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Showcasing British Columbia’s Watershed-Based Approach

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – a changing climate has resulted in "The New Normal in British Columbia" (Module 1)


The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – going back to basics to provide a common understanding of “Water Balance 101” (Module 2)


In the 1990s, transformational research by Richard Horner and Chris May taught practitioners that ‘changes in hydrology’, not water quality, must be the primary focus of their efforts. “When I look back, and reflect on how we saw things at the time, I offer this hindsight: the significance of our research findings was in gaining recognition of the ‘primacy of hydrology’. Until then, it was all about water quality,” states Richard Horner, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington (Seattle).

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – introduction to the top-down & bottom-up approach to “Convening for Action in BC” (Module 3)


In BC, the Province enables outcomes. It does not prescribe solutions. Everyone needs to agree on expectations and how all the players will work together. After that each community can reach its goals in its own way. “The regional team approach is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” states Glen Brown, General Manager, Union of BC Municipalities.

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – introduction to the British Columbia vision for "Sustainable Watershed Systems" (Module 4)


British Columbia is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides. “Moving beyond traditional engineered infrastructure asset management to also account for nature’s services will help influence ‘standards of practice’ and represent a leading-edge evolution in how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented and maintained in BC,” stated Wes Shoemaker, BC Deputy Environment Minister.

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United States Senator Patrick Leahy sponsored the 2015 Leahy Environmental Summit – held in Burlington, Vermont – to launch the "Climate Change Resilient, Floodwater Smart initiative"


“The Climate Change Resilient, Floodwater Smart initiative is based on a simple notion that when it comes to enterprise innovation and integration, there is nothing that brings out the best in human systems, faster, more consistently, and more effectively, than the power of ‘the whole’,” stated Senator Patrick Leahy. “True innovation happens when strong multi­-disciplinary groups come together, build a collaborative interchange, and explore their different points of strength.”

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United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell delivered the keynote address at the 2015 Leahy Environmental Summit


“Vermonters are more resilient to climate change and impacts they see in the environment. So, I’m here to encourage their good work, to talk a little bit about our role as the federal government and how we can work better together,” Jewell said. “You’re getting storms that you’ve never seen before; you’re getting winds that you’ve never seen before. We’ve got to be adapting. We’ve got to be addressing it. We can share with the public the benefit of green infrastructure.”

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Convening for Action at 2015 Leahy Environmental Summit: Kim Stephens provided ‘inspirational remarks’ about British Columbia experience in applying natural systems thinking


“It was an honour to be invited to Vermont by the Senator and his Environmental Summit team to participate in this transformational process,” stated Kim Stephens. “I appreciated the opportunity to observe history in the making, because that is what I believe it will prove to be. Speaking from experience, I predict that a decade from now the Summit team will be celebrating this milestone event and what it set in motion.”

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Convening for Action in Vermont: 'Climate Change Resilient, Floodwater Smart’ Stewardship


“The goal of the 2015 Leahy Environmental Summit is to inspire multi­-organizational, regional teams to produce or further develop specific projects, programs, and plans that engage an enthusiastic community to address social and structural resiliency for flooding and stormwater issues related to climate change. Given the energy in the room, it is clear that we achieved that goal,” stated Phelan Fretz.

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Think and Act like a Watershed (Part 4): Water Balance Pathway to a Water-Resilient Future


“The Water Balance Methodology now synthesizes fundamentals of hydrology, flood protection, aquatic ecology, geomorphology and hydrogeology,” stated Jim Dumont. “The flow-duration relationship is the cornerstone of the Water Balance Methodology. By maintaining flow-duration, stream erosion is not increased during wet weather and ‘environmental flows’ are sustained during dry weather.”

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