Alouette River Management Society (ARMS)
The Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) was formed as a society in 1993. The primary focus of ARMS, at that time, was to negotiate with BC Hydro an increase in the river’s base flow from the Alouette Dam. This would require changes to the management of the Alouette Dam and Hydro’s methods of flow releases. This goal was achieved in 1996, when the base river flow release was increased by fivefold.
Since 1996, ARMS has become involved in almost all aspects of watershed stewardship, including education, inventory and monitoring, habitat restoration and lobbying for the protection of aquatic habitat. We are extremely active in the community and often attend private properties in order to assist landowners with the implementation of sound stewardship practices on their land.
In 1996, funding was available through both the Federal and Provinical Governments to assist stewardship organizations with their mandates. ARMS was successful in obtaining funds through the Fraser River Action Plan (FRAP – Federal) to start gathering information on our watershed. FRAP was succeeded by the Habitat Restoration and Salmon Enhancement Program which saw between $35,000 to $80,000 annual for enhancement and restoration projects administered by ARMS. The Provincial Government Urban Salmon Habitat Program provided average annual funding for ARMS of approximately $25,000 for similar initiatives. These two funding sources combined enabled ARMS to secure additional funding. Both of these fundings sources ended in the early 2000’s with no replaced funding available from either levels of government.
ARMS started construction of the Rivers Heritage Centre, which was to be ARMS home. What started out as an outdoor covered shelter for ARMS to hold educational seminars turned into a three office building, completed with kitchen and washroom facility. Early in the project there were funds available, through BC Hydro, HRSEP and the Ridge Meadows Home Show, to hire a building manager, whom we found in Denis Hoffart of HQ Management. As funding sources dwindled, we were unable to continue to retain HQ Managements services and the task of completing the Rivers Heritage Centre fell on ARMS and BC Corrections. The construction of our centre was completed in March 1999 and the official opening was celebrated at Rivers Day that same year.
ARMS also plays a very prominent advocacy role in the community. We are fortunate to have a positive working relationship with the local media who recognizes that environmental issues are newsworthy. This relationship enables us to quickly educate and inform our community on environmental issues.
Today ARMS is still actively involved in watershed enhancement and restoration initiatives through various partnerships that it has formed over the years.
ARMS receives an annual grant of $20,000 from the District of Maple Ridge which allows us to offset some of the costs for the Rivers Heritage Centre and some costs related to our educational programs. ARMS has successfully applied for and received Direct Access Gaming to cover some of our overhead costs. ARMS does not receive annual funding from Metro Vancouver or any other government body, as do some of our sister organizations. All of our operating budget comes as a direct result of our fundraising efforts.
Today ARMS greatest pride is our high caliber education programs that we offer to members of our community. ARMS is fortunate to have been a stepping stone for many of our talented Environmental Education Coordinators over the years, who have lent their formal education and talents to formulating our various programs. Our education programs are designed in accordance to the Ministry of Education Integrated Resource Package (IRP) and updated regularly. We are continually developing programs around current environmental issues to share with the community. Feedback from teachers and current environmental issues are utilized to ensure that new courses are developed as our community demands. For further information of what programs we offer, please refer to our Education page.