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British Columbia Guidance Documents

LAND DEVELOPMENT AND WATERSHED PROTECTION CAN BE COMPATIBLE: “Circa 2000, the Regional District of Nanaimo was the partner region for B.C.’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook. The RDN undertook a case study demonstration to test a watershed-based approach to land planning. The process planted seeds. These ultimately bore fruit with the 2008 referendum which created the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Service,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability (March 2022)


“Viewed through a multi-decadal lens, three distinct eras provide structure for telling the story of the RDN journey and DWWP evolution. First, the period from 2000 through 2008 is bracketed by the case study process for the Guidebook and the successful referendum. After that, DWWP Action Plan 1.0 covers the ten years from 2009 through 2019. Currently underway is DWWP Action Plan 2.0 for the period 2020 through 2030. The rainwater management emphasis closes the loop on the whole-system, water balance approach that was initiated 20 years ago with the Guidebook,” stated Kim Stephens.

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CREATING A CULTURE FOR URBAN WATERSHED RESTORATION: Flashback to rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010 which provided guidance for a regional team approach founded on shared responsibility – “A good idea is immediate, but preparation for implementation can take 5 to 10 years. Change will then take place quickly,” stated Glen Brown at the 2010 Annual Convention of BC Municipalities


“In 2005, we said this would be a different kind of guidebook. We said that the Guidebook would be the ‘telling of the stories’ of how change is being implemented on-the-ground in BC. Before the chapters could be written, however, the regional case studies had to run their course. Five years later, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is the story of how we got to here and where we are going next. If one goes back 10 years, there was a void of policy and legislation. This led us down an educational path as the logical alternative. We took the Stormwater Planning Guidebook, which is a document released in 2002, and we moved it to implementation,” stated Glen Brown.

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BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK SERIES: “Looking ahead to 2022, the Partnership will showcase parallel streams of effort by our local government partners in five sub-regions over the past two decades when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Stormwater Planning Guidebook. This is a milestone in a science-based approach,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability


“Looking back, 2021 is an extraordinary year of accomplishment for the Partnership. We continued to elevate our game and in so doing demonstrated what is possible. We provided leadership for a range of initiatives of provincial importance. Successes were achieved through the power of collaborative leadership. The process involves bringing the right people together in constructive ways with good information, such that they create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of their organizations and communities,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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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.

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FLASHBACK TO THE ROLLOUT OF BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2010: “A key component of managing for storms is redesigning our approach to handling the more frequent, lighter rainfall events,” Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, at the last of five regional events that showcased the rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010 (From Rain to Resource Workshop, Kelowna, October 2010)


“Extreme weather patterns, including higher rainfall intensities and more frequent flooding, are one of the projected outcomes of climate change. Managing stormwater effectively will be a critical climate change adaptation tool. Increased development and increased storm intensity from climate change are increasing peak flows and altering the rules of the game. We can’t engineer away our problems fast enough, and have to look at other, lower impact solutions,” stated Anna Warwick Sears.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008 / BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK: “The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that resulted in British Columbia being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Kim Stephens, series team leader, at Seminar 1 in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series (YouTube Video)


“The evolution of planning for water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure achieved a milestone with release of Beyond the Guidebook in 2007. The goal? Help local governments achieve desired urban stream health and environmental protection outcomes at a watershed scale. In early 2008, the provincial government’s Speech from the Throne provided a timely impetus for branding Beyond the Guidebook as The New Business As Usual and rolling it out through the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Series,” stated Kim Stephens.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2015: “Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (released November 2015)


“Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is a milestone accomplishment, and was made possible with provincial funding assistance. The Ministry of Environment acknowledges that the Partnership for Water Sustainability is also adding depth to the Guidebook through the Beyond the Guidebook Report Series and the Beyond the Guidebook Primer Series. The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative,” stated Wes Shoemaker, Deputy Minister.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2010: “Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia” (released June 2010)


“There are a lot of times when we in local government like to blame or put on senior governments the responsibility to provide the framework for doing something, but there are things that we in local government can do. We need to choose to be enabled. So, what we mean by shared responsibility is that everyone has a role, and everyone can act – all levels of government, developers, regulators, bureaucrats, consultants, planners, engineers – we all have a role,” stated Ray Fung.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2007: “Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia” (released June 2007)


“British Columbia’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook, released in 2002, recognized that water volume is something over which local government has control through its infrastructure servicing policies, practices and standards. Through implementation of ‘green infrastructure’ practices, the desired outcome in going Beyond the Guidebook is to apply what we have learned at the site scale over the past five years – so that we can truly protect and/or restore stream health in urban watersheds,” stated Paul Ham.

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FLASHBACK TO 2007: “The purpose of the ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ initiative is to help local governments and the development community establish what level of rainwater runoff volume reduction makes sense at the site, catchment and watershed scales,” stated Corino Salomi, Area Manager, Department of Fisheries & Oceans


“It helps to look back to understand how we got to here. In 2000, DFO released Urban Stormwater Guidelines and Best Management Practices for Protection of Fish and Fish Habitat. That document set a direction. It got practitioners thinking about how to capture rainfall in order to reduce runoff volume and protect water quality. By 2007, however, we had concerns about how the document was being interpreted and applied. ‘Beyond the Guidebook 2007’ represented the initial course correction,” stated Corinio Salomi.

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