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Metro Vancouver Region

THE SECOND DECADE OF DELTA’S RAIN GARDEN PROGRAM: “The close collaboration between the City of Delta, the Streamkeepers, other volunteers and the Delta School District is what has allowed the rain garden program to persist for 15 years. I look forward to encouraging these types of projects in the years to come,” stated Mayor George Harvie (June 2020)


The City of Delta’s rain garden program evolved gradually, in the manner of any good garden — from early conversations in 1999, through the first rain garden in 2006, to the 29 school and community rain gardens in 2019. “The City has a long history of working closely with the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers on projects that improve watershed conditions. One example of this is the highly successful rain garden program, which has not only increased stormwater infiltration in our urban areas but has also created beautiful amenities in the community,” stated Mayor George Harvie.

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BUILDING RAIN GARDENS IN THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY ERA: “We hope that as the broader community learns about the North Shore Rain Garden Project, this awareness will encourage homeowners to take an active role and see the potential for rain gardens in their own backyards,” stated Dr. Joanna Ashworth, Project Director


“Community engagement and green infrastructure are powerful partners for building climate resiliency. Our vision is to scale up this work and encourage our partners to embrace this winning partnership as significant levers for change,” stated Dr. Joanna Ashworth. “Municipalities often miss the opportunity to involve their communities in the design, location selection, and construction of the rain gardens. This involvement also provides important opportunities to educate and engage the public in stewarding this remarkable green technology.”

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LEADING CHANGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Rainwater design FIRST ….then roads and buildings,” states Professor Daniel Roehr, head of the Greenskins Lab


Founded by Daniel Roehr in 2007, the ‘greenskins lab’ is a research group at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The lab disseminates information on urban design retrofits and new approaches that improve the ecological functions of public open spaces. “Designers need easy tools when they do their first sketches. Our tool helps at the beginning of the design phase at all scales – region to garden,” stated Daniel Roehr.

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VIDEO: Langley Township has engineered several thriving ecosystems for its 1600 kilometres of watercourses


A culvert upgrade was needed where Yorkson Creek passes under 86 Avenue but instead of the usual round shape, the replacement in 2016 was square. “The previous narrow culvert caused water to rush through and made it difficult for fish to swim through.  The new culvert has angled baffles on the bottom side which creates a meandering watercourse,” explained Justin St. Andrassy. “We installed pool and ripple sequences,  habitat features, large woody debris, and we planted the entire restoration zone with native plantings over several years.”

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VIDEO: West Vancouver’s McDonald Creek Gets a Fish-Friendly Makeover Thanks to Volunteer Effort and City Support


A new rocky berm has given a West Vancouver creek a better connection to high tide ocean water and salmon are expected to benefit. “The district’s role was to coordinate the project. The Streamkeepers did all the hard work to fundraise and organize funding for the project. We hired the trades folks, the coordinator and marine biologist to do the design work, and the coastal engineer, and got the trucks organized,” stated John Barker. “This is a perfect example of stewardship groups coming together and working in collaboration with the district.”

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Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre – a new jewel in the crown of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system


“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, at the official opening. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”

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CHANGING THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS: “The reality is that stormwater management has become an increasingly complex and multi-dimensional challenge,” wrote Glen Parker, North Shore Streamkeepers, in an opinion piece about rainwater management in Metro Vancouver’s North Shore region


“Perhaps because rain is thought of as a force of rejuvenation and renewal, we often neglect to think about how stormwater can actually endanger our ecosystems and fish populations across the North Shore,” wrote Glen Parker. “Protection of our local watershed starts with understanding the time and route that water takes to get into a stream. In our increasingly urban landscape, the growing presence of impervious surfaces means that massive quantities of stormwater are entering drainage systems.”

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Celebrating Green Infastructure in the Metro Vancouver Region: “The goal of the inaugural Showcasing Innovation Series in 2006 was to build regional capacity in local government to design with nature," stated Paul Ham, (former) Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership


“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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Neighbourhood character, rainwater management and regulatory change in West Vancouver


Property redevelopment and construction of McMansions were radically altering the residential landscape. This also impacts how, and how much, rainwater runoff reaches creeks. “The District of West Vancouver has undertaken to implement a requirement for site landscaping as part of both new development and the redevelopment of properties throughout the community,” states Jim Bailey.

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