FLASHBACK TO 2016: “By contrasting two watersheds, we were aiming to demonstrate that there is still time to get it right on the less developed watershed,” said Nancy Gothard, City of Courtenay Environmental Planner
We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of those who are leading in their communities. Local government champions on the east coast of Vancouver Island are sharing and learning from each other through inter-regional collaboration. “We wanted to tell a story of the continuum of watershed health, and for people to understand the role that riparian cover plays,” stated Nancy Gothard.
Embracing Shared Responsibility & Leading Change on Vancouver Island: “A paramount goal is to ‘get it right’ in the stream channel,” reports Peter Law, Vice-President, Mid Vancouver Island Enhancement Society
“MVIHES has morphed from ‘Stewards of the Englishman River Recovery Plan’ to ‘Stewards of the Watershed’. The Shelly Creek Plan is a provincial precedent. Community-driven action can restore watershed hydrology, prevent erosion and ensure fish survival,” stated Peter Law. “The challenge for MVIHES is to facilitate the community’s journey from awareness to action, expressed as follows: Once a community as a whole acknowledges that there is a problem, and also understands why there is a problem, what will the community do about it?”
FLASHBACK TO 2015: Release of “Beyond the Guidebook 2015” drew attention to what Watershed Health issue means in practice and provincial game-changers that enable local government action in British Columbia
In British Columbia, three landmark provincial initiatives came to fruition in 2014. All embody the enabling philosophy. “Looking into the future, collaboratively developed Water Sustainability Plans can integrate water and land use planning and can be combined with other local, regional or provincial planning processes to address water-related issues. “The scale and scope of each plan – and the process used to develop it – would be unique, and would reflect the needs and interests of the watersheds affected,” states Jennifer Vigano.
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.
YEAR IN REVIEW: “In 2017. the Partnership for Water Sustainability greatly enhanced the capabilities of the Water Balance family of tools to make real the vision for the ‘BC Framework’ for sustainable service delivery,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President, when reflecting on program accomplishments
No longer is asset management only about hard engineered assets – watermains, sewers, roads. Watershed systems are also “infrastructure assets”. Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework sets a strategic direction that would refocus business processes on outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and risks. “Financial support from three levels of government makes it possible for the Partnership for Water Sustainability to develop tools, resources and programs,” stated Ted van der Gulik.
Voodoo Hydrology Annual Webinar Series (December 2017): Andy Reese explains the pitfalls of urban hydrology methods
Andy Reese coined the term Voodoo Hydrology in 2006. “As a stormwater community, we have for years relied upon common urban stormwater hydrologic design methodologies and trusted their results. But, should we? We must understand that urban hydrology, including newer Green Infrastructure sizing approaches, as commonly practiced, is an inexact science where we are simply trying to get close to the right answer,” states Andy Reese.
IMPLEMENTATION OF WHOLE-SYSTEM, WATER BALANCE APPROACH: “The challenge is to move from stop-gap remediation of in-stream problems to long-term restoration of a properly functioning watershed,” stated Peter Law, Vice-President of the Mid Vancouver Habitat Enhancement Society
“By sharing the story of Shelly Creek, we want readers to recognize that erosion is a common issue impacting salmon and trout habitats in small streams, draining into the Salish Sea,” states Peter Law. “Existing standards of practice have resulted in negative impacts. Continuing to use those standards will result in further environmental degradation of the watershed and loss of stream productivity. Building support for action starts with community engagement.”
Watershed Case Profile Series: Shelly Creek is the City of Parksville's last fish-bearing stream! (October 2017)
“Shelly Creek is a tributary of the Englishman River, a major watershed system on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Shelly Creek is important to salmonids,” wrote Kim Stephens. “In 1999 the Englishman River was first declared to be one of the most endangered rivers in BC. Extinction of the fisheries resource was viewed as a very real possibility. This was the catalyst for action. It resulted in creation of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES).”
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE INNOVATION IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: A decade ago, three neighbourhood developments in Langley established successive provincial precedents that informed the evolution of the Water Balance Methodology
“Langley is unique in that DFO approved the water balance strategy at a neighbourhood scale for each of Routley, Yorkson and Northeast Gordon,” stated Jim Dumont. “DFO approval meant that design standards were applied uniformly across each neighbourhood. This was a time-saver for everyone. The approach resulted in consistency of implementation.”
Watershed Case Profile Series: Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township – 'Design with Nature' to Create Liveable Neighbourhoods
Design with nature, a whole-system approach, learn by doing and adapt. These three phrases capture the essence of how the Township builds neighbourhoods. “There are many staff members that have made this happen,” stated Mayor Jack Froese. “Council makes policy and we approve policies. And then it is our wonderful staff that carry out the policies. And so, I certainly want to recognize the work that they have done.”