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

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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.

BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2015: To download a copy of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”……

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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.

Convening for Action in British Columbia

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"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.

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks – What Can Streamkeepers Do?” – theme for regional workshop hosted by North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

“My motivation is simple – I live right by a stream. I hear it roar when the rain is heavy, I hear it trickle in the summer. It provides comfort on dreary days. To me it is nature’s music. It is always there, that is how it should be. A threat to that undermines all those emotions that I and many streamkeepers feel," stated Jane Dysart. “Cause and effect. We hope to learn where we can help local government, and possibly participate by bringing ideas based on knowledge from this workshop.”

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Communities do have choices. Will they get it right the second time?” asked Kim Stephens at a workshop organized by the North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

The 2nd annual North Vancouver workshop organized attracted participants from communities throughout the Metro Vancouver region, and on a Saturday afternoon! “The scope of involvement and influence of the streamkeeper is expanding beyond the creek channel,” stated Kim Stephens. “There is something taking place in British Columbia right now. It is a re-kindling of what took place in the 1990s and early 2000s in terms of the stewardship sector."

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – hosted by Forester University (May 2017), the Water Balance Webinar from British Columbia introduced a North American audience to the methodology that underpins vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”

"We were delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology, via a Forester University webcast,” stated Emily Shine. "At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we described Water Balance Methodology as a webinar that could not be missed."

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Slow, sink and spread rainwater runoff to mimic the water balance,” stated UBC’s Julie Wilson at a workshop organized by the North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

“My goal is for us to think about how water moves through the landscape, as it falls as precipitation and is altered by the urban environment, and then understand how can we can go about mimicking the natural water balance,” stated Julie Wilson. “I have used the Water Balance Express for a few years in the courses that I teach. The reception that I get is overwhelmingly positive. Students really love using the Water Balance Express because it is fun and user friendly.”

2007 Beyond the Guidebook Seminar: Move from awareness to action and implement ‘green solutions’ that actually protect stream health, urged Green Infrastructure Partnership when federal and provincial agencies framed expectations in launching the Beyond the Guidebook Initiative

“The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in BC being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Minister of Environment Barry Penner in 2007. “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to move beyond rainwater management to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management.”

FLASHBACK TO 2007 PUBLICATION: The Green Infrastructure Guide – Issues, Implementation Strategies and Success Stories

"Two complementary strategies can 'green' a community and its infrastructure: first, preserving as much as possible of the natural green infrastructure; and secondly, promoting designs that soften the footprint of development," wrote Susan Rutherford. "Green infrastructure design is engineering design that takes a ‘design with nature’ approach, to both mitigate the potential impacts of existing and future development and growth and to provide valuable services."

2004 Consultation Workshop about “Model Subdivision Bylaw & Green Infrastructure Standards” was the launch event for British Columbia’s Green Infrastructure Partnership

According to Chuck Gale, "For the purposes of articulating what we wish to accomplish over time, our short-term and long-term efforts will be guided by the following Mission Statement: the Green Infrastructure Partnership will provide leadership by developing practical tools and instruments for green infrastructure design practices and regulation, and by encouraging their application in BC."

FLASHBACK TO 2004 CONSULTATION WORKSHOP: What is “Green Infrastructure”?

“Using a narrow interpretation, green infrastructure refers to the ecological processes, both natural and engineered, that are the foundation for a healthy natural and built environment in communities,” wrote Deborah Curran. “Municipalities using the green infrastructure as an integral part of how development occurs find that it is often less costly than hard infrastructure, and also offers aesthetic, environmental, health and recreational benefits.”

FLASHBACK TO 2004: “Judge progress by the distance traveled, not the distance remaining,” stated Kim Stephens at Consultation Workshop for “Model Subdivision Bylaw & Green Infrastructure Standards”

“We have come a long way in just four years. Our experience in bringing the vision to fruition for the UniverCity Sustainable Community on Burnaby Mountain provides relevant context. It was not that long ago that the project was hanging by a thread. We have been successful in overcoming fear and doubt," stated Kim Stephens. “In 2000, translating high expectations for UniverCity into practical design guidelines meant revisiting accepted drainage engineering practice."

DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management – What the “Whole-System, Water Balance Approach” means for Lowland Drainage in BC (May 2017)

"Many years ago, the province established a set of criteria which determined the level of drainage improvements that were deemed to be acceptable in terms of cost-benefit, and the ability to pay,” explains Ted van der Gulik. “The supporting analysis optimized the relationship between agricultural return on production and cost of drainage infrastructure investment. These have come to be known as ARDSA criteria. "