"My career highlight was the Tsolum River partnership, where we brought together the community, industry and provincial and federal agencies. Together we tackled the challenge of remediating an abandoned mine site. As a result, the Tsolum River in the Comox Valley now has a healthy, thriving salmon population."
John Deniseger received the Legacy Premier’s Award in 2013 and was inducted into the Hall of Excellence in 2014. In his 31-year career with the Ministry of Environment, John established a legacy of lasting achievements that have improved the economic and environmental health of British Columbia. He recognized that it takes a combined effort to address the complex challenges we face. The outcome of his work is unprecedented levels of collaboration and partnership between governments, academia, the private sector, First Nations and community groups.
John pioneered innovative approaches to environmental protection that have been adopted across the province. The following barely scratches the surface of the many accomplishments demonstrating the breadth of his impact:
- John recognized it was important to establish baseline water quality assessments for lakes and streams. His work played a key role in implementing a network of monitoring stations that provide data now used by industry, academia and governments at all levels to identify and address water quality issues that affect human, environmental and economic health.
- Ongoing contamination from an abandoned mine on Mt. Washington had virtually eliminated the Tsolum River’s fishery resource, valued at over $2 million annually. John was instrumental in the formation of a unique partnership that succeeded in implementing a major remediation of the mine site and restoration of the river. The Tsolum Partnership received a 2011 Premier’s award and the 2011 BC Mine Reclamation Award from the BC Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation.
- John pioneered a fundamental change to watershed management by developing an 'ecoregion' based approach to water quality monitoring and improvement. This allowed us to develop an effective, efficient, partnership‐based model for setting watershed management objectives. This innovative, integrated approach has realized tremendous efficiencies and savings in our efforts to improve water quality.
In facing the challenge of balancing economic growth and protection of our environment, John has transformed the BC Public Service’s workplace culture, business model and relationships.
He is recognized across British Columbia, inside and outside the public service for his scientific expertise and his ability to effectively communicate, inspire and lead a broad range of stakeholders in achieving lasting change that improves the lives of British Columbians and our environment.