Category:

Integration with Land Use

BOWKER CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Agree on the vision. Set the targets. Provide planners with the detail necessary to guide site level decisions as opportunities arise. Then implement,” urges Jody Watson, Capital Regional District


Replacement of the old Oak Bay High School with a new facility created the opportunity for a flagship creek restoration project. Completed in 2015, this has been a catalyst for action – for example, the Bowker Creek Developers’ Guide, in collaboration with the Urban Development Institute. “Channel restoration at Oak Bay High was a true ‘watershed moment’ for the creek and the community. It is a wonderful example of how a long-term coordinated plan to restore function to a degraded watershed can happen,” stated Jody Watson.

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BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK PRIMER SERIES: “The purpose of the Primer is to connect the dots and disseminate information on the ‘science-based understanding’ that underpins the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems,” stated Peter Law, formerly with the BC Ministry of Environment, when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released the Primer on Application of Ecosystem-based Understanding in the Georgia Basin (September 2016)


“An interface is needed to translate the complex products of science into achievable goals and implementable solution for practical resource management. This interface is what we now call a science-based understanding,” stated Peter Law. “Understanding how land development impacts watershed hydrology and the functions of aquatic ecosystems provides a solid basis for making decisions to guide action where and when it is most needed. This understanding will help multiple audiences ask the right questions so that communities make informed decisions.”

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BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK PRIMER SERIES: “The Primer is a ‘bridging document’ – it illustrates how to seamlessly integrate the legal and administrative parts of land development,” stated Tim Pringle when the Primer on Land Development Process in BC was released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability (September 2013)


“While much attention is given to the technical and legal aspects of the Land Development Process, we are not aware of anyone who has addressed administration. At the heart of the Primer, then, is the discussion at the end of Section 6 about Administrative Process Requirements. This piece of the puzzle is the key to implementation of effective rainwater management systems on private property,” stated Tim Pringle. “The Primer will assist practitioners whose work addresses land subdivision concerns.”

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Capturing LA’s ‘Liquid Gold:’ The County’s Bold Plan for Replicating the Water Balance


The expansive undertaking would build on top of an existing network designed to capture and store groundwater. The initiative also seeks to enhance regional cooperation between the over 200 local governments and agencies who oversee water resources throughout the County. “When you look at what we are importing into L.A. County, it’s about 60 percent of our local supply,” said Mark Pestrella.

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FLASHBACK TO 2016: “By contrasting two watersheds, we were aiming to demonstrate that there is still time to get it right on the less developed watershed,” said Nancy Gothard, City of Courtenay Environmental Planner


We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of those who are leading in their communities. Local government champions on the east coast of Vancouver Island are sharing and learning from each other through inter-regional collaboration. “We wanted to tell a story of the continuum of watershed health, and for people to understand the role that riparian cover plays,” stated Nancy Gothard.

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Sponge City: Solutions for China’s Thirsty and Flooded Cities


In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a new way to think about flooding and drought. At China’s Central Government Conference on Urbanization, he announced that cities should act “like sponges.” This proclamation came with substantial funding to experiment with ways cities can absorb precipitation. It also injected a new term into the global urban design vocabulary.

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IMAGINE: Once we know what we want our watersheds and neighbourhoods to look like, the next step is to decide what the tools are that will get us there


The Green Infrastructure Guide is an invaluable reference document for those who embrace a ‘design with nature’ philosophy. “All of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. Each party in the process has a responsibility. There are solutions to be found if all parties in the development process simply talk to each other about how they could all work together more effectively, using law reform or other process changes as tools,” wrote Susan Rutherford.

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WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER: To Protect Agricultural Lowlands, Restore Watershed Hydrology in the Uplands


In British Columbia, agricultural development is often situated in the lowlands, with urban development mostly in the uplands. “Without compliance with the drainage standards, the viability of agriculture and local food supply is potentially at risk. The criteria are essential in protecting crops (food on the table) from damage caused by excessive durations of flooding and saturation of roots. If crops are at risk, then so is the sustainability of a region,” stated Jim Dumont.

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Pittsburgh's Green & Clean Plan: "This is a COMPREHENSIVE approach to address the root of the problem and not just one of the problems," stated Mayor Bill Peduto


“The draft City-Wide Green First Plan will guide where green infrastructure will be installed to achieve the most cost-effective and beneficial results to the residents of Pittsburgh,” stated Mayor Bill Peduto. “The draft plan analyzed 13,700 acres in the City and proposes to manage runoff from 1,835 acres with green infrastructure over the next twenty years. “Going ‘Green First’ means improving the resiliency of our communities to disaster during extreme weather.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: At a meeting of the Urban Development Institute in Victoria, Kim Stephens reviewed the science-based breakthrough in understanding that led to development of the Water Balance Model (March 2008)


“Urban land use has been degrading the natural environment for more than 100 years. Sit on that for a while. 100 years, perhaps more. Holy smokes,” wrote Marie Savage. “So what’s all this talk about developers and builders, the ultimate urban land users, protecting watersheds? It’s true. All it took was a twist and a twirl and the connection between runoff, sewers, and the resulting stress on natural systems came out of the pipework.”

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