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Convening for Action in British Columbia

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BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 5: “Climate change is here. And it has happened quickly. More quickly than predicted. The real story is the accelerating rate of change, especially since extreme events are creating their own weather. In British Columbia, wildfires will shape our future,” stated Bob McDonald, national science commentator for CBC Television


“A recent interview with a UN diplomat got me thinking. The real issue is public engagement, he said. We are at a moment of truth. Unless the climate message offers hope, he explained, individuals will not be motivated to take action in the face of change. Yet action does need to happen quickly. Because Blue Ecology is a message of hope, I believe it is an idea whose time has come,” stated Bob McDonald.

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BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 6: “Hydrologists and water managers can help build a brighter future by rediscovering the meaning of water, and interweaving the predominant Western analytical models with the more intuitive indigenous models,” stated Michael Blackstock, independent scholar and developer of the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy


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.

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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE:  Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: Convening for Action at the 2018 Nanaimo Water Symposium – Sharing & Learning from Collaboration Success Stories (April 2018)


“Two decades, and in partnership with the City of Nanaimo, NALT launched Project 2000 to catalyze neighbourhood stewardship of city waterways. NALT held many community meetings to grow awareness of what living in a watershed means. Nowadays, groups come to NALT to tell us about their stewardship activities and to seek ways to expand those activities. We are working together to grow our network and activities across the region,” stated Paul Chapman.

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FLASHBACK TO 2007: “Because people are so busy in their own worlds, it takes a third party to connect them,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island


“There are indeed a lot of good things happening throughout Vancouver Island,” stated John Finnie. “Yet practitioners in local government are not necessarily aware when they are being innovative and are not often aware of innovation in other municipalities. We believe a key to the success of CAVI is that we are talking to people, not preaching at them. Our approach is to inform and educate. We do this by creating situations for people to have conversations.”

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“Released in March 2018, ‘Our Story’ provides a comprehensive picture of the integrated program that the Partnership is delivering under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” stated Mike Tanner, a founding Director of British Columbia’s Partnership for Water Sustainability


“The purpose of the Water Sustainability Action Plan is to build practitioner capacity to explore new ideas so that those in the local government setting whose decisions influence community and infrastructure design can build greener and more water resilient communities in British Columbia,” stated Mike Tanner. “While the Action Plan program has ongoing since 2004, the focus since 2012 has been on an initiative branded as ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems through Asset Management’. The desired outcome is to achieve settlement, economy and ecology in balance.”

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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia – Our Story (March 2018)


“Future planners, engineers, scientists, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism, working as a team towards consensus, commitment and collaboration for the common good. Such collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries given that climate change is no respecter of such creations. The Partnership has accepted this challenge and its implementation,” stated Eric Bonham.

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GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “Water Balance Approach on Vancouver Island” (#7 in the Watershed Case Profile Series, released January 2018)


The storyline is built around three regional Water Balance Methodology demonstration applications. “To be useful…the simulation model must be physically based and deterministic, and it must be designed to simulate the entire hydrological cycle…hence it must be a water balance model,” wrote Ray Linsley (1917-1990). He pioneered development of continuous hydrologic simulation as the foundation for water balance modelling. The Water Balance Methodology is a synthesis of watershed hydrology and stream dynamics.

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KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): "Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the ‘regional team approach’


“The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination.”

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KEYNOTE AT REGIONAL WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY NORTH SHORE STREAMKEEPERS (March 2017): "Redevelopment of neighbourhoods creates opportunities to ‘get it right’ the second time and restore watershed health," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Our region is hemmed in by the mountains, the sea, the US border and the Agricultural Land Reserve. This means population growth will be accommodated through redevelopment, and this involves redevelopment of watersheds. This is what gives us the second chance to get it right,” stated Kim Stephens. “As the housing stock turns over, there is a window of opportunity. We get one window every 50 years. Will local government take action in time?”

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KEYNOTE AT ‘RISING TO THE CHALLENGE’ CONFERENCE IN AUSTRALIA (August 2016): “Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period have allowed me to view our evolving British Columbia situation in a comparative context,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our “whole systems” approach to water balance management,” observed Kim Stephens. “BC is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides.”

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