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Convening for Action in Lower Mainland

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: “This unique watershed plan recognizes the linkages between healthy ecosystems and healthy people,” stressed Craig Orr


Aligned by a common vision of a healthy watershed, the Roundtable began developing the watershed plan following an adaptive management model known as the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. “Integrating the important linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being into decision making is a critical step in planning for watershed health. The foundations for this have been woven into the fabric of the watershed plan,” stated Craig Orr.

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: Nature in BC’s Lower Mainland offers $5.4 billion annually in economic benefits, concludes report by Suzuki Foundation


“As biological creatures, we depend on natural capital and its ecosystem services to sustain the health and well-being of our families and communities. But these benefits are often taken for granted by decision-makers on land-use issues, such as municipal zoning, because we have such a poor understanding of what they are and what they’re truly worth,” stated Dr. Faisal Moola, Science Director of the Suzuki Foundation.

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FLASHBACK TO 2012: Still Creek – rebirth of an urban stream in Metro Vancouver (video)


Still Creek is a highly urbanized watershed with a population of over 100,000 residents, and drains from the City of Vancouver into the City of Burnaby. “To see salmon return to Still Creek after so many decades has been incredibly exciting, especially given that just a few decades ago, this stream was widely viewed as one of Canada’s most polluted waterways. Quite simply, the events that have unfolded on Still Creek highlight the fact that we should never give up on any river,” states Mark Angelo.

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PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks – What Can Streamkeepers Do? (March 18 in North Vancouver)


“The ultimate objective of the workshop is to support fish populations – good habitat is a key element and sustainable watersheds are part of the big picture,” states Glen Parker. “Public awareness and support is essential to achieving this objective. So we need to draw community attention to the tangible things that all residents can do to support sustainable watersheds. Their cumulative beneficial actions will lead to good habitat and fish will thrive.”

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2015 Water Balance Forum: Agenda Overview – “The town-hall approach to audience interaction at the start primed the group for the technical content,” stated Ted van der Gulik


The agenda for the half-day forum was structured in four parts. “The forum program was a mix of storytelling, showcasing, sharing and teaching so that we would achieve the learning outcomes,” reports Ted van der Guilik. “Our objective in the first two segments was to engage and energize our audience. For this reason, we conducted them as town-hall sharing in order to prime everyone for the teachable moment in segment #3.”

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2015 Water Balance Forum: “By the end of the forum, we hope you will be inspired by what you have learned,” stated Kim Stephens when kicking off the storytelling segment of the day (YouTube Video)


“We are experiencing wetter, warmer winters and longer, drier summers,” stated Kim Stephens. “BC dodged a bullet during the 2015 drought – that leads us to focus on how the decisions those in local government make on a daily basis impact on the water balance. This perspective frames the bigger picture and sets the stage for drilling down into the details of the Water Balance Methodology.”

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2015 Water Balance Forum: “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see,” stated Sir Winston Churchill – famous quotable quote provides relevant historical analogy for implementing a water balance approach to restore a desired watershed condition (YouTube Video)


The Winston Churchill quote provided a way to change the pace, capture audience attention and set the stage for the balance of the ‘look back to look ahead’ theme that characterized the storytelling in the opening segment of the forum. If there is a living memory of the way things were, then it should be possible to implement standards of practice that would replicate and restore a desired watershed condition.

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2015 Water Balance Forum: Water Balance Express for Landowners integrates & balances 3 watershed targets (YouTube Video) – “The volume-based approach being implemented in British Columbia picks up the baton that Dr. Ray Linsley started more than a generation ago,” wrote Dr. Thomas Debo in an article published in 2003


“Getting to this point has involved the re-thinking of traditional approaches to urban hydrology and computer modelling,” wrote Tom Debo, a former colleague and friend of Ray Linsley. “Drainage engineers have traditionally thought in terms of flow rates, not volumes. In dealing with urban hydrology, we need to focus on how much rainfall volume has fallen, how we are going to capture it, and what we are going to do with it.”

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2015 Water Balance Forum: “Mimic stream flow and duration to limit stream erosion, prevent flooding and improve water quality,” stated Jim Dumont when explaining how to apply the Water Balance Methodology (step-by-step YouTube Videos)


“The Water Balance Methodology is based upon watershed and stream function and operation. Understanding how precipitation makes its way to the stream allow us to assess how a watershed and stream operates and to analytically demonstrate impacts of development and the effectiveness of any mitigation works,” states Jim Dumont.

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