Green Infrastructure is a Resiliency Investment that Pays Dividends: “New York City can serve as a model for American coastal cities looking for ways to mitigate the effects of climate change,” says Carter Strickland, New York state director of The Trust for Public Land
With 520 miles of coastline, there are more residents living in high-risk flood zones in New York City than any other city in the United States. “As New York comes to grip with this new reality, the city, civic institutions, and community groups are building parks and playgrounds that incorporate plants, permeable pavement, greenroofs, green roofs, trees, bioswales, and rainwater catchment systems and other ‘green infrastructure’. This is important because cities are hotter than surrounding areas, and their residents are more vulnerable to heat waves, one of the greatest public health threats from climate change,” wrote Carter Strickland.
VIDEO: Seattle Strategy for Green Stormwater Infrastructure – “GSI is an approach for mimicking the way intact forest ecosystems manage rainfall, to prevent stormwater pollution and make our neighborhoods greener and more livable at the same time,” stated Tracy Hackett
“Before our roads and houses were here, the native evergreen forests and that covered our Pacific Northwest landscape slowed and cleansed rainwater and helped it soak into the soil to recharge groundwater and replenish our creeks and rivers. Over the past 150 years, we have lost a great deal of this ecological function. We know now that the polluted runoff from impervious surfaces in urban areas is the number one threat to water quality in Puget Sound, that it’s toxic to salmon and other wildlife, and causes other problems like sewer overflows and flooding,” stated Tracy Hackett.
“Washoe County, Nevada is one of the most rapidly urbanizing areas in the country. Why are cumulative impacts of development ignored?” asks engineer Kris Hemlein
“Cumulative environmental impacts can be defined as effects on the environment which are caused by the combined results of past, current and future activities,” wrote Kris Hemlein. “Human activities, with time, combine to collectively impact the environment. These effects may differ from the original, individual activities. For example, ecosystems can be damaged by the combined effects of human activities, such as air, land and/or water pollution; improper handling of industrial waste; and other human development activities. Do our county planners, planning commissioners and commissioners adequately consider cumulative impacts of urbanization on our existing residents?”
Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management: “The new Center has been set up as a sustainable undertaking. It is the combination of diverse needs, ideas and solutions that will make this vision for the Center work,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney, Director of Operations
“We’re so pleased with the agreement reached with the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability. We have many needs in common, and many ideas to share. The leadership shown by the Partnership has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” stated Charles Rowney. “British Columbia experience in whole-system, water balance based approaches in the Pacific Northwest adds a critical combination of tools and understanding to the water resources toolbox.”
SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: What is the provincial government role in supporting BC communities so that they “get it right” when moving from policy to action in implementing initiatives flowing from the Living Water Smart framework?
“British Columbia is at a tipping point vis-à-vis Sustainable Watershed Systems. Without provincial government leadership and direction, the process to adopt, change or evolve standards of practice and apply tools in the local government setting may be painfully slow, might not happen, or could simply peter out due to indifference or neglect,” stated Kim Stephens. “As a minimum, provincial government support is necessary if communities are to “get it right” from a water balance perspective vis-à-vis land use, infrastructure servicing of land, and asset management.”
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.”
VANCOUVER SUN OP-ED ARTICLE: Led by Asset Management BC, the BC Framework refocuses business processes on how physical and natural assets are used to deliver services, and support outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and address risks (published on June 2, 2018)
Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – extreme events are the New Normal. British Columbia is at a tipping point. When will communities adapt, and how? “Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the Partnership’s ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ program,” stated Peter Law.
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.”
FLASHBACK TO 2002: “The Guidebook premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible represented a radical shift in thinking in 2002. It opened the door to implementing a regulatory approach to designing with nature,” stated Kim Stephens, Guidebook project manager & principal author
“Published in 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ was a catalyst for change that resulted in BC achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management,” stated Kim Stephens. In addition to Adaptive Management, the Guidebook introduced two innovations. The first was the concept of an Integrated Strategy for managing all the ‘rainfall-days’ that occur each year. The second innovation was the concept of performance targets for managing the rainfall spectrum.
YOUTUBE VIDEO: “An educational goal is that those who are involved in municipal land use and drainage would understand the vision for ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’,” stated Kim Stephens, keynote speaker at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)
“Part of that is the paradigm-shift to recognize watersheds as infrastructure assets,” stated Kim Stephens. “Whether you use the word deficit or liability, the significance is that we don’t have the money to refinance or replace our existing core infrastructure such as water, sewer or roads. So, a simple challenge to a municipal councillor or regional board member is: Why would you take on another unfunded liability called drainage – which is what you have been doing for a lifetime!”