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Nicola Watershed Governance Project


The Nicola Watershed Governance Partnership

The Nlaka’pamux and Syilx Peoples have lived in, stewarded, and governed the lands and waters in the Nicola Watershed since time immemorial. Today, the region is home to approximately 8,000 people, including the Coldwater, Lower Nicola, Nooaitch, and Shackan Bands of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, the Upper Nicola Band of the Syilx Nation, the City of Merritt, and strong natural resource and agriculture sectors. The rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, and aquifers in the Nicola also support rich, diverse communities of plants, trees, fish, and wildlife.


The Nicola Watershed Governance Partnership (NWGP) is a government-to-government partnership between the Province of BC and the 5 First Nations communities in the Nicola. Formed in 2018, this joint initiative aims to improve watershed health, advance reconciliation, and promote engagement with local communities and stakeholders — all through co-management, co-learning, building trust and understanding, and meaningful collaboration. We’re exploring innovative, holistic, place-based approaches to shared decision making on water that incorporate both Western and Indigenous knowledge and science.


Our actions today are part of our shared legacy. By working together, we can all help safeguard the health of our watershed and our communities for the benefit of all who live here – now and for the future.


The Chiefs and the Province of BC recognize the distinct and valuable perspectives the groups bring to the partnership, arising from our respective jurisdictions, legal traditions, and governance systems. Grounded in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our commitment to working together is an important step toward jointly identifying and resolving water management issues for the benefit of all who live in the Nicola Watershed.

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