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    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.”

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    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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    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.

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    YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative, at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


    “The worth of a creekshed is a package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology. These inter-dependent ecological systems provide uses we call nature; examples are wetlands, ponds, riparian areas, woodlands, habitat for flora and fauna, etc. These systems add appeal and quality to parks, greenways, trails, as well as opportunities to focus on natural processes such as salmon spawning and nesting sites,” stated Tim Pringle. “The next step is doing. A strategy is the path to success.”

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    SPONGE CITIES: “It’s important to make friends with water. We can make a water protection system a living system,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design


    Kongjian Yu is best known for his “sponge cities”. President Xi Jinping and his government have adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. “The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse,” stated Kongjian Yu. “Based on thousands of years of Chinese wisdom, the first strategy is to contain water at the origin, when the rain falls from the sky on the ground. We have to keep the water.” Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts and floods.

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    FLASHBACK TO 2003: “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection,” wrote Geoff Gilliard in an article published by Input Magazine


    “Many local governments are under pressure to protect streamside property that is threatened by stormwater development,” wrote Geoff Gilliard. “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection. The Guidebook offers a new approach to stormwater management that eliminates the root cause of ecological and property impacts by designing for the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”

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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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    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.

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    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?”

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