Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

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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. “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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Revolutionary new bottom-up approach would transform the way we assess and manage our water resources

“The detail revealed by the Systems Framework underpins the Natural Capital approach which incorporates ecosystems into resilience evaluation,” stated Peter Coombes. “In fact, the Systems Framework was developed out of the systems thinking at the root of the Natural Capital concept. The power and accuracy of the systems analysis has been dramatically increased by our bottom-up methods, and also by our use of discoveries from molecular sciences (around DNA processes) and economic decision theory.”

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Storm Cunningham coined the term “Restorative Development” in his 2002 book, “The Restoration Economy”

“For the past 20 years, the focus of my work has been on bringing places back to life. I am always looking for commonalities – the factors that are present in the successes, or missing in the failures. Some issues seem to be fairly universal. Water is one them. The universality of water is apparent in the way that people renew their water, repurpose their waterfront, or reconnect to the water.”Water is a kind of magic revitalizer,” stated Storm Cunningham.

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Benefits of Inter-Regional Collaboration: “Peer-based learning is motivating and powerful,” stated Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Office, Cowichan Valley Regional District

In April 2017, 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,” stated Brian Carruthers. A year later, options for a potential establishment bylaw were presented to Board members.

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REGISTER WHILE YOU CAN: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future on Vancouver Island (April 11-12)

Adapting to climate change requires commmunity empowerment and stewardship sector partnerships with local government. “Within our growing urban areas, as our community becomes more diverse, being able to reconnect through nature offers the chance to reconnect with each other. By working to restore our urban watercourses, new and old neighbours are building connections between our natural spaces that will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship in future,” stated Rob Lawrance.

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Moving Towards Healthy Watersheds: Local government champions on Vancouver Island share the proverbial wheel, rather than reinventing it

Jody Watson, Nancy Gothard and Julie Pisani are examples of local government partners on Vancouver Island who bring strong enthusiasm and professional skill to fostering collaborative relationships for leveraged outcomes in their work in public education, local data collection, and policy improvements, to promote watershed health in their respective regions. “We each consider it a success when we can achieve more outputs with fewer inputs, and have committed to continue to adopt a sharing approach to their work,” states Nancy Gothard.

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“A perception that nothing else works is a result of not counting the full costs or impacts of sole reliance on centralised solutions,” wrote Dr. Peter Coombes, Australian water champion

“The editor of Australia’s most respected economic and business newspaper, the Financial Review, has questioned the wisdom of the arguments for sole reliance on large scale centralised water infrastructure, in particular desalination. This process motivated an article about competition across scales. This has resulted in a range of actions, including collaboration with our key federal regulator and discussions with a range of government leaders”, wrote Peter Coombes. “The economic efficiency of Australia’s centralised water utilities is rapidly declining – and consumers are paying for it. The political drivers of this market failure are as much to blame as the economic drivers. State bureaucracies own the water monopolies, oversee the regulators, recommend executive appointments and decide membership of consultant panels.”

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ON APRIL 11-12: Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (Field Trip, Public Lecture & Symposium in Nanaimo)

“Community members caring for waterways are the key to making a difference in restoring naturally functioning watersheds over time,” says Zo Ann Morten. She points out that the Salmonid Enhancement Program is active in communities across BC and works with up to 30,000 volunteer stewards. “The stewardship community can work with local governments to inform the broader community. We can open eyes and minds. We can open doors so that together we can make the changes necessary to achieve a vision for a watershed.”

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WEBINAR (March 8): An opportunity to learn about innovation in public engagement in the Ottawa River watershed

“PlaceSpeak is designed for how Canadians behave in a digital age. Individuals are in the driver’s seat, deciding how they want to participate, on what topics, and how often they wish to be notified about opportunities to provide input,”stated Marina Steffensen. “This platform will allow us to break down the feedback received, resulting in a more nuanced and meaningful understanding of how participants use and interact with the Ottawa River watershed across diverse communities.”

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