Wetlands, Not Wastelands: Workshop for Metro Vancouver Municipalities showcased “Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC”

Note to Reader:

In November 2013, the BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands Program organized a one-day workshop titled “Wetlands, Not Wastelands”The workshop aimed to strengthen the Metro Vancouver region’s capacity to secure green infrastructure – promoting human health and nature.

Held at the Stanley Park Pavilion, the workshop included presentations and discussions on ways to integrate wetland conservation at a municipal and regional level with a variety of tools from policy to built-infrastructure. A presentation by Kim Stephens introduced the elements of the Water Sustainability Action Plan and connected dots between regulatory requirements and actions on the ground. 


Wetlands, Not Waste Lands

“Context for the Wetland Workshop was provided by the vision for a Metro Vancouver Regional Green Infrastructure Network,” states Neil Fletcher, Chair, Wetland Stewardship Partnership of BC, and Wetlands Education Program Coordinator for the BC Wildlife Federation. “This has been identified as one of four areas of opportunity in the region’s Ecological Health Action Plan. Managing the lands in the Green Infrastructure Network to ensure that they continue to provide ecosystem services that we depend on is important.”
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“The Wetland Workshop targeted key agencies involved in wetland conservation. To this end, the workshop program was designed to inform and educate planners, engineers and other municipal / regional district staff involved in urban development policy and permitting, Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs), wetland mapping projects and/or watershed planning.”

“Wetlands are the kidneys of the earth. We are challenging local government by posing this question: Is your municipality doing enough to prevent downstream impacts from rainwater runoff while maintaining healthy aquatic habitat?

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“Watershed Blueprints will help municipalities integrate and better deliver on regulatory requirements,” says Kim Stephens

06_Kim-Stephens_March-2013_120p“Every municipality in Metro Vancouver has to manage the raindrops that fall on it. The regulatory driver is the Environmental Management Act,” explains Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “A decade ago, British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in North America to adopt the ‘Water Balance Methodology’ when the Province released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. Guidebook direction is ‘mimic the balance’ when land is developed.”

“When the land surface is developed and hardened, below-ground flow paths to streams are eliminated. This has both financial liability and environmental sustainability consequences. When there is too much water during fall and winter wet-weather periods, the result is erosion, instability and movement of gravel and contaminants. When there is too little water during summer dry-weather periods, creeks go dry and fish will not survive.”

“Metro Vancouver municipalities are required to develop and implement watershed-based plans. A watershed blueprint helps to create a picture of how to achieve a desired future condition. If communities reduce their ‘water footprint’, and if local government actions ensure the integrity of groundwater flow, they can then protect watershed and stream health. This is a reason for conserving wetlands.”

To Learn More:

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Wetlands Conservation in a Watershed Health Context: Watershed Blueprints Will Help Municipalities Integrate and Better Deliver on Regulatory Requirements.

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