Goal of the Watershed-Based Approach in the City of Coquitlam: “Balance land use, drainage and the environment,” reports Melony Burton

Note to Reader:

The City of Coquitlam is the only Metro Vancouver municipality that has developed, or is currently completing, Integrated Watershed Management Plans for all its watersheds. Coquitlam experience was featured in a seminar held in September 2013. To learn more about the seminar, click here.



Watershed-Based Approach: Leading Change in Coquitlam

“Coquitlam’s Official Community Plan requires that a Watershed Plan be completed before a Neighbourhood Plan can be developed,” states Melony Burton, the City’s Watersheds & Drainage Coordinator. “This important direction guides appropriate land use in response to a watershed’s unique conditions and needs.  Using this strategy has brought our Planning, Environmental, Engineering, and Parks departments to the table. Both the process and the plan are integrated to achieve practical, cost-effective objectives which balance land use, drainage and the environment.”

“For all urban watersheds, Coquitlam is developing integrated watershed management plans (IWMP) to preserve watershed health, while also meeting community needs and facilitating growth and development. IWMP’s use a Net Environmental Benefit approach that strives to improve fish and fish habitat.”

Learn by Doing

“Over the past decade, the City of Coquitlam has learned many lessons,” continues Melony Burton. “Changing the way we do things means taking on new challenges and not always getting it right the first time. Securing political support for a watershed-based approach to community planning paved the way for development and implementation of rainwater management applications that mimic the Water Balance.”

“Over time, our Integrated Watershed Management Plans will be guided by a Monitoring and Adaptive Management Framework which will allow us to evaluate which strategies are yielding the most positive results and which need modification.”

06_Kim-Stephens_March-2013_120p“Coquitlam experience is informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative, the purpose of which is to foster collaboration among Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island local governments, so that consistent application of outcome-oriented actions will accelerate restoration and/or protection of watershed and stream health throughout the basin,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

To Learn More:

Click on Integrated Watershed Management for the complete story on the City’s website.

Click on Coquitlam Watershed Boundaries Map to download a PDF copy of the map below.