Nanaimo River

Photo – Gillian Butler


The Nanaimo River Watershed

The Nanaimo River Watershed originates from the Island Range on central Vancouver Island, consisting of over a dozen major tributaries and four major lakes. From the headwaters to the estuary it encompasses 95,000 hectares with a mainstem river channel of 56 kilometres. The Nanaimo River Watershed and its estuary (the Watershed) are part of the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw and the Stz’uminus First Nations.

The Nanaimo River Watershed supports many significant values

Areas and features of historical and cultural significance to the Snuneymuxw and Stz’uminus First Nations
Aquatic habitat for several species of salmon, trout, other fish species and amphibians
Riparian, estuarine and terrestrial ecosystems
Drinking water for the City of Nanaimo, plus groundwater that feeds the aquifers of Cassidy, Cedar, and South Wellington
Water supply for industrial and agricultural uses
Forestry, agriculture, aggregate and other industries
Log storage in the estuary
Residential living and rural farming
Recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, picnicking, kayaking and rafting, summer swimming, bird-watching, mushroom and other harvesting, and gold panning.
Educational and research opportunities.


Through the years, many diverse groups and agencies have been working for the betterment of the Nanaimo River Watershed.

In response to community concerns, the Board of the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust passed motions that led to the creation of The Nanaimo River Watershed Baseline Report and the Nanaimo River Strategies Symposium, a meeting of many stakeholders with interests in the watershed. Stakeholders who participated in the Symposium included representatives of community groups, non-governmental agencies, industry, individuals and local, regional, provincial and federal government representatives.

Following the September 2011 Symposium, a Working Group was formed and in November 2011 and four overarching themes were identified.

Community Outreach
Organizational Structure
Land Acquisition.

In January 2012, an Organizational Structure Committee was formed and charged with developing Terms of Reference for a consensus-based watershed group. These Terms of Reference have been developed for the purpose of guiding a cooperative working group of interested individuals and organizations representing community groups, property owners, industry, user groups, government agencies, and non-government organizations.

Mission Statement:
To advise and develop strategies and initiatives for the long-term promotion, protection, sustainability and stewardship of the Watershed.

The Roundtable participants will pool resources to gather and share information, advise agencies, and encourage actions for watershed health and protection.