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Vancouver Island Water

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “We must build trust with elected reps, local staff and developers to collaborate on Win-Win rainwater projects in the Shelley Creek drainage area,” stated Peter Law, speaking on behalf of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society


“I have some Good News, some Bad News and some Ugly News about Shelly Creek. The good news is that the creek provides limited but valuable habitat for Coho and Trout populations. The bad news is that water quality in the fall, specifically it’s turbidity values are the highest in Oceanside. The ugly news is that the stream channel is suffering from severe erosion and low summer flows,” stated Peter Law. “So can we put the Genie back in the bottle? Can we restore stream flows to natural conditions? Yes.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Regional coordination is a key to success in developing a regional water resource dataset to inform local planning and provincial decisions,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo


“The RDN coordinates a surface water quality sampling program in partnership with 13 stewardship groups, Ministry of Environment and Island Timberlands to expand ability to track watershed trends, inform planning and programs, and raise watershed awareness,” stated Julie Pisani. “Through this surface water quality monitoring program we have been able to use citizen science as a way to build community engagement and foster trust amongst partners.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Through Project 2000, we raised awareness of the watersheds where people in Nanaimo live; and we provided space for people to take streamkeeper workshops and become activated as stewards,” stated Paul Chapman, when he provided historical context for the work of the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust


“From the beginning, water has been an important piece of NALT’s concerns. That started with Project 2000 and the Stream Team more than two decades ago. These initiatives covered 17 creeks in the Nanaimo area,” stated Paul Chapman. “As recently as the mid-1990s, the connection had still not been made by the community between storm drains and the creekshed. We all live in a creekshed, and we need to think about that. Project 2000 was about community engagement, empowerment and activation.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “PIP, the Partners in Parks Program, is a public participation program designed to develop, maintain and beautify many new and old open spaces, parks and trails,” stated Rob Lawrance, City of Nanaimo


“Shifts in environmental partnerships have been occurring within the City Parks system. The City has adapted to try and make environmental stewardship a more inclusive activity for residents in order to build connections between residents and natural spaces,” stated Rob Lawrance. “PIP, the Partners in Parks Program, provides an opportunity to get people outside and involved, and it often brings neighbours who may not have even met before to work together to improve their community.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “The spatial distribution of wetlands in the Regional District of Nanaimo is unique, and contributes to the complex relationship between surface water and groundwater,” stated Ashley Van Acken, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute


“There is a high demand for baseline data on wetland systems. Data on the locations of wetlands within urbanized, agricultural, and developed areas, as well as the classification of wetland sites is typically unavailable or limited,” stated Ashley Van Acken. “Understanding the dynamic and complex relationship between wetlands, surface water, and aquifer systems will increase freshwater sustainability in the region.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “I have met so many stewards who are inspiring and so awesome. They do the hard work that creates the data that makes politicians listen,” said Dave Clough, a fisheries biologist who works with streamkeeper groups on the east coast of Vancouver Island


Dave Clough talked about training and supporting legions of volunteer stream stewards – what works and what doesn’t for long lasting watershed engagement. “As a professional biologist, that is my career. But my heart is a streamkeeper. And I was that first. Howard English, down at Goldstream, taught me that the value of caring for the environment could come from anyone, from any walk of life. He was a barber. Streamkeepers are the engine that are going to make this (restorative development) work.”

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KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER:”Restoration is becoming a powerful way for everyday people to help reverse what’s been lost to earlier generations of development,” stated Tim Ennis, Executive Director, Comox Valley Land Trust


“Despite more than a century of development in the surrounding lands, the K’omoks Estuary is second only to the Fraser River Estuary in supporting the highest concentrations of migratory birds in BC’s part of the Pacific Flyway. And it remains in the top five of only eight Class 1 estuaries in BC. However, Project Watershed’s most recent Vision and Guiding Principles for the Estuary is brutally honest: ‘unless we do something quickly to turn things around, we will lose this precious feature of the Comox Valley community’,” wrote Tim Ennis.

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “The RDN demonstrates commitment to watershed initiatives and water sustainability by delivering this service with a long-term reliable funding source,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo


“Our program is called Drinking Water and Watershed Protection on purpose. Yes, it’s a long name but it captures the related elements of water that we work on in terms of education, science and policy,” emphasized Julie Pisani. “To get to restorative development, we need to restore (or establish) healthy working partnerships. These partnerships will provide the foundation for implementing and maintaining a more sustainable and restorative way of developing our land base, centered on water protection.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “The worth of a creekshed is a package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP), when he shared what has been learned from two Vancouver Island demonstration applications


“By providing a value for the land underlying the stream and riparian zone, stakeholders have a much more realistic idea of the worth of the ecological services supplied by environmental assets,” stated Tim Pringle. “This form of financial information can be used for asset management strategies related to ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. This guidance document sets a strategic direction that refocuses local government business processes on outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and risks.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Although local governments in British Columbia can influence a number of activities that impact watershed health in their jurisdictions, many face challenges in addressing watershed pressures,” stated Christine Mettler, Canadian Freshwater Alliance


“Our goal in carrying out the research was that the findings would be reflective of local government experience. Of course, we understood that experience differs based on the organization, but we also recognized that it is really empirically grounded and speaks to certain trends or tendencies – in other words, it might not be everyone’s experience, but it is experienced by some,” stated Christine Mettler. “This research was informed by a few different components, principally an online survey supplemented by interviews.”

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