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Vancouver Island Water

The island is a demonstration region for the ‘regional team approach’. Communicate. Cooperate. Coordinate. Collaborate. Share resources and learn from each other. CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island-Leadership in Water Sustainability, started with a conversation in 2005. Formally launched in September 2006, and funded by government, the form of the initiative has evolved over the years. The program has demonstrated what can be done through partnerships and collaboration.

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REGISTRATION OPEN FOR VIDEO TRILOGY SERIES: “Actionable Visions for Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology in an Altered Landscape” – a unique and interactive experience on YouTube > on November 19 / November 26 / December 3


“The changes wrought by COVID 19 have allowed NALT and the Partnership for Water Sustainability to dare to be bold in integrating technology platforms and co-host what we anticipate will be a compelling virtual symposium. We are integrating Zoom and YouTube to create a viewing experience that captures the passion, knowledge and wisdom of our team members in conversation. The vision for the Video Trilogy Series is that it will take on a life of its own as a legacy resource that informs, educate and creates understanding,” states David Mackenzie. He is the technical director for production of the series.

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COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Reimagining the 3rd Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate as a “Video Trilogy Series on Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology” for delivery via YouTube on November 19 / November 26 / December 3


“In the age of COVID, and at moment in time when in-person public gatherings are not allowed by British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer and the only option is to go virtual, the challenge for everyone involved in delivering outreach-type programs is to provide participants with a unique and interactive experience,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate. We hope to point the way for making a difference through collaborative leadership. We define success as participants will be inspired to action.”

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: Re-Imagining the 3rd Annual Vancouver Island Symposium for online delivery to showcase “Actionable Visions for Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology in an Altered Landscape” on YouTube on November 19 / November 26 / December 3


“In the age of COVID 19, it is necessary to adapt and evolve in response to the new reality imposed by physical distancing. How could we avoid going down the same pathway as others, which would be to subject viewers to a day of staring at their computer screens? And so the plan took shape for a unique and interactive experience via YouTube in combination with Zoom. We are bringing our three teams together in a safe space for a series of in-person, facilitated conversations. Immediately after watching each video on YouTube, our virtual audience will be able to chat in real-time with the presentation team,” stated Kim Stephens.

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CAVI-CONVENING FOR ACTION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “In 2015, with past successes as a foundation and some fresh ideas to guide the way forward, the scope of CAVI as a regional initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC was redefined,” stated John Finnie, Past-Chair


“It started with a conversation. In 2005 a group of similar thinking individuals, recognizing a need to balance economy and ecology with the increasing settlement on Vancouver Island, and the critical importance of water in that equation, gathered in Parksville to have a conversation about water sustainability on Vancouver Island. Within a year, that initial meeting evolved into a movement, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island – Leadership for Water Sustainability, known widely by the acronym CAVI,” stated John Finnie.

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “We have designed the Video Trilogy as a series of watershed moments about implementing actionable visions for ‘Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology’ in altered urban landscapes,” states Paul Chapman, Chair, Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate Symposia Series (Announcement #1, September 2020)


Watershed Moments, the video trilogy series, is cascading. Our focus is on the whole-system approach, connecting land and water, and restoring water balance in altered landscapes. The series will inform, educate and create understanding. The three videos, each 60 minutes in duration, are designed to be used as educational legacy resources that inspire action. Each is built around a ‘facilitated conversation’ moderated by Richard Boase, District of North Vancouver. These conversations are much more than talking heads in a studio setting. Inter-weaving of outdoor footage creates an engaging narrative.

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A STREAM IS A LAND USE: “This is a novel yet intuitively obvious way of characterizing a stream and its riparian corridor because streams in settled areas meet this litmus test for a ‘land use’, and that is: they have a defined area in legislation,” wrote Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, in the report on the application of the Ecological Accounting Process to Shelly Creek on the east coast of Vancouver Island (February 2020)


“The starting point for application of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is recognition that local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of ecological assets within riparian corridors. Until now, what local governments have lacked are a pragmatic methodology for financial valuation, and meaningful metrics that go to the heart of sustainable service delivery. EAP provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of ecological assets,” stated Tim Pringle.

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VALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: “A common history of land uses on the east coast of Vancouver Island and other regions in BC has been the fragmentation of the riparian network in both rural and urbanizing landscapes,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, when reflecting on application of the Ecological Accounting Process to Shelly Creek


“Over decades of disturbance, a landscape’s ecological links/services decline as it’s economic (land use) linkages increase. Thus, a descriptive way to visualize these outcomes is this: riparian ecosystems (networks) have become reduced to riparian zones as shown on the maps of today,” stated Peter Law. “An alternative term, riparian network, could also be used to describe a system composed of a physical stream channel and adjacent riparian (vegetated) corridor. This system provides a critical ecological function in linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a watershed or creekshed.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT IN THE COWICHAN VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT: “We are still at the front end of our asset management journey, but we have been able to adapt to this unexpected change in operating conditions brought on by the global health pandemic,” stated Austin Tokarek, Asset Coordinator


The Strategic Asset Management Plan includes activities that will further enhance the resiliency of the CVRD’s infrastructure and the efficiency of service delivery. One of these priorities is the defining of key business processes and workflows, and the implementation of an AM software system. The benefits of clearly defined processes and workflows becomes abundantly clear when staff are not able to interact face-to-face on a daily basis,” stated Austin Tokarek.

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COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP & CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through the Portage Inlet Cutthroat Initiative.  Do not be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals,” stated Heather Wright, Research Coordinator, World Fisheries Trust


The catalyst for grass-roots action in Portage Inlet was the continuing decline in cutthroat and coho numbers in the Colquitz River and Craigflower Creek. Both systems flow into Portage Inlet and Gorge Waterway in the heart of Victoria. “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through PICI and will continue to be as we progress into the future,” stated Heather Wright. “Each partnership we have has brought something to the table, be it money, expertise or that one connection we were missing to get the job done. The moral of this article is: don’t be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals!”

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FRESH WATER SUSTAINABILITY IS IN OUR HANDS: “Collaborative leadership conceptualizes leadership as shared among members, rather than turning to one heroic leader to guide and be the expert. It flows. It changes shape,” stated Dr. Kathy Bishop, School of Leadership Studies, Royal Roads University, on the 10th anniversary of the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ (June 2020)


“Water is a great metaphor for collaborative leadership. It overcomes obstacles with its constant presence; moving over, around or wearing down. Today our world is facing some big challenges, economically, socially, environmentally, politically. Yet it has taken the global tsunami of COVID-19 for us to potentially wake up. In times of crisis, although difficult, beauty can emerge. An opportunity exists in the space between what was and what will be. What will this be for us in British Columbia? Well that depends on every one of us,” stated Kathy Bishop.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: Release of “Re-Inventing Rainwater Management in the Capital Region” was announced at the Bowker Creek Forum by Calvin Sandborn, Legal Director of the Environmental Law Clinic, University of Victoria


“It was both timely and relevant that the UVIC Environmental Law Clinic released Re-Inventing Rainwater Management on the same day that the Bowker Creek Forum was held at UVic. The day forced us to ‘think watershed’ and transcend jurisdictional boundaries. The politicians are listening. Geoff Young, CRD Chairman, stated that ‘cross boundary problems make managing rainwater more difficult, but some of the ideas they have put forward are ones we have started talking about’,” stated Eric Bonham.

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