“Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed,” states Laura Maclean. “The Guidebook approach is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events. The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management.”
“Have a look at some of the Water Balance Model slideshow presentations that have been made to industry and government groups starting in 2001. This includes some of the early presentations on the Water Balance Methodology that helped pave the way for the paradigm-shift from 'peak flow thinking' to 'volume-based thinking'. The many presentations created awareness and influenced expectations,” stated Ted van der Gulik.
FLASHBACK TO 2003 TESTIMONIAL: “In the United States, too often we see a cookie-cutter approach when guidebooks and manuals are replicated across the country. Not so with the British Columbia Guidebook – it is unique and it is innovative,” stated Tom Schueler, founder and former Executive Director of the Center for Urban Watershed Protection, one of the best known nonprofit organizations in the United States dedicated to research and education on watersheds
In 2002, British Columbia launched a science-based approach to stormwater management with publication of its provincial Guidebook. “I really like what Kim Stephens and his British Columbia team did in developing the water balance methodology, and I told him that when he pinch-hit for me in delivering a pre-conference workshop in Chicago in February 2003. That was shortly after the Guidebook was published,” stated Tom Schueler, author of widely used references, including The Small Watershed Restoration Manual Series.
A VIEW FROM OUTSIDE BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Bound by geography, invested in salmon protection, and connected to the natural environment, the Metro Vancouver region has spent time fostering new green infrastructure for rainwater management,” stated Charles Axelesson, PhD candidate at the University of Venice, when reflecting on readings and discussions with people in the Metro Vancouver region
“There is an openness and not only an admission but the acceptance that the existing green policies and practices they have now, particularly for replicating natural flow patterns in urban streams, may not hold all the answers. Even the natural world is sometimes overwhelmed by rainfall. Instead, there is a direct discussion on how to maximize greener solutions but support them with our existing infrastructure and knowledge base. This is vital for climate change adaptations as we need to plan for 50 to100 years into the future while simultaneously solving the problems of tomorrow,” stated Charles Axelsson.
RESTORE THE BALANCE IN THE WATER BALANCE: “Sponge Cities”- A catchy way to describe the goal in restoring the capacity of the urban landscape to absorb water, release it naturally, and soften the impacts of floods and droughts!
“Extreme weather, a changing climate, and impervious streets and roads have combined to create an urban disaster. All of this has seen cities begin to re-imagine their relationship with water. Rather than just designing systems that allow the water to drain away slowly and stably, they want to harvest and reuse it. This approach to urban design – where water is held in place to be called-upon when needed – is known as the ‘sponge city’, and it is rapidly growing in popularity,” stated Laurie Winkless.
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “Through the building blocks approach that has defined the EAP program, we have reached a point where a number of hydra-like concepts have been tamed to become the Riparian Deficit,” stated Tim Pringle (August 2021)
“It took a building blocks process to bridge from the starting point — how EAP looks at the ‘stream as a whole-system’ (rather than as an amorphous ‘natural asset’) — to reach the destination, which is a methodology plus meaningful metrics for measuring the Riparian Deficit, the environmental equivalent of the Infrastructure Liability (Deficit) for constructed assets; and establishing budgets for Maintenance and Management,” stated Tim Pringle.
INTEGRATING NATURE INTO INFRASTRUCTURE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Every significant innovation results from a magical combination of timing, preparation and luck. So true for the creation of a new online course on Green Infrastructure,” stated Dr. Joanna Ashworth, co-developer of the self-directed online course on Green Infrastructure Policy, Design and Practice launched by Simon Fraser University in 2021
“Whether it’s the community coming together to build rain gardens or adopt catch basins, dedicated volunteer streamkeepers who put in countless hours restoring and protecting important salmon habitat, or government decision-makers and employees enacting policies, everyone has a role to play in advancing Green Infrastructure implementation. There’s more work to be done as we collectively travel along a path to find upstream, proactive solutions to climate change impacts,” stated Joanna Ashworth..
INTEGRATING NATURAL ASSETS INTO INFRASTRUCTURE ON BC’S SUNSHINE COAST: “We wondered why are we clearing a forest to put in infrastructure to manage drainage runoff, when we know the forest can provide that service,” stated Michael Wall, Manager of Asset Management & Strategic Initiatives, qathet Regional District
The landfill closure plan revolved around site drainage and control of runoff discharging to a salmon stream. The essence of the story is that the qathet Regional District rejected an engineered solution in favour of a natural asset solution. Doing business differently saved $700,000 which was 80% 0f the original capital budget. “During construction, we experienced a few 50mm rain events that we had to manage with fire pumps that pumped into the forest, dispersing through sprinklers. Amazingly though, we could see there was no pooling or surface movement. It was our first time seeing in real time what the forest could manage,” stated Michael Wall.
IMPLEMENTATION OF NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS FOR CAPTURING RAIN WHERE IT FALLS: “There are lots of great efforts being made (in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia). But there’s a big problem. They’re not being uniformly made,” stated Andrea McDonald, author of Creating Safe Cities for Salmon (May 2021)
“The study showcases the many efforts being made across the region to develop cities more sustainably with wild salmon populations in mind. However, my research also demonstrates how the implementation of these nature-based solutions to protect local salmon populations has been patchy, challenging, and lengthy due to inadequate statutory foundations and enforcement, lack of public support and understanding, and limited educational opportunities and training programs,” stated Andrea McDonald.
CITY OF VANCOUVER’S RAIN CITY STRATEGY: “We know how to design it (green infrastructure). What we’re aimed at now is mainstreaming it,” stated Melina Scholefield, the City of Vancouver’s manager of green infrastructure implementation
“Though the City of Vancouver has an over 20-year history installing green infrastructure, until 2018, it was rarely done systematically and did not use geotechnical studies to understand how fast water could penetrate the ground underfoot. The good news is we get to learn from our peers. We get to leapfrog a bit. Some of the biggest hurdles have been simple regulations grandfathered in from another era. Meanwhile, direction from Metro Vancouver, and ultimately the province, is up in the air as the regional body updates its Regional Liquid Waste Management Plan,” said Melina Scholefield.
APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS (EAP) TO MILLSTONE RIVER IN NANAIMO REGION: “Accounting for our region’s natural assets is part of responsible asset management that includes ecological systems as well as physical infrastructure. This report has given the RDN, as well as the City of Nanaimo, further insight as we develop our existing framework for the protection and enhancement of our important natural features in our communities, including stream corridors,” stated Chair Tyler Brown when he commented on how the EAP outcomes would inform the RDN’s Corporate Asset Management Planning (April 2021)
The Millstone project provided the RDN, the City of Nanaimo and local stewardship group Island Waters Fly Fishers with the opportunity to get a real measure that accounts for the value and worth of the Millstone River stream corridor in asset management planning. The Millstone River EAP project has provided the RDN with a path forward so that it could account for and operationalize maintenance and management of stream corridor systems across the region. This would be done under the umbrella of its Corporate Asset Management Plan. This would be a BC-first.
BE GUIDED BY A VISION FOR INTER-GENERATIONAL COLLABORATION: “Looking through an inter-generational lens, the term permaculture is what resonates with me. It has three guiding principles. The first is care of land. It is foundational because the other two build on it. The second principle is care of people, and the third is care of the process,” stated Director Ben Geselbracht, Regional District of Nanaimo
“When I think about sustaining the watershed protection legacy from one Board to the next, it is about viewing it within a larger vision for creating sustainable human settlement. When our perspective is the watershed, water is fundamentally what keeps everything moving. The watershed is the foundational scale of consideration, and therefore we must base our design of human settlements upon it. A long-term and shared community vision is necessary to integrate all the care of land considerations such that Design With Nature is on the tip of everyone’s tongue,” stated Ben Geselbracht.