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Convening for Action in British Columbia

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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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DID YOU KNOW THAT: waterbucket.ca is home for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia


“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,” stated Susan Friesen. “”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.”

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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


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. “The most productive agricultural land is situated in the lower Fraser Valley. This is one of the most productive agricultural regions in all of Canada. Half the total provincial farm gate receipts come from the Fraser Valley.” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Fin Donnelly – “he walks the talk, effectively communicating on an intergenerational level through community engagement,” wrote Eric Bonham


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 invaluable insight and understanding of the need for an holistic approach and engagement by a range of participants. Also, his definition of “Rivershed” 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.

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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


Bob McDonald’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, Bob and the Partnership for Water Sustainability share a positive vision of the future, seeking solutions through collaborative partnerships and a realignment of the water story.

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BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: A testimonial to Michael Blackstock – “The interweaving of First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science is long overdue,” wrote Eric Bonham


The Partnership looks forward to an on-going connection with Michael Blackstock 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.

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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)


“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: EAP is a process, not a protocol. Thus, we are rebranding EAP as the Ecological Accounting Process,” stated Tim Pringle. “The term ‘Process’ more accurately describes the challenge of working with multiple stakeholders in order to accurately describe the ecological services made possible by the watershed hydrology.”

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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 reality today is a very different work environment then what we ‘old guys’ grew up in,” stated Wally Wells. “That leads to a required dialogue of what communicating really means and how the message is received and interpreted by different generations. Maybe, just maybe, we take too much for granted based on what we individually know in trying to communicate asset management. We need to think very hard about the way we carry the message – with, I would suggest, more thought to the perception of the listener.”

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BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP (November 28, 2017): Download the PowerPoint storylines for all four modules


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.

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