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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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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > The Whole-System Approach – “The City of Parksville recognizes the importance of sharing a vision in order to get things done; and commends the Symposium organizers for recognizing the power of partnership and collaboration,” stated Mayor Ed Mayne when he welcomed delegates to Parksville (April 2019)


“We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as where water is going to be going over the coming years. We have to start turning this situation around NOW. Not in 5 years. Not in 10 years. It needs to start today. We need to start making things better,” stated Mayor Ed Mayne. “Operation of the Englishman River Water Service is guided by the mission statement which reads: An environmentally sensitive use of water to improve fish habitat and domestic water supply. At a time when the climate is changing, it is a delicate balancing act to achieve both outcomes when summers are getting longer and much drier.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > The Whole-System Approach – “We like to engage streamkeeper groups to give them the knowledge to begin asking the tough questions of the people who regulate and look after their communities and their watersheds,” stated Richard Boase, Water Stewardship Symposium Series Moderator, when he shared his local government perspective on the value of citizen science to launch the Day One program at the Symposium (April 2019)


“In Metro Vancouver, groups such as the North Shore Streamkeepers (NSSK) are making a difference. NSSK collaboration with the District of North Vancouver underpins a water quality monitoring program. The District purchased state-of-the-art equipment and trained 10 volunteers who conduct sampling close to their neighbourhood,” stated Richard Boase. “Monitoring sites are located at strategic locations. Streamkeepers are collecting data and bringing it back to the District to look at and store in our database.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > The Whole-System Approach – “Engagement of community through stewardship is a credible formula to be encouraged and mainstreamed at every opportunity,” stated Kim Stephens when he explained how the symposium program built on Nanaimo 2018 takeaways


Collaboration, teamwork and a recognition that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is the energy that stokes creativity and determination. When this combination of citizen talent is aligned with a local government that is both visionary and focused, outstanding achievements are not only possible, but realistic. “Expressed as a formula, Community Empowerment + Sustainable Partnerships with Local Government = Foundation Piece for Restorative Development,” stated Kim Stephens. “An informed stewardship sector is a catalyst for action.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > The Whole-System Approach – “Dear rain, may you fall in abundance, but not in excess. Wet the ground, water the trees, and continue throughout the seasons – preferably at night, while I sleep,” stated Paul Chapman in setting a humourous tone in the opening module of the Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (April 2019)


“Galvanized by what they learned at the Nanaimo 2018 Symposium, a diverse group of stewardship groups out to do the hard work to become another collaboration success story,” stated Paul Chapman. “The time was right – a civic election was on the horizon, and the energy of the symposium was sparking ideas. We gathered as a group of like-minded individuals, and began to plan. out to do the hard work to become another collaboration success story,” stated Paul Chapman. “Branding is very important. And so, we came up with the Nanaimo Watershed Health Community of Practice as the name of the initiative.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > The Whole-System Approach – “It is not a sprint. We are in it for the long haul; and we all need to recognize that we are in it for the long haul. I wonder what Ian McHarg would think if he could be with us today, 50 years after he wrote Design with Nature,” stated Bill Derry when he delivered the opening keynote on behalf of Kitsap County’s Chris May, Surface & Stormwater Division Director (April 2019)


The ‘salmon crisis’ in the 1990s was the driver for pioneer research at Washington State University that correlated land use changes with impacts on stream health. The resulting science-based understanding opened the door to the Water Balance approach to rainwater management in BC. “Data are fine, but you must be able to show decision-makers and the public that we are making a difference and being cost-effective with funding,” stated Bill Derry. “You must be able to develop and tell stories. If you can tell stories well, that is how to make the biggest difference.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Watershed Health and You – “This is a story about how a local group of streamkeepers has morphed from a focus on salmon and trout habitat restoration, to advocates for ecosystem monitoring of watershed functions… the Whole System Approach,” stated Peter Law, President, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (April 2019)


“Since 2010, Our volunteers have embraced the idea of monitoring aquatic ecosystems and habitats in our watershed, often times partnering with agencies, local governments or private landowners to identify the status of certain indicators. We called the program ‘Watershed Health and You’,” stated Peter Law. “We are engaging our neighbours who live in the watershed, to discuss how the community can help restore Shelly Creek. The legacy of Faye Smith, and her mantra of engaging the community continues.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Watershed Health and You – “After the Arrowsmith Dam was built, most of the time we have been able to stay above the minimum fisheries baseflow requirement which establishes an operating rule for the Englishman River Water Service,” stated Vaughan Figueira, City of Parksville’s Director of Engineering (April 2019)


“The EWRS is a joint venture between the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo. It comprises the 20-yr old Arrowsmith Dam, a new river intake and water treatment facility. System operation is guided by this statement: An environmentally sensitive use of water to improve fish habitat and domestic water supply,” stated Vaughan Figueira. “The impact of wetter winters and drier summers on the seasonal water balance creates operational challenges in sustaining environmental flows.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Watershed Health and You – “It is important to keep engaging with community. Communication is key,” stated Dr. Gilles Wendling, when he explained the innovation in engaging the community in Englishman River applied research to better understand surface water-groundwater interaction (April 2019)


“How do we pass information? How do we present information so that people with no technical knowledge will grasp what is important? Telling stories – that is how we do it to change behaviour,” stated Dr. Gilles Wendling. “Community involvement in a monitoring program was a foundation piece, and one of several innovations, for characterizing surface and groundwater interaction in the Englishman River system.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Watershed Health and You – “The watershed is the base unit for the purposes of a forest company’s landscape level plan,” stated Domenico Iannidinardo, Vice-President of Mosaic Forest Management, when he explained the importance of hydrological balance (April 2019)


“The watershed is the base unit of ecology, certainly on Vancouver Island,” stated Domenico Iannidinardo. “Over 80% of the Englishman River watershed is dedicated to forest management. Applying a landscape level approach makes a working forest work for multiple values. Hydrology and ecology values are managed through conservation agreements, land sales, and cooperation with researchers and communities. A guiding objective is to keep sediment out of streams.”

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Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Watershed Health and You – “We engage with volunteers in the Englishman River watershed and other watersheds across our region,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo, when she explained the region’s partnership-based water quality monitoring program (April 2019)


“Through the efforts of stewardship volunteers, the RDN’s Community Watershed Monitoring Network has successfully completed 7+ years of monitoring surface water quality. A recent study has analyzed the data region-wide, modelling land use factors and their connection to water quality results, including for the Englishman River,” explained Julie Pisani. “We have worked very closely with Ministry of Environment staff who helped us to decide what the key parameters are to monitor in order to get a baseline understanding of watershed health.”

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