Inter-Regional Collaboration: From Proof-of-Approach in 2012 to Full-Scale Implementation in 2013
Inter-Regional Collaboration for Watershed Sustainability
“Watershed/stream health and rainwater/stormwater management are priorities for communities on the east coast of Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland region,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“In 2012, the Partnership asked the Boards of five regional districts – namely Capital, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Comox Valley and Metro Vancouver – to endorse local government collaboration under the umbrella of the Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI). Supported by Metro Vancouver municipalities, notably the District of North Vancouver, the four Vancouver Island regions each hosted a ‘sharing and learning’ event.”
“In 2013, the IREI is moving from ‘proof of approach’ on Vancouver Island to full-scale implementation, including Metro Vancouver and potentially beyond. Inter-regional collaboration will help leverage more with the same resources. Everyone will be able to better deliver on regulatory objectives and compliance,” continues Derek Richmond, Chair of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, an initiative of the the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
Formation of Inter-Regional Leadership Team
In June 2013, the Capital Regional District (CRD) hosted a strategy session that comprised local government champions representing the five geographic regions. This core group affirmed that it will function as an inter-regional leadership team.
“Communities have been struggling with the question of how best to move forward on the Watershed Health issue, particularly in light of a changing climate and financial drivers to provide higher levels-of-service at reduced levels-of-cost,” states Jody Watson, Watersheds & Harbours Coordinator with the CRD.
“Inter-regional collaboration will help each region understand what the other regions are doing, what works and what does not. The mantra for inter-regional collaboration is framed in these terms: Through sharing and learning, ensure that where we are going in indeed the right way.”
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The point of departure for roundtable exploration of broad objectives was provided by this synthesis: IREI – Core Concepts for Stream Health and Performance Monitoring – May 2013.
A Road Map for Integrated Watershed Management
“In 1996, the Center for Urban Water Resources Management Center at the University of Washington (in Seattle) published the seminal paper Effects of Urbanization on Small Streams in the Puget Sound Lowland Ecoregion. Co-authored by Richard Horner and Chris May, this shook conventional stormwater management wisdom in the Pacific Northwest to its foundation,” states Peter Law, Partnership Director. Formerly with the BC Ministry of Environment, he was Chair of the Steering Committee that was responsible for development of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002.
“Horner and May synthesized a decade of Puget Sound research to identify the factors that degrade urban streams and negatively influence aquatic productivity and fish survival. They demonstrated that four factors limit stream health. The order-of-priority for these factors provides a ‘road map’ for rainwater management in a watershed sustainability context.”
“The stream health findings by Horner and May provided British Columbians with a springboard to ‘reinvent urban hydrology’ and develop the Stormwater Guidebook.”
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An understanding of the order-of-priority of the four factors impacting on stream health is a foundation piece for managing drainage from an ecological perspective.