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Convening for Action in British Columbia

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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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FLASHBACK TO 2014: Metro Vancouver elected representatives were informed that UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly coined the phrase “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” to explain why environmental degradation is incremental


“Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss. You can have a succession of changes. At the end you want to sustain miserable leftovers. And the question is, why do people accept this?,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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NANAIMO WATER SYMPOSIUM: Moving Towards Restorative Development through Collaboration – The Hard Work of Hope (April 11-12, 2018)


“Communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration – have you thought about the power of the 4Cs? When all four are in play, good things happen,” states Derek Richmond. “Are you also aware of the beneficial outcomes that are flowing from collaboration between local government and the stewardship sector in the Nanaimo region? A groundswell of heightened awareness is translating into involvement and empowerment to make a difference. Join us on April 11-12 to learn more.”

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NANAIMO WATER SYMPOSIUM: Watershed Stewardship in a Changing Environment – Collaboration Success Stories (April 11-12, 2018)


The role of the stewardship sector in the Nanaimo region has been evolving over the past two decades. Beginning in 1997, Gail Adrienne led Project 2000, which jump-started stewardship activities and projects in the Nanaimo region. Looking ahead, Gail sees the current resurgence of community interest in caring for waterways as key to making a difference in restoring naturally functioning watersheds over time. “On April 11-12, 2018, join us in Nanaimo for a symposium on watershed stewardship, the water balance and restorative development,” she stated.

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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


“Wildfire seasons are beginning earlier and summer droughts are more pronounced, likely enhanced by global climate change. Given the extent of forests in B.C.’s mountainous terrain, most communities are at risk of burning during a wildfire. Understanding the cause and consequences of this problem is essential to find meaningful solutions,” wrote Robert Gray in a co-authored article.

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