Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia: ‘ISMP Course Correction Series’

Note to Readers:

ISMP is the acronym for Integrated Stormwater Management Plan. Use of the ISMP term is unique to British Columbia. When the Province released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in 2002, the ISMP term gained widespread acceptance to describe a comprehensive approach to watershed-based planning in an urban context.


Paradigm-Shift to Landscape-Based Rainwater Management

“When the ISMP approach was introduced a decade ago, it reflected a significant paradigm-shift in community values. The implicit RobertHicks_2009_120pgoal was to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with ecology – that is, accommodate development while protecting property and aquatic habitat. A decade later, climate change has become an integral part of the equation,” noted Robert Hicks, Senior Engineer with Metro Vancouver, when he reflected on the genesis of ISMPs. He has played a key role in pioneering development of the ISMP approach.

Beyond the Guidebook 2010

During the November-December 2010 period, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia is releasing a series of five articles that are designed to inform local governments and others about:

  • the paradigm-shift to landscape-based ‘RAINwater’ from pipe-and-convey ‘STORMwater’, and
  • what this means for Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs).

This series is adapted from case study experience presented in Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia, released in June.This guidance document sets the stage for an ‘ISMP Course Correction’.

ISMP Course Correction Series

“The ‘course correction’ starts with characterizing truly integrated plans as ‘IRMPs’ (Integrated RAINwater Management Plans). A holistic IRMP is a potentially powerful tool to achieve a vision for ‘green’ infrastructure, one that: protects stream health, fish habitat and fish; and anticipates climate change,” stated Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan.

Kim-Stephens_120p_Dec2009“The purpose in publishing the ‘ISMP Course Correction Series’ is to draw attention to lessons learned and insights gained by those local government leaders who have ISMP and related experience.”

“The sharing of experience will help stretch limited resources so that local governments can ‘do more with less’ in applying and benefiting from a ‘regional team approach’.”

To Learn More:

To access and download PDF copies of the five stories in ‘ISMP Course Correction Series’, click on Water Bucket publishes excerpts from “Beyond the Guidebook 2010” about why and how to re-focus ISMPs on outcomes — Outcome-oriented planning is a problem-solving PROCESS. It is not a procedure. It is not a matter of applying a regulation or a checklist. Participants have to be committed to the outcome.