Pacific Streamkeepers Federation: “It is the voice of the community volunteer that we bring to arenas such as the Nanaimo Water Symposium,” stated ZoAnn Morten
“The objectives of the Streamkeepers Program are as follows: 1) Provide volunteers with the training and support required to protect and restore local aquatic habitat; 2) Educate the public about the importance of watershed resources; and 3)Encourage communication and cooperation in watershed management,”stated Zo Ann Morten. “The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation has been successful in bringing our Mission Statement to life in several ways. We help streamkeepers take action through support, education, and building partnerships.”
Convening for Action in the Regional District of Nanaimo: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future
“2018 marks the tenth year of RDN DWWP program implementation and an Action Plan update will outline the priority actions and mandate for the next 10 years,” states Julie Pisani. “The solid foundation developed in the first 10 years provides a great opportunity to move forward with gained insight, practical understanding of the mechanics of program implementation, and context for the tools available through the new BC Water Sustainability Act. Will other regions take notice and follow in RDN’s footsteps?”
REGISTER WHILE YOU CAN: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future on Vancouver Island (April 11-12)
Adapting to climate change requires transformation in how we perceive watershed worth and service land. It also requires community empowerment and stewardship sector partnerships with local government. “The symposium will draw attention to the value of ‘citizen science’ and how it can be leveraged to achieve two complementary objectives: educate the local community (public); and provide an impetus for political action that results in implementation of environmental policy at the local and/or provincial level,” stated Peter Law.
Wetland Mapping Project in the Regional District of Nanaimo: “The unique spatial distribution of wetlands in the RDN contributes to the complex relationship between surface water and groundwater,” states Ashley Van Acken, Project Coordinator
“Projected population growth would significantly increase various land use activities and enhance stress on groundwater resources, therefore it was mandated by the RDN to begin to develop a program that works towards reducing these impacts and increasing regional fresh water sustainability. For this reason, the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute and the RDN have partnered to redirect policy and land use decisions,” stated Ashley Van Acken. “The Wetlands Mapping Project aims to create an updated inventory of wetlands in the RDN.”
FLASHBACK TO 2007: “The goal in showcasing innovation and celebrating successes is to promote networking, build regional capacity, and move ‘from awareness to action’,” stated Kim Stephens at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island
“The Showcasing Innovation Series creates pride and enables local governments to tell their stories in a way that no other forum currently provides. A Showcasing Innovation event is not a conference. Neither is it a workshop nor seminar in the conventional sense,” stated Kim Stephens.
GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE: “The IREI helps the champions in each region understand what the other regions are doing, what works and what does not,” stated Mike Tanner, Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
“We are working with practitioners involved in water resources functions to foster integrated protection and management strategies through enhancement of practitioner expertise (i.e. “developing talent”), and through further evolution and delivery of program elements developed under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia,” stated Mike Tanner. “The IREI provides local governments with a mechanism for sharing and learning from each other through collaborative processes.”
Changing the Way We Do Business in British Columbia: “EAP – the Ecological Accounting Process – is a whole-system view of watersheds that assesses hydrology in order to accurately describe ecological services,” states Tim Pringle
The Nanaimo Water Symposium will showcase the first demonstration applications of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) to assess ‘watershed worth’. “Looking through the ‘worth lens’ has led to a fundamental shift in the EAP approach: place less emphasis on monetization of ecological services; instead, focus on the investment of resources as well as aspirations of motivated stakeholders,” states Tim Pringle.
“NALT uses the tools of land trusts to promote and protect the natural values of land in the Nanaimo area,” says Paul Chapman, Acting Executive Director
The Nanaimo River Watershed is a principal focus of the Nanaimo Area & Land Trust (NALT). “In 2011, NALT was the catalyst for bringing together a group of stakeholders to create the Nanaimo River Watershed Roundtable,” stated Paul Chapman. “Through the Roundtable, a group of stakeholders in the watershed who in the past might not have convened at the same table, have been able to gather and share information and where appropriate resources for the stewardship of the watershed and all the values, environmental, social and economic it supports.”
FLASHBACK TO 2016: “When developing the Bowker Creek Blueprint, we used stylized graphics to help the community visualize what is possible, even in a highly developed watershed,” stated Jody Watson, Capital Region District
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. “For the Bowker Creek watershed, we realized that the community, especially the youth, had no memory of Bowker Creek in a natural state because almost 70% of the creek was in pipes,” recalled Jody Watson. “we used stylized graphics to represent an open and above-ground creek.”
Report on Water Sustainability and the City (Dec 2017): “B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act could increase local governments’ abilities to more sustainably manage local watersheds,” says report author Chistine Mettler, Canadian Freshwater Alliance
The Canadian Freshwater Alliance undertook research to determine what problems are affecting urban watersheds, why they’re happening, barriers local governments face in trying to address them, and how better supports could be developed under the province’s water framework. “Local governments play a large role when it comes to protecting watershed health. However, many watershed professionals working in local government feel stymied in their efforts to protect their local watersheds.” stated Christine Mettler.