learn more about each demographic’s values and priorities* by hovering over the icon. Your campaign has pressed you to achieve a 65% or higher cumulative approval rating, leading up to the election.

* The demographics of this constituency are for educational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect an actual constituency within British Columbia.

BRIEFING # 1 of 5

Industrial development

The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project (known as the T2 expansion) is a proposed plan by the Port of Vancouver to build a second shipping terminal at the mouth of the Fraser River. You’ve been asked to give a statement on whether you would support this project.

Community Perspectives
  1. Many constituents are on the fence about T2.
  2. Those opposed have concerns around the viability of the Southern Resident Killer Whale population if the expansion project would be approved; these whales depend upon Chinook salmon for survival.
  3. Those in favor of T2 are saying opponents to the project are “anti-job” and “not concerned about the economy.”
  4. The Tsawwassen First Nation has spoken up, asking for more information on the project to address concerns around access to resources that are integral to the Nation’s culture and well-being.
Considerations
  1. The T2 expansion will effectively create a new island at the mouth of the Fraser estuary, the size of 250 football fields. This project will allow for more cargo to flow in and out of the Port of Vancouver.
  2. Supporters of the T2 expansion say it’s a critical piece to fulfill trade needs in British Columbia and across Canada.  The expansion will open up the door to more trade with Asia, creating more business opportunities and jobs in the region.
  3. Those in opposition to T2 say that its development will cause irreparable, long-term damage to over 1,000 hectares of habitat in the Fraser estuary, which includes critical feeding grounds and habitat for migratory shorebirds, orcas, and salmon.  They also say that there is not a strong business case for a second terminal in this location, and that supporting a port in Prince Rupert (980 km north of Vancouver) would be a better alternative.
BRIEFING # 2 of 5

Climate change

The region is proposing a parking tax increase, to pay for transit upgrades that will make public transportation more accessible. Your vote could make the difference in whether the tax increase is approved or denied.

Community Perspectives
  1. The already-struggling tourism and recreation industry and business industry would be most affected by a tax increase; these groups are asking for support in measures to make their operations more—not less—accessible. The opposition party has aligned with these industries on this issue.
  2. Those living in the city are generally in favor of the increase (and the reduction in traffic associated with fewer cars in the city.)
Considerations
  1. The proposed increase will raise taxes on parking garages and meters in the region from 21% to 29% over the course of two years.
  2. Supporters see the tax increase as a way to provide improved and more frequent public transit options—one of the more important emissions reduction solutions for the region. They say the tax increase will provide further incentive for tourists and residents alike to choose low-emissions transit options when navigating the region.
  3. Opponents to this measure say that parking taxes are already high, and that further increases will negatively impact businesses. There is a concern that those living in the suburbs or visiting the region will choose to take their business to the surrounding regions, where parking is less costly.
BRIEFING # 3 of 5

Human expansion & development

A coalition of environmental organizations are pushing for the legal protection of a section of land containing old growth forests in the watershed. They are seeking support and comments on their plan from local government officials like you.

Community Perspectives
  1. Some First Nations in BC, including the nearby Squamish Nation, have called for a moratorium on old growth logging in their territory.
  2. Many of your constituents are employed by the forestry industry, and job security has polled as one of the top priorities among voters.
Considerations
  1. The proposed plan will protect 1,000 hectares of Crown land from logging.  A portion of this land contains old growth trees, which provide habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife.  This land sits adjacent to an existing logging site, and is also of interest to the forestry industry.
  2. Supporters cite old growth forests as a unique and critically important habitat in need of protection.  Once lost, this habitat cannot be replanted or recreated.  Supporters also point to these forests as an important natural solution to capturing carbon emissions.  
  3. Opponents to the plan cite the increased demand for timber and the need for access to BC’s rich natural resources. Forestry is a major source of jobs in the area, and timber prices are on the rise.
BRIEFING # 4 of 5

Invasive species

You will be voting on a new proposal to combat the threat of invasive species in the Fraser River.  Proposed measures include training requirements for boat owners to learn about invasive species and fines for boaters who don’t comply with invasive species mitigation practices.

Community Perspectives
  1. While supportive of invasive species mitigation practices, some parks have concerns around what this training requirement would mean for daily boat rentals – a popular recreational activity among visitors to your region.
  2. Profit margins for fishers have been dwindling recently, due to decreased fish stocks in the Fraser.
  3. Those opposed to mandatory trainings want to focus efforts on more frequent and thorough invasive inspection stations for boaters.
Considerations
  1. Proposed training measures will require all boaters to pass a virtual course on invasive species mitigation practices—such as bilge flushing and how to perform a visual inspection for invasive species—to prevent the spread of invasive species while boating. The training will cost $10 to access and boaters will have three months to pass the course. Any boaters found to be on the water without having passed the training will be fined $100. Fees collected will pay for new signage on invasive species prevention and staffing at invasive inspection stations at high traffic areas.
  2. Supporters of these new measures applaud the focus on education and awareness, which are proven to be successful in reducing the spread of invasive species.  They see this new training as formalizing every boater’s responsibility to act as good stewards to the environment.
  3. Opponents to these measures feel that extra training will be a barrier to people enjoying the river recreationally, and will be an undue burden to those who make their living on the water. They say that many of these practices are already common among boaters, and that additional training and regulation is not necessary.
Community Perspectives
  1. Farmers are at the center of this issue; they feel they can determine when to apply fertilizer without government oversight.
  2. Families and young professionals have been raising concerns about the rising costs of food in the region. They say they want to buy local, but affordable options are not always available.
Considerations
  1. Currently, fertilizer application is permitted between April and September, and conditions must pass runoff-related risk assessments prior to application in the months of October, February, and March. No fertilizer application is permitted between November and January.  
  2. The proposed relaxed bylaw would permit fertilizer application for two additional months in October and March, and would allow application in November and February if risk assessments are successfully passed. Fertilizer application would still be banned in December and January. 
  3. Supporters of this bylaw feel it will lead to an increase in local food produced, which will help meet the demands of a growing population in the region. They say that, without these measures, food prices could rise. 
  4. Opponents of this bylaw are concerned about the increased risk of pollution associated with runoff. They see this as a potential health hazard to people looking to enjoy the river, those who fish in it, and the risks to habitat health.
ResetSubmitNext Issue
You have gained the support of business owners and wealthy donors, because the T2 expansion is economically profitable and will create more business opportunities and jobs in the region. However, you dramatically lost the support of ENGOs, and lost favor with farmers, fishers, and the tourism and recreation industry due to the environmental damage associated with the expansion. You also lost significant health within the Fraser River.
You have gained support from business owners and wealthy political donors, but some business owners are unhappy with the costs of additional environmental protections. You have lost support from ENGOs, farmers, and the tourism and recreation industry, but not as much as you would have without the new environmental precautions. You also lost health within the Fraser River.
You have lost some support from business owners and wealthy donors due to the loss of business opportunities and jobs. While ENGOs and the tourism and recreation industry support your decision to oppose T2, they are still concerned about pollution associated with increased shipping traffic. The health of the Fraser River decreases, as well.
You have lost support from business owners and wealthy donors due to the loss of business opportunities and jobs. However, you have gained support from ENGOs, the tourism and recreation industry, farmers, and fishers because environmental damage is avoided. The health of the Fraser increases substantially because of this decision.
You have gained the support of ENGOs and young professionals, since transit upgrades will increase public transportation options and reduce carbon emissions associated with vehicle traffic. However, you have lost support from business owners, the tourism and recreation industry, and families, because the parking tax greatly decreases accessibility for them. The health of the Fraser increases significantly.
You have gained the support of ENGOs and young professionals, since transit upgrades will increase public transportation options and reduce traffic emissions. You only lost some support from business owners and the tourism and recreation industry, in offering some respite from the parking tax, and families offer lukewarm approval for the decision. The health of the Fraser increases.
You have gained some support from ENGOs since the tax would reduce traffic emissions, but the exemption of residents decreases the amount of tax money available for transit upgrades. Young professionals support you, since they are mostly exempt from the tax. You have lost support from the tourism and recreation industry and business owners since their operations are made less accessible to visitors. You have also lost some support from families, because the tax makes a trip into the city more expensive. The health of the Fraser River increases slightly.
You have lost support from ENGOs and young professionals, since there will not be any transit upgrades and or reduced emissions. However, you have gained the support of business owners, the tourism and recreation industry, and families by keeping the cost of driving and parking in the city the same for them. The health of the Fraser River decreases.
You have gained the support of ENGOs, young professionals, the tourism and recreation industry, and fishers, in your decision to preserve old growth forests and their associated wildlife habitats. However, you have lost support from some wealthy donors and business owners, who see this decision as bad for BC’s economy. The Fraser River watershed’s health increases significantly.
ENGOs have some hesitations about this plan, but young professionals and the tourism and recreation industry are supportive of your decision, since most of the old-growth forest will be protected. You have gained slight support from business owners and wealthy donors, in offering limited access to this natural resource. However, any old growth logging leads to a decrease in Fraser River health.
You have gained minor support from young professionals and the tourism and recreation industry, since some habitats will be protected. ENGOs are concerned about the reliance between ecosystems, so support from this group has decreased. Conversely, business owners increase their support for you, applauding the increased access to timber. Wealthy donors see this as economically profitable, and an opportunity to showcase their care for the environment. However, the health of the Fraser decreases.
You have lost the support of ENGOs, young professionals, the tourism and recreation industry, and fishers, due to the loss of pristine and important wildlife habitats. You have gained the support of business owners and wealthy donors, who see this as a boost to the economy and an important new source for timber. The health of the Fraser significantly decreases.
You have gained the support of ENGOs, families, and young professionals, who see this as a good way to promote education and awareness. However, you have lost support from fishers and the tourism and recreation industry, who see this as an unnecessary and costly burden, and a barrier to their business. The health of the Fraser increases.
You have gained the support of ENGOs, families, and young professionals, who see this as an excellent way to promote education and awareness. However, you have lost minor support from fishers, who see the training as burden but appreciate that it is free of charge. You lose the most favour with the tourism and recreation industry, who consider the training a significant barrier to boat rentals. The health of the Fraser River generally increases.
You have gained some support from families and young professionals, who see this as an opportunity for increasing education and awareness among those who are out on the water most frequently. ENGOs also support you but are concerned about untrained recreational boat users. This decision is also supported by the tourism and recreation industry, who are unaffected. However, you have lost significant support fishers, who feel ostracized and perceive this as an undue burden. The health of the Fraser River increases slightly.
You have gained support from the tourism and recreation industry and fishers, who applaud the move away from trainings and fines. However, you support from families, young professionals, and ENGOs decreases—they see this as a lost opportunity for stopping the spread of invasive species. The health of the Fraser River suffers from this decision.
You have gained support from young professionals and families, who are eager to see affordable prices for local food. You make the most gains with farmers, who believe this will maximize food production and profits for their farms. However, you have lost support from fishers, ENGOs, and the tourism and recreation industry, due to the increased risk of pollution associated with runoff. The health of the river decreases significantly.
You have gained some support from farmers, who are willing to have stricter assessment procedures in return for more relaxed fertilizer spread limits. You have also gained support from young professionals and families, who are aware of the environmental risks but are eager for more affordable food prices. However, you have lost some support from fishers, ENGOs, and the tourism and recreation industry due to the continued risk for runoff pollution. The health of the Fraser River decreases.
You have gained minor support from farmers, who were hoping for more freedom in fertilizer application but appreciate the relaxed risk assessment protocols. You have also gained some support from young professionals and families, who are aware of the environmental risks but are eager for more affordable food prices. Fishers, ENGOs, and the tourism and recreation industry are somewhat wary of the decision, but offer little opposition since runoff pollution is greatest during the winter months. The health of the Fraser makes a slight decrease.
You have lost significant support from farmers, who feel strongly that they should have the right to determine when to apply fertilizer without government oversight. You have also lost some support from families and young professionals, who have concerns about rising food prices. However, you have gained support from fishers, ENGOs, and the tourism and recreation industry, since the risk for runoff pollution is minimized. The health of the Fraser River measurably increases.
FINAL SCORECARD
Election Forecast Report
Business Owners
ENGOs
Families
Farmers
Commercial Fishers
Tourism & Recreation
Wealthy Political Donors
Young Professionals
Total Approval Rating
Fraser River Health Score
Summary Report
Above 65%, Fraser Health increases - Nice work! You were able to generate enough support from your constituency to position yourself to be reelected, while also improving the health of the Fraser River. That’s not an easy task—you may have a future in local government!
Below 65%, Fraser Health increases - While you did a good job of improving the health of the Fraser River, it looks like you lost approval with too many voters in your region – it's unlikely that you will win your upcoming election. To go back and revisit your position on these issues, click the button below.
Above 65%, Fraser Health decreases - You were able to generate enough support from your constituency to position yourself to be reelected, but this support came at a cost—the health of the Fraser River declined. To go back and revisit your position on these issues, click the button below.
Below 65%, Fraser Health decreases – The election forecast isn’t good—the decisions you’ve made have resulted in lost support from your constituents. Additionally, the health of the Fraser River declined. To go back and revisit your position on these issues, click the button below.
Outcomes
 
Future Health of the Fraser River Watershed

KEY DEMOGRAPHICS

50%
 
Families
50%
 
Commercial Fishers
50%
 
Business Owners
50%
 
Tourism & Recreation Industry
50%
 
ENGOs
50%
 
Young Professionals
50%
 
Farmers
50%
 
Wealthy Political Donors
50%
0
My Approval RatingMy Approval RatingMy Approval Rating
Families

Within your constituency, the majority of families are middle classlive in the suburbs, are property owners, and are largely concerned with health and safety, affordability, jobs, and maintaining easy access to their needs. They value the environment, but it’s not always at the top of their priority list.

Commercial Fishers

Fishers are invested in keeping fish populations healthy, as this directly affects their future livelihood. They must balance this with the continued need to make a living in the current environment. Generally, they are weary of additional regulations that add complications to their work.

Business Owners

The business owner demographic in your constituency is mostly comprised of local small business and restaurant owners. This group is generally opposed to more regulations—as that usually means they need to pay to change something they are doing—and in favor of initiatives that will reduce their taxes. They also care about the community that they operate within, and frequently support or sponsor local initiatives, including local park clean ups.

Tourism & Recreation Industry

The tourism and recreation industry is very supportive of local businesses and enterprises, and is always looking for new ways to draw in visitors to the area.  They also see the value in keeping a healthy and beautiful environment, which is one of the region’s biggest draws.

ENGOs

Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are champions for Watershed CPR in your constituency. They put the health of the river and watershed first, and are in vocal support of protection, restoration, and any measures that work to build a more sustainable and resilient future for the Fraser Watershed.

Young Professionals

The majority of young professionals in your constituency are renting property in the city and do not own or depend upon a car to get around. They tend to be more invested in environmental issues and, overall, are supportive of sustainability measures.

Farmers

Farmers want to be able to provide affordable, high-quality food to the region in a way that allows them to support their families. They are concerned about climate change (flooding and droughts, specifically) and invested in water and land health. However, theare not typically very vocal on political or environmental issues.

Wealthy Political Donors

Wealthy political donors in your constituency are supportive of environmental causes, while also remaining protective of their assets and how they make money (largely through the profits of corporations and industry). They are most concerned with job growth and keeping taxes low.

ResetNext Issue

Balancing the needs of people, economy, and the environment is an extremely challenging task. In reality, there are few—if any!— easy solutions to the complex conservation issues we face today. Think about it—if solving these conservation concerns was easy, we’d already be doing it. Each decision we make, whether at the governmental level or within our daily lives, has ripple effects, many of which we have yet to begin to measure. Openness to change, collaboration, and a united dedication to building a resilient environment will be critical to future conservation successes.

Continue to Next PageCongratulations! You’ve unlocked the Watershed Defender ChallengeCongratulations! You’ve unlocked the Watershed Defender Challenge

Teacher’s Guide

Teacher’s Guide – Salmon Fry (best suited for elementary school students)

Teacher’s Guide – Salmon (best suited for high school students & older)

Feedback

Please use this form to let us know what you think of this resource. Are there improvements you’d like to see? Good and bad, we’d like to hear from you!

 

Resources

Additional Resources – Salmon Fry (best suited for elementary school students)

Additional Resources – Salmon (best suited for high school students and older)

Keep learning about Watershed CPR with this resource from the Fraser River Discovery Centre: My River, My Home

About

The Watershed CPR Education Program is a self-guided, virtual learning experience all about the Fraser River, created by the Rivershed Society of BC.

In this virtual experience, users are introduced to the three pillars of Watershed CPR—Connect, Protect, and Restore—through a series of engaging activities and interactives about the Fraser Watershed. Users will learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit the Fraser; the First Nations who have lived in this area since time immemorial; some of the conservation issues affecting the watershed; and how to “perform Watershed CPR” and become a Watershed Defender.

To learn more about Watershed CPR and the Rivershed Society of BC, visit rivershed.com.

 

Thank you to our partners in development: Cicada Creative and Canadian Geographic, and immense gratitude to the Kwantlen First Nation for their time and contributions to the program. Consultation from Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Funding provided by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, via the Environmental Damages Fund.

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This Golden Paw Print means that this is information that can help make your migration journey successful in the Watershed Defender section.