Municipal and Regional Tools and Requirements for Protecting Wetlands in British Columbia
NOTE TO READER:
On January 29, the City of Nanaimo Service and Resource Centre, a LEED Gold building, is the venue for a Working Group Workshop to Conserve and Enhance Wetlands on Vancouver Island.
Wetland Conservation along Eastern Vancouver Island: A workshop for municipal and regional stakeholders (January 29 in Nanaimo)
The BC Wildlife Federation’s Wetlands Education Program (WEP) helps build the capacity of British Columbian citizens to determine their backyard wetland assets, and increase their community’s environmental health using this knowledge.
The BC Wildlife Federation, an active member of the Wetlands Stewardship Partnership, has brought together a team of well-known experts to share their knowledge and experience. The team will speak on topics that were identified through communications with key municipal and regional staff and lead conservation groups who are working on Vancouver Island.
“Wetlands can provide a number of benefits to society, including: flood control, water treatment, and carbon storage,” states Neil Fletcher, Chair, Wetland Stewardship Partnership of BC, and Wetlands Education Program Coordinator for the BC Wildlife Federation.
“In addition, approximately 50% of wildlife species require wetlands for part of their lifecycle, and 35% of all rare threatened or endangered species rely on wetland habitat (Wetland Stewardship Partnership, 2010). Despite their importance, wetlands on East Vancouver Island have been lost and degraded from dams, agriculture, urban development and other impacts. Unfortunately, they are still threatened as approximately 2% of natural wetlands were lost between 1995 and 2005 on East Vancouver Island (AXYS Environmental Consulting, 2005).”
“This workshop will explore relevant themes and issues to help build capacity on how we can protect and conserve wetlands and work towards healthier watersheds. Topics include legal and policy-based frameworks in BC, wetland prioritization for conservation and restoration, and stormwater management considerations with well-known experts in these fields.”
Peter Law will provide an overview of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. “Four regional districts – Capital Region, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo Region and Comox Valley – have adopted strategies that are watershed-based and establish a vision for achieving a Watershed Health Legacy. Now, emphasis is on advancing ‘implementation and integration’ through an inter-regional collaboration initiative,” states Peter Law, Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
Law & Policy
“Local governments have extensive authority to keep wetlands wet and functioning as integral parts of regional ecosystems. Through land use and regulatory power local governments can protect, restore and enhance wetland health as a key piece of the green infrastructure map,” advises Deborah Curran, UVic Hakai Professor in Environmental Law and Sustainability & Program Director, Environmental Law Centre.
“It takes some some savvy to get the biggest “bang for the buck” when protecting and restoring wetlands. Learn about how to make the best decisions on what to do — and where to do it,” emphasizes Laura Brophy, a leader in Pacific Northwest tidal wetland conservation.
Stormwater Pond and Management
“Engineers and Biologists use the term ‘wetland’ but they have very different visions in mind. We must seek to develop a common understanding in achieving the best possible solutions for all stakeholders,” adds Jim Dumont, a leading water resource and infrastructure specialist in BC.
Stormwater Ponds and Amphibians
“If you build it, aquatic species will come, including species listed as being ‘at risk’. Stormwater ponds and ditches can become ‘habitat’ for aquatic species, if we let them. This may or may not be a good thing from a management perspective. It’s important that planners and engineers know what tools and approaches to use to manage these habitats,” concludes Elke Wind, Consulting Biologist.