YOU TUBE VIDEO: At Comox Valley Joint Staff Workshop, Jack Minard and David Stapley illustrated how analytical use of Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory provides a quantitative way to measure impacts of land use on ecosystem services
Note to Reader:
Inspired by the work of the Bowker Creek Initiative in the Capital Regional District, “A Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley” was initiated in 2012, showcased in 2014 and completed in 2015. A Joint Staff Workshop hosted by the Comox Valley Regional District in December 2015 commenced the formal rollout of this guidance document by the Comox Valley-CAVI Regional Team (CAVI is the acronym for ‘Convening for Action on Vancouver Island’).
The article below that follows the YouTube video features the remarks of Jack Minard and David Stapley of the Comox Valley Land Trust. They provided the stewardship perspective on the benefits of collaboration within the Comox Valley. In his capacity as Executive Director of the Land Trust, Jack Minard has represented the stewardship sector on the regional team since inception.
To Learn More: Click on Stewardship Sector Perspective to download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Jack and David, and follow along as they elaborate on key messages.
Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory: A Measure of the Impacts of Land Use
“In 1992 the province produced the Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory known as the SEI. Many municipal and regional governments use these to identify sensitive areas,” explained David Stapley. “There are 9 ecosystem types in the Comox Valley such as riparian areas, wetlands, forests and woodlands and seasonally flooded agricultural lands.”
Lack of Understanding and Attention =
Accumulating Losses of Ecosystems
“In collaboration with CVRD we (the Comox Valley Land Trust) reassessed the Comox Valley SEI in 2014 using 2012 data. This gave us a 20-year window to measure the impacts of land use on sensitive ecosystems that were intact in 1992. Lets look at the land use impacts on two of the ecosystem types, riparian and wetlands which we consider to be the most important.”
“A large number of riparian and wetland ecosystems, intact in 1992, have been lost, fragmented or reduced. Development activities accounted for a sizeable amount. For example, we found that 75% of wetlands that were lost was a result of development. This is an area equivalent to 17 times the size of the ball fields at Lewis Park in Courtenay.”
Why It Matters
“So why does it matter? Our communities face the double whammy of aging infrastructure and climate change. Healthy watersheds naturally manage rainfall. Protecting and restoring streams and wetlands through water wise development has many benefits.”
A Synopsis of the Benefits to Local Government from Collaboration with the Stewardship Sector
“Collaboration is an important part of ‘developing water wise’. It is critical in order to reduce the environmental footprint of development projects,” emphasized Jack Minard.
“Collaboration is needed between departments so that the impacts of the full scope of the development on the site, up stream and downstream is considered. Collaboration is also needed between jurisdictions as watersheds do not respect boundaries.”
Watershed Knowledge and Whole System Understanding: A Powerful Combination
“Collaboration with the stewardship sector is crucial. Your community stewards have the long-term knowledge of how the watershed is functioning on the ground. They know and understand the whole watershed. They are skilled at assessment, restoration and monitoring. And they can mobilize volunteers for projects.”
“Collaboration with stewardship groups can save local governments and developers money both in the short term and long term. Involving stewards in the early phase of project planning is key to getting the full value of their knowledge,” stated Jack Minard in closing.