Look for Green Infrastructure Opportunities: Ask ‘what I can do for the watershed?’



Note to Readers:

During the November-December 2010 period, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia released a 5-part series that is designed to inform local governments and others about a 'course correction' for Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs). The series describes:

  • what ISMPs are;
  • how local governments can do more with less; and
  • how local governments can ensure ISMPs are outcome-oriented.

Story #2 explains why ‘designing with nature’ is key to climate change adaptation; and identifies what municipalities will need to do to protect or restore stream health.


Planning framework for integrated plans

Planning Framework

If one goes back 10 years, there was a void of policy and legislation vis-à-vis green infrastructure. This led British Columbia down an educational path as the logical alternative to a prescriptive approach.

It has taken patience and consistent messaging over the past decade to incrementally build consensus, facilitate a culture change, and start implementing a new way of doing business.

The case study experience introduced in Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia shows that a new land ethic is taking root in BC. Local governments have the tools and case study experience to ‘design with nature’. BC is now at a tipping point.


Focus on Values and Actions

Lessons learned by those who have done it can help those who want to ensure that pending and/or future settlement change (development) is in balance with ecology.

Focus on values and actions. Keep it simple. Find a starting point that is intuitive to everyone. Ensure actions are practical and easy to implement.

Think at multiple scales. Ask ‘what can I do for the watershed?’.


Fisheries & Oceans Perspective

Corino Salomi is DFO Area Manager for the Lower Fraser Valley. His area of responsibility extends from Mount Currie to Boston Bar. This allows him to see the big picture in terms of region-wide action on the ground.

“We are seeing broad awareness and application of green infrastructure across the Corino salomi (120p) - 2010South Coast region,” states Corino. “At the same time, and keeping in mind that the objective is to maintain stream health, we can characterize the current situation as being one of missed opportunities to consistently do business differently and better on individual properties.”


An Example of Seizing an Opportunity

“That’s why, for example, it is heartening when I see pavement being cut to create a ‘bus bulge’ in the City of North Vancouver to minimize the impact of rainwater runoff on the City’s small streams. The City is doing the little things needed to create cumulative benefits over time.”

“Installing rain garden features like those on a busy street like Lonsdale takes dedication and in my opinion demonstrates the kind of leadership needed to bring about improvements in how rainwater is viewed and managed. This is an example of seizing, not missing, an opportunity.”

Lonsdale avenue rain garden


To Learn More:

To read the complete story, click on Integrated Rainwater Management Planning: Capitalize on Green Infrastructure Opportunities to ‘Design with Nature’ to download a PDF copy.

For more information on the 5-part 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.

ISMP course correction series - story#2 cover (475p)

Posted January 2011