Inspired by a ground-breaking campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the Seattle/Puget Sound region of Washington State, a multi-partner initiative is now underway in British Columbia to build support for a similar rain garden vision in the Metro Vancouver region. “On the North Shore, we can learn from the experience in the Puget Sound region and from the green infrastructure initiatives that are taking place at the municipal level,” states Dr. Joanna Ashworth. “12,000 Rain Gardens is an effective blend of regionally coordinated but locally driven efforts. The campaign has played a major role in taking the rain garden concept from obscure to commonplace, and from outlier to mainstream, in terms of rainwater management strategies."
Titled 'Assessing local mandatory measures to reduce flood risk and inflow & infiltration in existing homes', the report focuses on enforcement-based approaches adopted by North American municipalities, including the City of Victoria and Metro Vancouver in British Columbia. “Basement flooding is one of the most substantial drivers of natural disaster losses in Canada,” states Dan Sandink. “Our report explores legal tools that could be used to require private property owners in existing developments to better manage excessive rainwater and protect against flood risk. We examine the legal implications of applying these tools in the Canadian municipal context.”
The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable has made significant advancements under its collaborative model. One highlight is the development of a unique watershed plan. The Community Roundtable Meeting taking place on June 10, 2017 in Port Coquitlam will share multi-sector, public, and expert perspectives on local watershed governance, sustainable funding mechanisms, and collaborative decision-making. “With the development and launch of the Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan in 2015, the Roundtable is poised to implement strategies for action in partnership with local municipalities, the regional government, First Nations, and private/public stakeholders to support watershed sustainability." states Melissa Dick. “To ensure the long-term engagement of the Roundtable in watershed initiatives and planning, sustainable funding sources are required."
Published in May 2007, The Green Infrastructure Guide is an invaluable reference document for those who embrace a ‘design with nature’ philosophy. The Guide led directly to development of the Shared Responsibility Matrix which embodies a way-of-thinking that is timeless. “The Guide’s purpose is to encourage successful designs, by reporting on what the legal and policy strategies are, what some of the implementation hurdles (and solutions) have been, and how they have been effective in achieving sustainability goals," wrote Susan Rutherford. “All of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. Each party in the process has a responsibility. There are solutions to be found if all parties in the development process simply talk to each other about how they could all work together more effectively, using law reform or other process changes as tools."
A report, released by infrastructure firm AECOM in April 2017, compiled urban data analytics across three different suburbs in Sydney, Australia, and found that for every 10 per cent increase in the canopy coverage within the street corridor, the value of properties increased by an average of $50,000 Australian. The value a city derives from its urban trees is difficult to measure due to the disconnect between the beneficiaries and the direct costs borne by the councils, utilities and road authorities who manage them. “Our report found that without sufficient ‘green infrastructure’ Sydney would be hotter, more polluted and could be worth $50 billion less," stated James Rosenwax, report co-author.
The ARDA program (Agriculture Rural Development Agreement) of the 1960’s and early 1970’s was a Federal and Provincial capital projects program that funded rural agriculture development. This program was followed by ARDSA (Agriculture Rural Development Subsidiary Agreement) in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. “The province established a set of criteria which determined the level of drainage improvements that were deemed to be acceptable in terms of cost-benefit, and the ability to pay. These have come to be known as ARDSA criteria,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “The ARDSA criteria were used to determine the capacity of drainage ditches and pump stations for all ARDA and ARDSA projects that were approved for funding.
The 8th annual Canadian Water Summit is in Toronto on June 22. As Canadians celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary since Confederation, delegates will explore opportunities to collaborate on water technology and infrastructure finance, “blue economy” growth and climate change resilience through progressive policies, smart business and bold investment leadership. Dan Krause will be speaking at the Canadian Water Summit as part of the panel session titled 'From Zero to Hero: The Journey of Sustainable Resource Management'. “Conserving our freshwaters can only happen with the support of businesses and corporations. It is their leadership that can shift market forces from loss and overuse, to conservation and sustainability," stated Dan Krause.
In April, staff from the three mid-Vancouver Island regional districts met in Duncan. Their primary purpose in meeting was to inform and educate the Cowichan Valley Regional Board about a range of approaches to watershed management functions and watershed protection plans on Vancouver Island. “The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Comox Valley presentations to our Regional Board were of high quality and relevant. Board members were fully engaged. A common thread was collaboration and bringing all parties to the table. Learning from each other is motivating and powerful,” stated Brian Carruthers. "Those regions provide a range of experience that we can learn from: the RDN has a true region-wide service function; and Comox Valley has a watershed-based service."
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is partnering with Forester University to share, via webinar, the innovation and experience that has resulted in the whole-system, water balance approach that is the hydrologic modelling foundation for 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management'. “We will explore how application of the Water Balance Methodology provides an effective way to assess potential impacts resulting from urban development, by allowing a modeller to accurately mimic streamflow and duration in urban infrastructure design," states Jim Dumont. Over the next 3 years, the May 2nd webinar will be readily accessible as a webcast. The net effect will be to expand the reach of the Partnership to inform and educate land and water practitioners about the benefits of a whole-system, water balance approach.
"Use of the Water Balance family of methods and tools will help local governments bring state-of-the-art hydrology into engineering standard practice,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “Our objective is to make it easy for local governments to establish, require and implement Water Balance performance targets. The methods and tools exist. It is a matter of enhancing them to support EAP (Ecological Accounting Protocol) plus expand their use. For example, the Online Watershed Assessment Tool is a means to an end: restore watershed hydrology and re-set the ecological baseline. To influence standards of practice, however, we must first open minds. The Online Watershed Assessment Tool will help us open the minds of technically advanced modellers."
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A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
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