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Convening for Action in British Columbia


"Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground. From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this community-of-interest provides the opportunity to 'tell our story' and 'record our history' as a work-in-progress," states Ray Fung.

Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature” vision has influenced implementation of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Action Plan


In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. "So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!," wrote Ian McHarg.

To download a copy of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”……

Five Regional Districts representing 75% of BC’s population are partners in the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI). A program deliverable is the Beyond the Guidebook 2015. It is a progress report on how local governments are ‘learning by doing’ to implement affordable and effective science-based practices. It is the third in a series that builds on Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.

TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: “We are creating a ‘sharing of experience’ about land development practices and stream health,” observes Peter Law, a founding Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

“The reason I joined the Partnership for Water Sustainability in the early days of ‘incorporation’ was to be an advocate for educating local communities, land decision makers and the stewardship communities about the need to move from awareness to action. We need to both reduce the demand for water and protect stream health from the adverse consequences of land development practices,” recalls Peter Law.

Feast AND Famine Workshop: Flood and Drought! – What Happened to the Balance?

Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. Kim Stephens will introduce three provincial ‘game-changers’ that enable restorative development in British Columbia. “Now, however, we are at a defining moment in time because the accelerating wave of land and water practitioners retiring from the work force is resulting in a loss of institutional memory," states Kim Stephens.

ARTICLE: Sustainable Watershed Systems

"The Eco-Asset Strategy pioneered by the Town of Gibsons focuses on identifying existing natural assets (green space, forests, topsoil, aquifers and creeks) that provide municipal services for water balance management; measuring the value of the municipal services provided by these assets; and operationalizing this information by integrating it into municipal asset management," states Emanuel Machado.

Feast AND Famine Workshop: “If a vision for food security is to be entrenched as the new business as usual by 2030…….we have a 5-year window to get the initial elements of restorative development right,” forecasts Bob Sandford

“We now realize that our current risk assessments with respect to climate disruption are built on confidence in relative hydrologic stability that no longer exists. This changes everything. We had no idea until recently of how much influence the hydrological cycle has on our day to day lives or on the broader conditions that define the distribution and diversity of life on this planet," states Bob Sandford.

TECHNICAL PAPER: “Re-Inventing Urban Hydrology in British Columbia: Runoff Volume Management for Watershed Protection” (published in 2003 by United States EPA)

"There is a logical link between changes in hydrology and impacts on watershed health, whether those impacts are in the form of flooding or aquatic habitat degradation. The link is the volume of surface runoff that is created by human activities as the result of alteration of the natural landscape. The key to protecting urban watershed health is to maintain the water balance as close to the natural condition as is achievable and feasible," stated Ed von Euw.

The Salt Wedge and Delta’s Agricultural Water Supply

"The 'salt wedge' is a phenomenon that occurs in all tidal estuaries of the world. Salty and dense ocean water entering the river mouth forms an underlying wedge beneath the lighter fresh water that is exiting. Water that is high in salinity can reduce or destroy crop yields, affect aquatic ecosystems and damage infrastructure. The distance that the salt wedge extends up the river changes with the tides and the seasons," wrote John Ter Borg.

ARTICLE: Feast AND Famine – Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”

"British Columbia local governments are sharing and learning from each other. The province is at a tipping point. Water balance tools and case study experience are in place. It is within the grasp of local governments to move beyond traditional infrastructure asset management. They can account for nature’s services by implementing Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management," concluded Kim Stephens.

“The drought of 2015 suggests we may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime in Western North America,” observes Bob Sandford

The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.