Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Keynote presentation by Kim Stephens at the June 2017 Community Meeting connected the dots to the call to action by the legendary Ian Mcharg in his classic book “Design with Nature” (1967)

Design with Nature is widely considered one of the most important and influential works of its kind. McHarg insisted we look at the many aspects of the entire system we are designing when building streets, structures, and cities; and instead of fighting against natural forces, design in harmony with them. "The ‘design with nature’ philosophy has become an integral and essential part of the green infrastructure, sustainable rainwater management and water sustainability branding in BC," stated Kim Stephens.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Community Meeting – a Call to Action for Governments, First Nations, Private Stakeholders, Watershed Governance and Policy Experts, and Members of the Public (June 10, 2017)

“With the development and launch of the Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan in 2015, the Roundtable is poised to implement strategies for action," stated Melissa Dick. “The collaborative, knowledge-sharing, and inclusive approach of the Roundtable has been central to its past successes and will continue to be a key characteristic as it works to implement elements of the Watershed Plan in alignment with efforts by the local municipalities and regional government."

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: A team of 7 speakers shared their expertise and perspectives on key topics such as local watershed governance, sustainable funding mechanisms, and collaborative decision-making at a Community Meeting (June 10, 2017)

At the heart of building the capacity and resilience of community groups seeking to implement local watershed initiatives is the need for sustainable funding, “A long-standing, multi-year source of funding is critical to sustain watershed-related activities,” stated Steve Litke. A draft Business Proposal has been prepared by the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable and critiqued by leading experts in the fields of watershed governance and funding/delivery models.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Community Meeting convened to explore sustainable funding mechanisms for implementing Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan (June 10, 2017)

The Roundtable is seeking to secure core funding to cover ongoing costs and to support the leverage of additional funds. “Diversity is key in sustainable financial planning, and we have already seen examples of what is possible when there is a strong partnership between, for example, a city and a watershed group. It is important to consider a blend of funding mechanisms. Resilience comes from diversity," stated Zita Botelho.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Learning from the experience of other regions in British Columbia

“In the Nanaimo region, our parcel tax function provides us with a reliable long-term funding source to enable our work related to water sustainability education/outreach, data-collection/monitoring, and planning/policy development for our region,” stated Julie Pisani. “This in turn magnetizes other partners and resources, to collaborate on watershed initiatives with us, as we are recognized as an equipped, dependable and long-term player."

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Collaboration benefits all

The Roundtable has turned its attention to building the capacity and resilience necessary to see the watershed plan through implementation and beyond. “One way to enhance the capacity of local governments to assess impacts is to work collaboratively, with other local governments, provincial and federal governments, government agencies, First Nations, the academic community and professional associations," stated Deborah Carlson.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Overcoming Barriers to Watershed Plan Implementation

“As development of the watershed plan progressed, the challenge to achieve sustainable long-term funding to ensure effective implementation of the plan was identified as a significant pressure,” stated Marni Turek. "The Roundtable is now poised to identify a strategy to increase capacity and resilience through evaluating sustainable funding mechanisms and building peer-to-peer knowledge sharing opportunities to expand the reach of this work.”

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: “The watershed plan provides the structure needed to ensure continual improvement through an adaptive management framework,” stated Margaret Birch

The watershed plan recognizes important linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being, and advances ecosystem-based thinking and planning across multiple jurisdictions of the Coquitlam River watershed. “Evolving from a climate of conflict to a state of collaboration was a huge success on its own, and the benefits of a common vision and the collaborative, consensus-based approach empowered the Roundtable," stated Margaret Birch.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: “This unique watershed plan recognizes the linkages between healthy ecosystems and healthy people,” stressed Craig Orr

Aligned by a common vision of a healthy watershed, the Roundtable began developing the watershed plan following an adaptive management model known as the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. “Integrating the important linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being into decision making is a critical step in planning for watershed health. The foundations for this have been woven into the fabric of the watershed plan,” stated Craig Orr.