Comments Off on THE FUTURE IS HERE: “We thought we were going to see these kinds of fire conditions maybe 10 years down the road,” said Robert Gray, fire ecologist
British Columbians will have to learn with fire
In a December 2017 article by Geordon Gray, published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper, Lori Daniels (an ecology professor at the University of British Columbia) said communities are not prepared to deal with the new realities of fire in a world increasingly upended by climate change and that’s an important lesson from the summer 2017 fire season.
‘We have to learn to live with fire,” Daniels said, adding that 2017 “cannot be another wake-up call. Our forests, our communities are not resilient. The status quo is not working, and that refers to both forest management and its impact on wildfires.”
Tinkering with the system is not enough, said Daniels, who is advocating for an overhaul to how BC approaches fire prevention that would involve letting more blazes burn, leaving some areas as grasslands and regularly removing flammable underbrush that accumulates near inhabited areas.
“Unless we do that, our communities won’t be safe, our citizens won’t be safe and it won’t be possible to have a sustainable forest industry.”
The Future has Arrived Early
Robert Gray, a Chilliwack-based fire ecologist who is also quoted in the article, said one of the most troubling aspects of 2017, is how much more severe it was than expected.
“We thought we were going to see these kinds of fire conditions maybe 10 years down the road, thinking we had time to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “The fact that it’s happened now means that we are going to see conditions worse than this in the future – in the near future, if you believe that.’
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 forease 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)
Comments Off on DID YOU KNOW THAT: waterbucket.ca is home for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia
Note to Reader:
Prepare for climate change, choose to live water smart, and strive to build greener communities. Most importantly, make the right choices moving forward. The vision for the waterbucket.ca website is that it will inform and educate land use, infrastructure servicing, and asset management practitioners by providing easy access to information, tools and resources.
The waterbucket.ca website is rebuilt: the new look-and-feel is described as clean and contemporary. What do you wonder? Take a few moments to explore the Communities of Practice. Will you be surprised by what you learn?
Many land use, infrastructure servicing and asset management professionals in this province do know in principle what they ought to do. However, there is still a gap between UNDERSTANDING and IMPLEMENTATION. This results in a capacity-building challenge. Hence, the waterbucket.ca spotlight is on how to ‘bridge the gap’ between talk and action. That is mission possible.
Record our history as we create it. Showcase success stories. Celebrate the champions who lead by example.
“Working with the Partnership Executive is always a pleasure, and we were excited to have the opportunity to give their tired old site a fresh, new look with enhanced features,” stated Susan Friesen, Web Specialist and Social Media Advisor with eVision Media.
“Knowing the Waterbucket user-base was wanting to find information easily, we redesigned the home page with not only a more contemporary look and feel but also to facilitate it being a portal to all of the different content-rich sections of the site.
“Now site users can enjoy a faster, easier and mobile-friendly experience to conduct their research and become more informed with the valuable resources the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC provides.”
Visit these Communities of Practice
CONVENING FOR ACTION IN BC: Apply ‘cathedral thinking’ – a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment to inter-generational implementation – to create a lasting legacy. LEARN MORE
WATER-CENTRIC PLANNING: Plan with a view to water – whether for a single site, a region or the entire province. Choose to live water smart. Prepare communities for a changing climate.LEARN MORE
RAINWATER MANAGEMENT: Download British Columbia guidance documents. Learn about ‘sustainable watershed systems, through asset management’. Be inspired by success stories.LEARN MORE
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Green communities – today’s expectations are tomorrow’s standards. Since built and natural environments are connected, design with nature! Celebrate successes. LEARN MORE
VANCOUVER ISLAND WATER: The Island is a demonstration region for ‘regional team approach’. Communicate. Cooperate. Coordinate. Collaborate. Share resources and learn from each other. LEARN MORE
WATER USE & CONSERVATION: ‘A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia’, released in 1998, is a foundation document. It marks the shift from a WHY change to HOW to change mind-set. LEARN MORE
AGRICULTURE & WATER: What do you wonder about British Columbia’s Agriculture Water Demand Model? Find links to reports on province-wide implementation. LEARN MORE
WATERBUCKET NEWS: The Partnership publishes weekly e-Newsletters. These feature champions who are leading changes in practice. Stories are replicated on our Blog for ease of reference.LEARN MORE
Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Ted van der Gulik – “The fact that we now have to contend with both severe summer drought and sea rise made Ted’s talk all the more timely and relevant,” wrote Eric Bonham
The Fraser River, Agriculture and Food Security
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability BC organization committee organizing committee (of which he played a large role in), thanks Ted van der Gulik for his excellent presentation The Fraser River, Agriculture and Food Security at the Blue Ecology workshop held in Richmond on November 28th,” wrote Eric Bonham. He provided closing remarks at the Blue Ecology.
“Ted’s informative presentation on the anticipated impacts on food security from climate change was well received and was a natural follow up to Fin Donnelly’s talk on the challenges of maintaining a healthy Fraser River system.
“I reflect on my early years as a project manager on the Fraser River Flood Control Program when sea rise was just starting to be discussed. The fact that we now have to contend with both severe summer drought and sea rise made Ted’s talk all the more timely and relevant regarding future agriculture practices in the Fraser Valley.
“The four presentations at the workshop I believe achieved our objective of introducing Blue Ecology yet, at the same time, framing a practical road map regarding next steps.
“The Partnership thanks Ted, not only for his thoughtful and well researched presentation, but also for his background work with Kim Stephens in organizing the workshop. We all know from experience that it takes a lot of dedicated effort to achieve a successful event and the smooth transitions throughout the workshop is testament to a job well done.”
Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Fin Donnelly – “he walks the talk, effectively communicating on an intergenerational level through community engagement,” wrote Eric Bonham
Connect the Drops
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability BC organization committee thanks Fin Donnelly for his most effective contribution to the 2017 workshop held in Richmond on November 28th,” wrote Eric Bonham. He provided closing remarks at the Blue Ecology.
“His presentation, Connect the Drops, in the morning session titled Watershed, Rivershed, What’s the Difference, was well received and sparked interest in the Blue Ecology theme from the beginning of the workshop.”
A Vision for Watershed CPR
“Fin Donnelly’s commitment and passion in both identifying and addressing the complex range of issues that challenge the health of the Fraser River gave us invaluable insight and understanding of the need for an holistic approach and engagement by a range of participants, including the three levels of government, private sector, community stewards and academia.
“Adoption of the Watershed CPR proposal that Fin outlined clearly calls for a united front by all of the participants. That said, Fin walks the talk, effectively communicating on an intergenerational level through community engagement, for example, the Rivershed Society of BC which he initiated,as well as his involvement in interactive events such as FraserFEST
“The workshop attendees appreciated Fin Donnelly’s definition of Rivershed in that it is a more inclusive term than Watershed, providing a sense of place, hence placing responsibility and commitment at the local level, a role that community stewards and local governments can effectively embrace.
“What was informative was the interweaving of the themes of the four speakers, with the consistent message of the fragility and limited availability of a fresh water resource, the need to identify water as a first priority, and most importantly, changing our attitude towards water from that of a commodity to the inclusive life force that it truly is, a theme that Michael spoke to from an Indigenous Knowledge perspective.
“The Partnership looks forward to collaborating with Fin Donnelly in areas of common interest, where we can share information on the mutual search for, and implementation of, sustainable water strategies and practices in British Columbia.”
TO LEARN MORE:
To download a PDF copy of the presentation by Fin Donnelly, click on Connect the Drops.
Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Bob McDonald – “he has a natural ability to relay complex scientific information in an easy to understand and fun way,” wrote Eric Bonham
Water from a Global Perspective and Beyond
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability BC organization committee thanks Bob McDonald for his thought provoking presentation of Water from a Global Perspective and Beyond that truly provides the focus and context to rethink the invaluable role that water plays in our collective survival,” wrote Eric Bonham. He provided closing remarks at the Blue Ecology.
“Bob’s participation in the Blue Ecology – A workshop on Interweaving First Nations Cultural Knowledge and Western Science, held in Richmond on November 28th, was much appreciated by all who attended.
Water, Water, Everywhere….
“Given his natural ability to relay complex scientific information in an easy to understand and fun way is always a highlight when Bob McDonald speaks at a Partnership workshop or conference.
“His support to the Partnership is invaluable and appreciated as we forge partnerships with like minded individuals and organizations working towards the common good on water related issues. In that regard the recent workshop theme of interweaving Indigenous Culture and Western Science is another example of a step in that direction.
“Bob’s observation that climate change is a reality and needs an immediate and collective response given water is the issue of the 21st century, is timely, and a message that cannot be repeated enough. That said, and as noted in the collective article in the Vancouver Sun, we share a positive vision of the future, seeking solutions through collaborative partnerships and a realignment of the water story.
“We thank Bob for his important role in helping to forge that future and for his contribution to the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.”
Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Michael Blackstock – “The interweaving of First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science is long overdue,” wrote Eric Bonham
Blue Ecology – An Attitude Switch!
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability BC organization committee thanks Michael Blackstock for his major contribution to the success of the Partnership’s 2017 workshop held in Richmond on November 28th,” wrote Eric Bonham. He provided closing remarks at the Blue Ecology.
“Michael’s presentation Blue Ecology-An Attitude Switch, the central theme of the workshop, emphasized the importance of indigenous culture in understanding our relationship to water. The interweaving of First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science is long overdue which he expressed so clearly and captured in his vision of the Blue Ecology water cycle.
“We thank Michael for his leadership in this regard as we collectively face the reality of climate change, calling for a fundamental change in our attitude that embraces a water first approach. We look forward to an on-going connection with him as he advances the three bold action items of Blue Ecology Education, Blue Ecology Architecture and a Blue Ecology City project.
“As Michael noted, the education initiative is especially significant, particularly at the elementary school level, as this will serve the young student well in their later years, namely understanding the central role of water and respecting it not simply as a commodity, but rather the life force it truly is.
“Drawing Elders and youth together purposefully in a sharing environment is also an important step in bringing inter-generational understanding from both an Indigenous perspective and Western science. This could be encouraged in both an educational and community context through school field trips and local stewardship initiatives.
“We thank Michael for taking the bold step of presenting Blue Ecology-An Attitude Switch, the issue is timely and clearly resonated with those attending the workshop,” concluded Eric Bonham.
Comments Off on Perceptions of Worth, Perceptions of Value: “Testing EAP through two demonstration applications resulted in this defining conclusion – EAP is a process, not a protocol,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process Initiative, when he reported out at the Blue Ecology Workshop (Nov 2017)
Note to Reader:
EAP, the acronym for Ecological Accounting Process, is one of three streams of deliverables flowing from Sustainable Watershed System, through Asset Management. Funded by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, this initiative is led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
The EAP approach is being demonstrated through two case study applications on Vancouver Island – one in the Cowichan Valley (Busy Place Creek) and the other in the Comox Valley (Brooklyn Creek).
At his presentation at the Blue Ecology Workshop in November 2017, EAP Chair Tim Pringle showcased the EAP case studies. He also announced the rebranding of EAP. No longer is EAP the acronym for Ecological Accounting Protocol, he said. Going forward, EAP stands for the Ecological Accounting Process.
Getting the Most from Natural Drainage Infrastructure
No longer is climate change a future scenario. Adapting to a changing climate requires transformational changes in how we apply hydrologic understanding, value nature, and service land.
The Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) for valuing watersheds as infrastructure assets is viewed as a lynch-pin for driving change. EAP deals with the monetary value of renewable services provided by natural assets.
Two Early Conclusions
“The vision for EAP is that it would help local governments in British Columbia progress along the Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery. Once a life-cycle approach is standard practice, the next logical step is to integrate ecological services from natural systems into asset management,” stated Tim Pringle.
“Initially, we saw EAP as a tool (i.e. ‘the protocol’) that would help practitioners calculate the opportunity cost of balancing ecological services with drainage infrastructure. However, our thinking has evolved over the past year. Testing the approach through two demonstration applications has resulted in this defining conclusion: EAP is a process, not a protocol. Thus, we are rebranding EAP as the Ecological Accounting Process.
“This is one of two early conclusions. The second relates to the distinction between worth and value.”
A Process, not a Protocol
“The term ‘Process’ more accurately describes the challenge of working with multiple stakeholders to assess the hydrology of an entire creekshed, or small watershed, in order to accurately describe the ecological services made possible by the hydrology,” explained Tim Pringle.
“This comprehensive approach rarely takes place and it makes the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) unique.”
Worth versus Value
“Stakeholders have, by the nature of their engagement in dealing with hydrological and ecological concerns in a creekshed, confirmed what is or is not worthwhile to them,” reported Tim Pringle.
“Looking through the ‘worth lens’ led us to a fundamental shift in approach. The EAP methodology now places less emphasis on the monetization of ecological services. Instead, the principal focus is on the investment of resources already made by many stakeholders, as well as their aspirations concerning the management (prevention of degradation to and work on enhancement) of ecological services in the creekshed.”
Framework for Undertaking Demonstration Applications
“When we designed EAP, there were no predetermined outcomes, but there were goals,” continued Tim Pringle.
“Goal #1 is to study two creeksheds with differing levels of alterations of the landscape and responses to the physical change.
“Goal #2 is to apply the Water Balance Methodology as the analytical tool to assess the functioning condition of the creekshed hydrology.
“Goal #3 is to confirm the definable benefits of the ecological services supported by the hydrology.
“Goal #4 is to produce a social and financial account about the worth of these services.
“Stakeholders in both the Cowichan and Comox valleys have produced a considerable amount of information about risks, concerns and opportunities. Although the emphasis in this literature emphasizes human settlement, the intrinsic needs of nature also are addressed.”
Brooklyn Creek Watershed in the Comox Valley
Comox Valley EAP Demonstration Application
Brooklyn Creek is the Comox Valley demonstration application. The creek originates in the City of Courtenay, soon crosses a finger of the Comox Valley Regional District, and then for most of its length flows through the Town of Comox.
“Due to various land use impacts on watershed hydrology, the Town found it necessary in 2005 to carry out significant and expensive remediation works along its section of Brooklyn Creek to curtail serious erosion and property damage,” explained Tim Pringle.
“This was a pivotal time. The Town and other stakeholders collaborated to set a strategic plan (2006) to manage the stream corridor as an ecological system and as part of the municipal drainage system.
“Eleven years later the results of this collaborative effort in the lower reaches of the channel system are substantial and impressive. The Town and its watershed partners have made approximately equal and substantial investments annually. This commitment secures park amenities and helps streamkeepers and conservation organizations reach their goals.”
Cowichan Valley EAP Demonstration Application
Sh-hwuykweslu, or Busy Place Creek, is the Cowichan Valley demonstration application. It is situated within the Cowichan Valley Regional District near Duncan.
“The stakeholders have expressed concerns about a number of risks as well desires to realize various opportunities connected to the creekshed’s ecological systems supported by the hydrology,” reported Tim Pringle.
“The Water Balance Methodology analysis confirms that restoration of three wetland areas to provide upland rainfall retention will strongly address these issues including flow duration, fish habitat, flourishing riparian zones, natural amenities for planned expansion of trails, and attenuation of flooding in the lowland portion of the creekshed. As a collaboration of stakeholders, this could be an affordable process.”
Work by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in proving out the Ecological Accounting Process is laying the groundwork for getting to Step Three.
Comments Off on Reflections on Inter-Generational Learning: “Today, how does any young professional truly learn his or her trade when so much of daily life revolves around the use of ‘apps’ for instant answers or solutions?” pondered Wally Wells when reflecting on what it means to be a professional engineer
The main challenge is ‘integration’ and getting every discipline to recognize each others’ contribution plus get the organization working together on a common path. Another challenge is communicating and understanding the message. The work environment is changing with time as are the methods of communicating and the form of the messages.
“Two very mature (meaning ‘old guys’), got discussing this at length. We were fortunate to have a young guy join the conversation with whole bunch of fresh new ideas and thoughts,” wrote Wally Wells, Executive Director, Asset Management BC.
“Yes, all three of us are engineers but we come from quite different generations. We quickly realized that, while we needed to understand the same things, the way we traditionally communicate is quite different. Therefore, the interpretation or understanding of the result can be quite different without really even realizing it.”
On Learning to be a Professional
“The conversation with the young guy took an interesting twist when we old guys recounted what the world was like at the beginning of our careers,” wrote Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
“We were called junior engineers and we were mentored by senior engineers. In that era, we explained, the accepted wisdom was that it took 5 to 10 years on-the-ground experience to develop professional judgment and mature into a fully rounded ‘project engineer’.”
Contrast with Instant Gratification
“After we old guys painted this picture, which is centred on the notion of ‘serving your time’, the reaction of the young guy was immediate,” continued Kim Stephens.
“That is not appealing, it is not exciting, he stated. Is the nature of your response a reflection of the instant gratification ethic that characterizes society today, we queried. Yes, Cory acknowledged.”
Comments Off on BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP (November 28, 2017): Download the PowerPoint storylines for all four modules
Water is THE issue of the 21st Century
Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy developed by Michael Blackstock, professional forester and scholar. Blue Ecology looks at the water cycle differently to interweave First Nations and Western thought.
Michael Blackstock has a vision: British Columbia water managers would embrace the Blue Ecology water cycle; our communities would become more water-resilient; and we would successfully adapt to a changing climate. His innovative thinking is recognized by UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Global recognition speaks volumes regarding the credibility of Michael Blackstock and Blue Ecology.
The Blue Ecology Workshop had a town-hall format. Michael was joined by two ‘water champions’ who have achieved national prominence – the CBC’s Bob McDonald, host of Quirks & Quarks; and Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly, who has twice swum the length of the Fraser – along with a supporting cast from the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.