Author Archives: Partnership for Water Sustainability

  1. DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – this capacity-building program was a “grass-roots” demonstration application of how to build inter-departmental and inter-governmental alignment to achieve the vision for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan

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    Note to Reader:

    Download a copy of the The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series

    Desired Outcome: All Land and Water Managers will Know What Makes a Stream Healthy

    Released in June 2008, “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” was the Province’s call to action create greener communities and prepare for climate change. To this day, Living Water Smart transcends governments. The ripple effects resulting from transformational initiatives inspired by Living Water Smart are reverberating through time.

    Look back to look forward. What have we learned? How do we pass that understanding (of what we have learned over the past 10 years) onto successive generations of land use, infrastructure and asset management professionals who do their work in the local government setting? How can we help them make informed choices that benefit from past experience?

    A decade later, these are just some of the questions that guide the work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

    Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan

    “While legislative reform is a foundation piece, collaboration takes place outside the legislative framework,” Lynn Kriwoken stated in 2008. An Executive Director in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, she personifies continuity, commitment and leadership in bringing the Living Water Smart vision to fruition.

    “This is why we constantly emphasize that Living Water Smart is about motivating and inspiring everyone to embrace shared responsibility. Influencing behaviour and attitudes is at the heart of moving from awareness to action,” added Kriwoken.

    The New Business As Usual

    Looking back, launch of the Living Water Smart outreach program commenced with a precedent-setting approach to capacity-building in the local government sector.

    Known as the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series, and delivered through the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative, this capacity-building program was a “grass-roots” demonstration application of how to build inter-departmental and inter-governmental alignment.

    “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward. We have to build regulatory models and develop models of practice and expertise to support The New Business As Usual,” stated Dale Wall,  former Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Community Development when he announced the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series at the Gaining Ground Summit.

    Demonstration Applications

    Both the Cowichan Valley Regional District and City of Courtenay stepped up to the plate and volunteered to host a regional seminar series.

    “Each session in the Cowichan Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series started at 11:00am and ended at 2:30pm,” stated Peter Nilsen, former Deputy Engineer with the District of North Cowichan. “This was the right length of time to maintain the interest and energy level of participants. Three and a half hours sounds like a lot of time, but it goes quickly; and we were just scratching the surface in terms of the material that we presented.” Inter-departmental participation by all member local governments effectively meant closing front counters on three Fridays for most of the day so that planning, engineering, operations and building inspection staff could attend the Learning Lunch seminars.

    “Throughout the series, our theme and our challenge was to ask participants what will they do better or differently to achieve a shared vision for the Cowichan Valley,” stated David Hewetson, Building Inspector with the City of Duncan. “This is why it was so important to get everyone thinking in terms of the What – So What – Now What mind-map.”

    The Comox Valley series benefited from the insights that were gained from the successful Busy Place Creek walkabout, which was the finale for the Cowichan Valley series.

    “Walkabouts facilitate conversations and on-the-ground learning. This approach proved especially successful when we hosted the Showcasing Innovation series,” stated Kevin Lagan, former Director of Operational Services with the City of Courtenay. “We decided to feature the east Courtenay area in Seminar #1 because this part of the city has evolved from fields and forest over the past two decades, and so has our approach to rainwater / stormwater management. “Placing the spotlight on the east Courtenay area helped seminar participants understand why drainage practices comprise a continuum of paradigms.

    A decade later we celebrate Cowichan Valey and Comox Valley leadership as early adopters; and we reflect on what their efforts set in motion, and what comes next in the capacity-building process.

    To Learn More:

    Read LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD: Experience and relationships flowing from the precedent-setting 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series ultimately led to the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI), recalls John Finnie, CAVI Chair during the period 2006 through 2011

    Visit the homepage for the 2008 Cowichan Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series.

    Visit the homepage for the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series.

    Visit the homepage for the 2008 Cowichan Valley Water Balance Forum.

    Breakout groups at Cowichan Valley Learning Lunch Seminar #1 – June 2008

     

     

  2. OP-ED ARTICLE: Kim Stephens – Celebrating a decade of living water smart in B.C., but where to from here? (published in the Vancouver Sun in June 2018)

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    Note to Reader:

    On Saturday, June 2nd 2018, the Vancouver Sun newspaper published an op-ed article co-authored by four members of the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s leadership team, namely: Kim Stephens, Ted van der Gulik, Tim Pringle and Peter Law. The article is reproduced below.

    In 2008, the Living Water Smart program called British Columbians to action to create greener communities and prepare for climate change 

    Water defines British Columbia, and the rhythms of water are changing – winters are wetter and warmer; summers are longer and drier. Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – extreme events are the New Normal. We are at a tipping point. When will communities adapt, and how?

    In 2008, “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” was the Province’s call to action, and to this day transcends governments. The vision:

    “We take care of our water, our water takes care of us.”

    “On the 10th anniversary of its release, we celebrate transformational initiatives set in motion by Living Water Smart,” wrote the four co-authors.

    Collaboration in the Local Government Setting

    The hard work of hope has resulted in a policy, program and regulatory framework that enables community-based action to adapt to the New Normal. Living Water Smart successes are defined by collaboration and a “top-down / bottom-up” approach. This brings together decision-makers and community advocates.

    “While legislative reform is a foundation piece, collaboration takes place outside the legislative framework,” Lynn Kriwoken stated in 2008. An Executive Director in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, she personifies continuity, commitment and leadership in bringing the Living Water Smart vision to fruition.

    “This is why we constantly emphasize that Living Water Smart is about motivating and inspiring everyone to embrace shared responsibility. Influencing behaviour and attitudes is at the heart of moving from awareness to action,” added Kriwoken.

    Game-Changers Flowing from ‘Living Water Smart’

    The legislative piece is the Water Sustainability Act, one of several game-changers. A historic achievement, the Act recognizes the connections between land and water – what happens on the land matters!

    What Makes a Stream Healthy:

    In Living Water Smart, the lynch-pin statement is:

    “All land and water managers will know what makes a stream healthy, and therefore be able to help land and water users factor in new approaches to securing stream health and the full range of stream benefits”.

    This vision statement guides the work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, the hub for a “convening for action” network in the local government setting. The Partnership collaborates with the province, local governments, stewardship sector and First Nations to develop and mainstream approaches, tools and resources that advance “design with nature” outcomes.

    Strategic Direction for Local Government:

    Another game-changer flowing from Living Water Smart is “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework”. Led by Asset Management BC, the BC Framework sets a strategic direction for local government service delivery. It refocuses business processes on how physical and natural assets are used to deliver services, and support outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and address risks.

    Sustainable service delivery by local government occurs alongside associated evolution in community thinking. By managing the built and natural environments as integrated systems, local governments would incrementally move towards a water-resilient future as an outcome.

    Value of Ecological Services:

    Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the Partnership’s “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” program.

    A pillar of Sustainable Watershed Systems is the Ecological Accounting Process. EAP establishes what the definable benefits of ecological services derived from creekshed hydrology are, what they may be worth to stakeholders, and how they may be maintained and enhanced. EAP has the potential to transform how communities make decisions about creekshed restoration.

    Water & Food Security:

    Yet another game-changer flowing from Living Water Smart is the B.C. Agricultural Water Demand Model. It accounts for climate change, is applied to establish future needs for Agricultural Water Reserves, and is the engine for the online B.C. Agriculture Water Licence Calculator. Developed to support implementation of the B.C. Groundwater Regulation, the Calculator quantifies outdoor water use for any property in B.C., including residential.

    Call to Action

    B.C. communities can adapt to the New Normal. They can create a water-resilient future where flood and drought risks are reduced. As a result of initiatives inspired by Living Water Smart, we have tools and experience to “get it right”. So, through collaboration and commitment, together let’s make it happen – sooner, not later!

     

  3. DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Watershed Assessment – Demonstration Applications on Vancouver Island (April 2018)

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    Note to Reader:

    Funded by the governments of Canada and BC, the capacity-building program branded as Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management is designed to inform and educate local governments and stakeholders about the whole-system, water balance approach.

    The program includes the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) to value the ‘water balance services’ provided by nature. Demonstration applications for small watersheds in the Cowichan and Comox valleys have been undertaken to show how local governments would apply this unique approach.

    EAP and the Water Balance Methodology are Interconnected

    The Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium on April 11-12, 2018 was designed to foster a conversation in the mid-Vancouver Island region and beyond about the transformational scope of the “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” program.

    “A vision for restorative development that revitalizes watershed function and health provided a philosophical backdrop for the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium, co-hosted by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia and the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust (NALT),” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

    Restorative Development

    “The term ‘restorative development’ was coined by the writer Storm Cunningham in his first book The Restoration Economy, published in 2002,” contined Kim Stephens. It was the first book to document the new disciplines and fast-growing industries that are renewing our natural, built, and socioeconomic environments.

    “The Symposium provided a platform for a call for action because adapting to climate change requires transformation in how we value nature and service land. An informed stewardship sector can be a catalyst for action on Vancouver Island and beyond, through collaboration with local government.

    “Tim Pringle shared demonstration application anecdotes about the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP), a whole-system view of watersheds that assesses hydrology in order to accurately describe ecological services.”

    Why EAP is Useful

    “The focus of EAP is on watershed hydrological conditions and the dependent ecological services provided, and which sustain natural systems and human settlement.  EAP is not about engineering practices as the analytical starting point. Neither is it about managing hydrology through a land use, transportation, or other human settlement framework (or lens),” explained Tim Pringle, Chair, EAP Initiative.

    “The goal of EAP is to establish what the definable benefits of ecological services derived from watershed hydrology are, what they may be worth to stakeholders, and how they may be maintained and enhanced to function in near optimal condition.  This goal is completely compatible with official plans.

    “Suffice to say, we have taken the concept of Sustainable Watershed Systems; through Asset Management, and we have made it real. We have applied the Water Balance Methodology because it provides an accurate analysis of the condition of the hydrology. And in so doing, we have connected the dots. A defining statement is that the worth of a creekshed is a package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology.

    “The Cowichan and Comox demonstration applications allow us to be unequivocal in stating that ‘hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services’,” concluded Tim Pringle.

    To Learn More:

    To download a copy of the booklet that was released at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium in April 2018, click on Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) for Watershed Assessment

    For information about the program design for the Nanaimo Water Symposium, visit the homepage at: http://waterbucket.ca/viw/category/convening-for-action-in-2018/nanaimo-water-symposium/

     

  4. GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia” (released by the Province in 2002)

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    Note to Reader:

    In 2002, the provincial government released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British ColumbiaThis established a new direction for urban hydrology and drainage engineering. Introduction of the Water Balance Methodology enabled the setting of performance targets for rainfall capture, runoff control and groundwater recharge:

    If we manage the runoff volume, and if we mimic the natural flow pattern in streams, then we can… prevent increased stream erosion, prevent increased risk of flooding, and protect aquatic habitat.

    The Guidebook introduced the Integrated Strategy for managing the complete spectrum of rainfall events (see image below). The Integrated Strategy expanded the scope and responsibility of drainage practice to include stream health.

    Integrated Strategy for Managing the Rainfall Spectrum & Mimicking the Water Balance

    Mimic the Water Balance

    “Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed,” stated Laura Maclean, Co-Chair of the Guidebook Steering Committee and Environment Canada representative.

    “The Guidebook approach is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”

    “The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management that focuses only on the fast conveyance of the extreme storms and often creates substantial erosion and downstream flooding in receiving streams.”

    “Solutions described in the Guidebook include conventional, detention, infiltration and re-use approaches for rainfall capture, runoff control and flood risk management.

    To download the Guidebook, click on links below:

    Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia (Complete Guidebook) (PDF/9.9 MB)

     

  5. GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: City of Chilliwack Policy and Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management (released 2002)

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    Note to Reader:

    The City of Chilliwack’s Policy and Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management, released in 2002, serves two purposes:

    • provide a comprehensive framework that will guide the development of individual Master Drainage Plans over a multi-year period
    • provide land developers with specific direction in undertaking the stormwater component of sustainable urban design.

    The driver for the Manual was large-scale land development planned for the City’s Eastern Hillsides. The Manual content has been, and continues to be, tested and refined on the basis of Chilliwack-specific case study applications.

    Surface Water Management in Chilliwack

    The City of Chillwack’s Manual was developed through an inter-departmental and inter-agency process that also included community participation.

    “Through this process, the group developed a common understanding regarding core concepts. This resulted in consensus on the vision and the direction of the Manual, particularly with respect to the framework that the Manual provides for future rainwater-related action in the City of Chilliwack. The Manual replaced the drainage section of the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw,” stated Dipak Basu, Land Development Engineer, in 2002.

    “The process went on for two years. The realtors, developers, engineers and surveyors were all invited to participate and make their comments known.

    “We showed the benefits of maintaining the water table, the watercourse, the habitat and allowing the fish to survive and flourish. By the time the document was finalized, the developers were quite knowledgeable about it and were willing to give it a try to see how the system worked.

    “The Front End of the Manual summarizes key information that City staff, elected officials and land developers need in order to understand and implement the City of Chilliwack’s approach to stormwater management.”

    To Learn More:

    Download Policy and Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management

    Dipak Basu sets the context at the Chilliwack Water Balance Forum in Feb 2004

    Provincial Significance

    “The Manual was developed as a case study application of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, a collaborative effort of an inter-governmental partnership that was initiated by local government,” added Kim Stephens, project manager and principal author of the Guidebook. He was also project manager for the Chilliwack Manual. Today, he is the Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

    “Through interaction with the Chilliwack community during its development, the Manual also provided a feedback loop for the Guidebook process. The Manual incorporated the content of the Bylaw that it replaced, and is designed to manage both flood risk and environmental risk,” emphasized Dipak Basu.

    Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia

    In 2002, the provincial government released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. This established a new direction for urban hydrology and drainage engineering. Introduction of the Water Balance Methodology enabled the setting of performance targets for rainfall capture, runoff control and groundwater recharge:

    If we manage the runoff volume, and if we mimic the natural flow pattern in streams, then we can… prevent increased stream erosion, prevent increased risk of flooding, and protect aquatic habitat.

    The Guidebook introduced the Integrated Strategy for managing the complete spectrum of rainfall events (see image below). The Integrated Strategy expanded the scope and responsibility of drainage practice to include stream health.

    TO LEARN MORE:

    To read an article written by Geoff Gilliard in Spring 2003, and published in Input Magazine by the Real Estate Institute of BC, download A recipe for stormwater management – The Stormwater Planning Guidebook helps make land develolpment compatible with stream protection

     

     

  6. ARTICLE: “A recipe for stormwater management – The Stormwater Planning Guidebook helps make land develolpment compatible with stream protection” (published in Input Magazine, Spring 2003)

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    Note to Reader:

    In 2002, the provincial government released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. This established a new direction for urban hydrology and drainage engineering. Introduction of the Water Balance Methodology enabled the setting of performance targets for rainfall capture, runoff control and groundwater recharge:

    If we manage the runoff volume, and if we mimic the natural flow pattern in streams, then we can… prevent increased stream erosion, prevent increased risk of flooding, and protect aquatic habitat.

    The Guidebook introduced the Integrated Strategy for managing the complete spectrum of rainfall events (see image below). The Integrated Strategy expanded the scope and responsibility of drainage practice to include stream health.

    Eliminate the Root Cause of Impacts

    “For most of the last century, land development in our communities has followed the same general pattern: clear the trees, put in roads and subdivisions, and direct the runoff into the nearest stream or storm sewer. But pipes carrying runoff speed the flow of stormwater, often creating erosion and downstream flooding, wrote Geoff Gilliard in an article published in Spring 2003.

    “Many local governments are under pressure to protect streamside property that is threatened by stormwater development. The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection.”

    “The Guidebook offers a new approach to stormwater management that eliminates the root cause of ecological and property impacts by designing for the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”

    “The Stormwater Planning Guidebook uses a series of case studies to illustrate solutions to stormater problems.”

    To Learn More:

    To read the complete article written by Geoff Gilliard in Spring 2003, and published in Input Magazine by the Real Estate Institute of BC, download A recipe for stormwater management – The Stormwater Planning Guidebook helps make land develolpment compatible with stream protection

     

  7. BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP (November 28, 2017): “The vision for a water-first approach is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia

    Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP (November 28, 2017): “The vision for a water-first approach is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia

    Note to Reader:

    All of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. And decisions made today will ripple through time. The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia showcases big ideas through its annual workshop series. We do this to inform choices about land and water.

    Michael Blackstock’s big idea for interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science – Blue Ecology – is especially powerful. The essence of Michael’s vision is ‘embrace a water-first approach’. It is an idea whose time has come.

    In this workshop, the Partnership’s Ted van der Gulik along with two well-known personalities – the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) and Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly – teamed with Michael to share their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach.

    The Fraser River was a centrepiece for the workshop program.

    The workshop has been captured in its entirety in a set of videos that have been uploaded to YouTube for ease of access by those who are curious and/or interested to learn about what transpired at the workshop. Or simply refresh their memories. The video for each module includes the featured speaker plus the ensuing town-hall interaction with the audience.

    MODULE A: “Connect the Drops” –
    featuring Fin Donnelly (1 hour, 30 minutes)

    MODULE B: “The Fraser River, Agriculture & Food Security” – featuring Ted van der Gulik (1 hour)

    MODULE C: “Water from a Global Perspective & Beyond” – featuring Bob McDonald (1 hour, 16 minutes)

    MODULE D: “Blue Ecology – An Attitude Switch!” –
    featuring Michael Blackstock (1 hour, 11 minutes)

    CLOSING REMARKS: featuring Eric Bonham (14 minutes)

     

  8. BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 1: “Because the over-arching theme of the workshop is interweaving Indigenous and Western thought, we invited the Musqueam to attend and provide a traditional welcome,” stated Kim Stephens

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    Note to Reader:

    The Blue Ecology Workshop in November 2017 featured Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly teamed, the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik, the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) and Michael Blackstock (creator of the Blue Ecology paradigm). This foursome shared their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach. The Fraser River was a centrepiece for the workshop program.

    Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, was the workshop faciliator/moderator.

    TO LEARN MORE:

    Download “Blue Ecology – interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science” for a program preview.

     

  9. BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 2: “When collaboration is a common or shared value, the right mix of people and perspectives will create the conditions for change. We need a paradigm-shift in the way we do things,” said Fin Donnelly – Member of Parliament, founder & Chair of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia

    Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 2: “When collaboration is a common or shared value, the right mix of people and perspectives will create the conditions for change. We need a paradigm-shift in the way we do things,” said Fin Donnelly – Member of Parliament, founder & Chair of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia

    Note to Reader:

    In the Blue Ecology Workshop in November 2017, Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly teamed with the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik, the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) and Michael Blackstock (creator of the Blue Ecology paradigm) to share their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach. The Fraser River was a centrepiece for the workshop program.

    Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, was the workshop faciliator/moderator.

    To Learn More:

    Download “Blue Ecology – interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science” for a program preview.

    Visit “The Fraser River’s diversity – including people and landscapes – inspires me. However, we need to apply ‘Watershed CPR’ to the Fraser to return it to health,”   says Fin Donnelly

     

  10. BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 3: “The Fraser Valley alone could provide two-thirds of the additional irrigated land area that is needed for food security. Think about that,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

    Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 3: “The Fraser Valley alone could provide two-thirds of the additional irrigated land area that is needed for food security. Think about that,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

    NOTE TO READER:

    In the Blue Ecology Workshop in November 2017, the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik teamed with Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly, the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) and Michael Blackstock (creator of the Blue Ecology paradigm) to share their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach. The Fraser River was a centrepiece for the workshop program.

    Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, was the workshop faciliator/moderator.

    TO LEARN MORE:

    Download “Blue Ecology – interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science” for a program preview.

    Visit Climate change may drastically impact the availability of fresh water for agriculture on Canada’s most productive agriculture land, the lower Fraser Valley,” states Ted van der Gulik