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Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management

SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – because extreme events are becoming the norm…..


As communities face the increasing impacts of climate change, there is an unfunded liability – the cost to restore watershed hydrology and water resilience in the built environment. “The Partnership for Water Sustainability is evolving, online tools that support implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach. British Columbia, Washington State and California are leaders. We are moving forward in parallel on this journey,” states Jim Dumont.

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KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): "Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the 'regional team approach'


“The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination.”

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KEYNOTE AT COMOX VALLEY ECO-ASSET SYMPOSIUM (March 2017): "It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes possible 'water-resilient communities',"stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he elaborated on the vision for 'sustainable watershed systems'


“Too often we talk about water and land as silos. But what happens on the land does matter! It is whether and how we respect the land that really affects what happens with water. That is a key message. It is why we are moving forward with the program for informing and educating local governments and the stewardship sector about the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management,” stated Kim Stephens.

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FLASHBACK TO 2012 (Video): River advocate, Mark Angelo, and others tell an inspiring story about salmon and the transformation of Still Creek, a long-abused urban stream in the Vancouver region – "Never give up on any river!," says Mark Angelo


“Over many decades, people in the area have worked tirelessly to help bring the creek back to health,” stated Mark Angelo, founder of World Rivers Day. “To see salmon return has been incredibly exciting, especially given that just a few decades ago, this stream was widely viewed as one of Canada’s most polluted waterways. Quite simply, the events that have unfolded on Still Creek highlight the fact that we should never give up on any river,” states Mark Angelo.

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KEYNOTE AT REGIONAL WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY NORTH SHORE STREAMKEEPERS (March 2017): "Redevelopment of neighbourhoods creates opportunities to ‘get it right’ the second time and restore watershed health," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Our region is hemmed in by the mountains, the sea, the US border and the Agricultural Land Reserve. This means population growth will be accommodated through redevelopment, and this involves redevelopment of watersheds. This is what gives us the second chance to get it right,” stated Kim Stephens. “As the housing stock turns over, there is a window of opportunity. We get one window every 50 years. Will local government take action in time?”

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KEYNOTE AT ‘RISING TO THE CHALLENGE’ CONFERENCE IN AUSTRALIA (August 2016): “Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period have allowed me to view our evolving British Columbia situation in a comparative context,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our “whole systems” approach to water balance management,” observed Kim Stephens. “BC is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (June 2017) – Embed ‘state of art’ hydrology in engineering ‘standard practice’ to achieve Sustainable Watershed Systems


“The BC Framework sets a strategic direction that refocuses business processes on outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and risks. The program goals for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI) are aligned with this strategic direction,” stated the Hon. Peter Fassbender when he announced (in March 2017) funding for the IREI program through 2018. The vision for implementation of a whole-system, water balance approach is to protect and/or restore stream health

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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS, THROUGH ASSET MANAGEMENT: "We are looking at the water cycle with fresh eyes to develop new approaches, methodologies and tools," stated Kim Stephens in his keynote presentation to the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable (June 10, 2017)


“The keynote presentation by Kim Stephens was a highlight of the day,” reports Melissa Dick, Coordinator for the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable. “The messages he shared about what happens on the land matters, and the steps needed to succeed at convening for action, resounded well with the Roundtable participants. His support for the Community Meeting and his contributions throughout the day were very much appreciated.”

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"Cathedral Thinking aptly describes the vision for achieving Sustainable Watershed Systems through Asset Management," concluded Kim Stephens in his keynote presentation at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium (March 15, 2017)


“Think about when cathedrals were built a thousand years ago. They took 100 years, and sometimes up to 200 years, to build,” stated Kim Stephens. “So, what it meant was – when people started on those projects, they knew that they would not see the end. But they still committed to doing it. We can learn from them. In the era of the 8-second attention span, it is the opposite end of the spectrum to say that we have to think inter-generationally and be serious about it.”

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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS, THROUGH ASSET MANAGEMENT: A decade long journey has its beginning in the seminar that launched the Beyond the Guidebook Initiative (November 2007)


“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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