Archive:

2017

Leading Change in Seattle: How Green Stormwater Infrastructure Can Help Urban Neighborhoods Thrive


City as Platform is more than a tour, and more than just a conference session—it is a hands-on, collaborative learning experience in the field. First debuted at CNU 24 in Detroit, it made an encore appearance at CNU 25 in Seattle and featured the Belltown neighbourhood. It is an ideal laboratory, said Isabelle Giasson, for expanding GSI (Green Stormwater Infrastructure) to meet multiple community outcomes.

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ARTICLE: “The Ecological Accounting Protocol for valuing watersheds as infrastructure assets is the lynch-pin for driving change. EAP deals with the monetary value of renewable services provided by natural assets,” stated Kim Stephens (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2017)


“Under the EAP framework, the reference to natural assets means ecosystems of watersheds. The EAP methodology focuses on drainage and water balance services because this is of direct relevance to local government decision-making. The vision for EAP is that adoption of the guiding philosophy and approach would contribute significantly overall to local government plans for asset management, the sustainability of watershed natural assets, as well as administrative and financial capacity of local government,” stated Kim Stephens.

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Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: “Projected changes in land use and climate have nearly equivalent effects on flooding,” says Chris Jensen


“The effects that climate change may have on flood hazard is a concern for many local governments and citizens in British Columbia. Planning for future changes in precipitation is important, but it should not overshadow the significance that day-to-day development has on stream flows,” stated Chris Jensen. “Local governments may not be able to change future storm events, but they can affect how land is developed and redeveloped.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2007: Seminar on how to implement ‘green solutions’ that actually protect stream health – “Beyond the Guidebook Initiative” formally launched by the British Columbia Green Infrastructure Partnership at event held in Vancouver; attracted an audience from regions across the province


“The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in BC being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Minister of Environment Barry Penner in 2007. “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to move beyond rainwater management to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management.”

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The Green Infrastructure Guide: Issues, Implementation Strategies and Success Stories


The Green Infrastructure Guide is an invaluable reference document for those who embrace a ‘design with nature’ philosophy. “The Guide’s purpose is to encourage successful designs, by reporting on what the legal and policy strategies are, what some of the implementation hurdles (and solutions) have been, and how they have been effective in achieving sustainability goals,” wrote Susan Rutherford.

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WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – Reduce risk, reduce financial liability by implementing the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach (watch the webcast)


“We were delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology, via a Forester University webcast,” stated Emily Shine. “At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we described Water Balance Methodology as a webinar that could not be missed.”

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What is “Green Infrastructure”? – Looking back to understand the origin, meaning and use of the term in British Columbia


“Two complementary strategies can ‘green’ a community and its infrastructure: first, preserving as much as possible of the natural green infrastructure; and secondly, promoting designs that soften the footprint of development,” wrote Susan Rutherford. “Green infrastructure design is engineering design that takes a ‘design with nature’ approach, to both mitigate the potential impacts of existing and future development and growth and to provide valuable services.”

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Celebrating Green Infastructure in the Metro Vancouver Region: In 2005, the Green Infrastructure Partnership convened a Consultation Workshop that resulted in the “Showcasing Innovation Series”


“The 2006 Showcasing Innovation Series was a provincial pilot. When we talked to practitioners in local government, it doesn’t matter what the region, the message was the same…they tell us that they are too busy to communicate with their colleagues in neighbouring municipalities. Yet the irony is that there is much to learn by sharing information with each other. At the end of the day, it seems that it takes a third party to bring people together,” stated Paul Ham.

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FLASHBACK TO 2004: Consultation Workshop on “Model Subdivision Bylaw & Green Infrastructure Standards” was the launch event for the Green Infrastructure Partnership


“The primary purpose of the consultation was to explore the diversity of issues and difficulties inherent in defining and implementing a green infrastructure approach to land development. The consultation resulted in identification of 17 recommendations in five theme areas,” reported Chuck Gale. “An over-arching theme that emerged from the discussion revolves around the need to provide the bridge between those who make the decisions and those who implement the decisions.”

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MIMIC THE WATER BALANCE: Flashback to 2013 – the United States can learn from British Columbia experience, concluded Paul Crabtree, leader of the US-based Rainwater in Context Initiative


“The Canadians do appear to be ahead of the US in this field because the US EPA took a really bad approach to LID that was based on the premise that enforcing every site to the same standard would somehow fix the problems of water quality in the US,” commented Paul Crabtree. “The USA EPA approach has done some good, but has several crippling drawbacks.”

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