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Success Stories: Rainwater Champions & Innovators

VIDEO: Langley Township has engineered several thriving ecosystems for its 1600 kilometres of watercourses


A culvert upgrade was needed where Yorkson Creek passes under 86 Avenue but instead of the usual round shape, the replacement in 2016 was square. “The previous narrow culvert caused water to rush through and made it difficult for fish to swim through.  The new culvert has angled baffles on the bottom side which creates a meandering watercourse,” explained Justin St. Andrassy. “We installed pool and ripple sequences,  habitat features, large woody debris, and we planted the entire restoration zone with native plantings over several years.”

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VIDEO: West Vancouver’s McDonald Creek Gets a Fish-Friendly Makeover Thanks to Volunteer Effort and City Support


A new rocky berm has given a West Vancouver creek a better connection to high tide ocean water and salmon are expected to benefit. “The district’s role was to coordinate the project. The Streamkeepers did all the hard work to fundraise and organize funding for the project. We hired the trades folks, the coordinator and marine biologist to do the design work, and the coastal engineer, and got the trucks organized,” stated John Barker. “This is a perfect example of stewardship groups coming together and working in collaboration with the district.”

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Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre – a new jewel in the crown of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system


“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, at the official opening. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”

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PHILADELPHIA’S BOLD PLAN: Green City, Clean Waters – an inter-generational commitment to “optimize and engineer the landscape” to mimic and restore its natural hydrologic regime!


Philadelphia hopes by the mid-2030s to create the largest green stormwater infrastructure in the United States. Nancy Stoner says the program was never solely about slashing combined sewer overflow, but also about providing larger environmental and social benefits. “Philadelphia wanted to do much more,” Stoner says. “They did a benefits analysis before they began that showed it would enhance air quality and climate resiliency. It takes the problem of stormwater and turns it into an amenity.”

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CHANGING THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS: “The reality is that stormwater management has become an increasingly complex and multi-dimensional challenge,” wrote Glen Parker, North Shore Streamkeepers, in an opinion piece about rainwater management in Metro Vancouver’s North Shore region


“Perhaps because rain is thought of as a force of rejuvenation and renewal, we often neglect to think about how stormwater can actually endanger our ecosystems and fish populations across the North Shore,” wrote Glen Parker. “Protection of our local watershed starts with understanding the time and route that water takes to get into a stream. In our increasingly urban landscape, the growing presence of impervious surfaces means that massive quantities of stormwater are entering drainage systems.”

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Towards a Water-Resilient Future (Video): Released by the Senate of Berlin in August 2017, the plan “StEP Klima KONKRET” seeks to mimic nature and tackle extreme conditions by making Berlin a “Sponge City”


Heat waves and rainstorms will become common in northern Germany as climate change deepens. To make Berlin more resilient and livable in the coming future, Berlin’s infrastructure is being redesigned to solve drainage and heat problems as climate change accelerates. Rummelsberg, built 20 years ago in east Berlin, has become a large-scale example of the Sponge City concept. Heiko Seiker is the brains behind the neighbourhood’s innovative use of rainwater as a resource.

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STORMCON 2017 (August 27-31): A Flood of Stormwater Management Experts to Hit the Shores of Puget Sound to Reassess Stormwater in Response to Climate Change


“The threat of extreme heat and climate change, however, remains an imminent public health risk in the Puget Sound region and across the globe. In addition to blistering heat waves, increased stormwater runoff, flooding, low flows, and drought are increasingly threatening public health and safety, as rainfall frequency, duration, and magnitude are contingent on the climate,” stated Brigette Burich.

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Use the Rain, Reduce the Runoff in Whatcom County (Washington State)


“Given that you can’t have everybody move out of the watershed, that’s where low impact development and managing rainwater onsite comes into play,” CJ Huxford explained. “About 25-35 percent of the water you use indoors gets flushed down the toilet or is used in your cold water laundry. So the philosophy is that if you have more people in the watershed with toilet flushing systems, there is a lot of potential cost savings.”

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Celebrating Green Infastructure in the Metro Vancouver Region: “The goal of the inaugural Showcasing Innovation Series in 2006 was to build regional capacity in local government to design with nature," stated Paul Ham, (former) Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership


“The 2006 Showcasing Innovation Series was a provincial pilot. When we talked to practitioners in local government, it doesn’t matter what the region, the message was the same…they tell us that they are too busy to communicate with their colleagues in neighbouring municipalities. Yet the irony is that there is much to learn by sharing information with each other. At the end of the day, it seems that it takes a third party to bring people together,” stated Paul Ham.

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