Author Archives: Partnership for Water Sustainability

  1. PARKSVILLE 2019 PROGRAM AT A GLANCE: Make Better Land Use Decisions & Move Towards Restorative Development – join us in the City of Parksville on Vancouver Island for a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on April 3-4 (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN)

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    NOTE TO READER:

    The “Parksville 2019 Symposium” is an outreach and professional development event, held under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative, and is designed to foster a conversation in communities along the east coast of Vancouver Island and in the Metro Vancouver region about “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”.

    The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration (Day One) and Restorative Land Development (Day Two), respectively.

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium

    Call to Action: Reconnect Hydrology and Ecology!

    While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct efforts toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better”.

    “The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in Parksville,” states John Finnie, Chair, Parksville 2019 Symposium Organizing Committee.

    “Options include a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on April 3-4. Each day features a prominent headline speaker from the United States. Cross-border collaboration expands our horizons and connects us with a larger body of experience!”

    To Learn More:

    For the complete storyline, download the PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE. This is a comprehensive package that maps out the field day plus 2-day symposium. To read two announcements published in November 2018, click on the links below:

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium JOIN US IN PARKSVILLE ON APRIL 2-3-4

     

     

     

  2. DOWNLOAD PROGRAM BROCHURE for “Parksville 2019: Second Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate – Make Better Land Use Decisions & Move Towards Restorative Land Development” (April 2-3-4, 2019)

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    Note to Reader:

    The “Parksville 2019 Symposium” is an outreach and professional development event, held under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative, and is designed to foster a conversation in communities along the east coast of Vancouver Island and in the Metro Vancouver region about “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”.

    Join us in the City of Parksville on the east coast of mid-Vancouver Island for a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate on April 3rd and 4th. The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development, respectively.

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium

    City of Parksville – an aerial view

    How will communities ‘get it right’ as land develops and redevelops?

    “The Parksville 2019 Symposium is a milestone event on a multi-year ‘convening for action’ journey that commenced in 2004 with release of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

    “The genesis for Parksville 2019 was the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium, held in the City of Courtenay. The impact was transformational. It inspired the 2018 Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate, held in the City of Nanaimo.”

    Call to Action

    “Nanaimo 2018 was a call to action,” continues John Finnie, Chair of the Organizing Committee.  “The theme? Build on the good outcomes that flow from local government and stewardship sector collaboration! It introduced a vision for ‘restorative land development’ that would re-establish creekshed function. And it energized the audience with this challenge:

    How will communities ‘get it right’ through collaboration as land develops and redevelops?

    “A decade of effort of Vancouver Island, by partnerships of local governments and community stewards, is demonstrating success on the ground where it matters. They are on a pathway to reconnect hydrology and ecology. Parksville 2019 will celebrate success stories that are characterized by three attributes: commitment, collaboration and the ‘hard work of hope’.”

    The Issue – Will Communities Get It Right or Wrong?

    “At a time of climate instability, success in solving ‘in your face’ problems resulting from land use changes would mean less flooding, less stream erosion, and more streamflow when needed most,” explains Kim Stephens.

    “Thus, the issue or gap is communities recognizing that it is necessary to ‘get it right’ with respect to planning, engineering and asset management standards of practice – especially as they relate to and impact upon creekshed health and restoration – because ‘getting it right’ would mean the sustainable and cumulative ‘community benefits’ would then ripple through time.

    “Getting it wrong results in an unfunded and unaffordable infrastructure liability that is then a financial barrier to restoration of creekshed function.”

    To Learn More:

    For the complete storyline, download the PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE. This is a comprehensive package that maps out the field day plus 2-day symposium.

     

    Make Better Land Use Decisions & Move Towards Restorative Development

    A desired outcome is that BC communities would achieve water and watershed sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices that “get it right”. When such policies and practices are based on an understanding of WHY and HOW hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services, then they would be effective in achieving the desired outcome.

    Foundation for Action

    Parksville 2019 is a program deliverable for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management, implemented under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI). The current program is building on a large body of collaborative work undertaken over decades. Defining moments in this building blocks process are highlighted from a provincial perspective as follows.

    Released in 1998, A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia had a transformational impact because it initiated the paradigm-shift in how water is viewed and planted the seeds for integration of land and water.

    Released in 2002, Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Colmbia” also had a transformational impact because it incorporated science-based understanding to correlate and quantify the relationship between land use and stream health.

    Released in 2015, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework is a game-changer in every sense because it has made it possible to strive for integration of the natural and built environments as a whole-system.

  3. AT PARKSVILLE 2019: Cross-border collaboration connects us with a larger body of experience! – Learn from Dave Derrick, stream restoration innovator, at a workshop on Sustainable Stream Restoration (on April 2) SPACE LIMITED

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    Note to Reader:

    Join us in the City of Parksville on the east coast of mid-Vancouver Island for a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate on April 3rd and 4th. The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development, respectively. 

    Learn from Dave Derrick. First, a classroom session.  Then, an in-stream lecture at Shelly Creek, which is an emerging demonstration application for sustainable stream stabilization.

    Dave Derrick specializes in environmentally compatible, cost-effective approaches and methodologies for design of river training structures, innovative construction methodologies for stream stabilization works, river and stream training structure inspection, monitoring, and performance analysis and physical movable-bed modeling.

    Dave Derrick is the inventor and developer of many stream stabilization methods – for example Wrong Way Boil-Up Pools, Half Drowned Bushes, Grand Slams, Slit Trench Pole Planting and Hydraulic Cover Stones.

    SPACE IS LIMITED (40 registrants maximum). CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium

    Dave Derrick in action and teaching stream restoration

    An Outdoor Classroom on Sustainable Stream Restoration at Shelly Creek (April 2, 2019)

    Dave Derrick had a 35-year career with the US Army Corps of Engineers where he held the position of Research Hydraulic Engineer in the Coastal and Hydraulics Lab.

    Dave has had the opportunity to model ideas in the lab and then implement solutions in the field. He developed and refined dozens of cost-effective streambank protection techniques, including different types of Bendway Weirs.

    He enjoys working with community-based groups. His focus is on “using nature’s materials”. Through 150-plus workshops over the past decade, he has taught over 8,000 individuals.

    A true innovator in Potomology (the study of the behaviour of rivers), his wealth of hands-on experience encompasses over 10,000 hydraulic structures in rivers and streams, in every American state, and under every possible situation.

    Beyond the Stream Channel

    In addition to his work in research and development, Dave Derrick is often called on as a technical consultant for complex projects involving diverse shareholders, including landowners, conservation groups, as well as local, county, state and federal agency personnel. He often acts as a facilitator to identify and combine shareholder’s skill sets and experience of this diverse assemblage of personnel, forming them into the required effective, interdisciplinary design team.

    To Learn More:

    for a list of workshops and training courses delivered by Dave Derrick.

    Visit http://www.riverspace.com/resumes/dld/dld.html
    for a synopsis of Dave Derrick’s career professional career as a fluvial geomorphologist.

    Classroom Lecture in the Morning:
    Improving Stream Function

    Dave Derrick was a co-developer and co-instructor in the first American Society of Civil Engineers stream class, titled An Introduction to Stream Investigation, Stabilization, and Restoration.

    The morning lecture is a streamlined version of this course. Dave Derrick will cover the philosophy of restoration, channel dynamics and evolution, and bioengineering methods. Shelly Creek is the case study for improving in-stream hydraulic and environmental functions in fish-bearing streams along the east coast of Vancouver Island.

    In the Field in the Afternoon:
    Human Impact on Shelly Creek

    Shelly Creek is an outdoor classroom for Dave Derrick to demonstrate how to assess stream stability problems and develop sustainable solutions in a ‘whole-system’ context.

    When the Englishman River was declared to be the most endangered river in BC, the ‘call to action’ resulted in a Watershed Recovery Plan. Survival of Coho salmon depends on a healthy Shelly Creek, the key tributary.

    Hydrology hits first and hardest. As a result, channel erosion and sedimentation caused by ‘changes in hydrology’ are threats to aquatic habitat and fish survival in Shelly Creek.

    Shelly Creek is Parksville’s Last Fish-Bearing Creek

    In 1999 the Englishman River on the east coast of Vancouver Island was declared an endangered river. Extinction of the salmon resource was viewed as a very real possibility. This catalyst for action resulted in two transformational outcomes: implementation of the Englishman River Watershed Recovery Plan (2001); and creation of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES).

    Fast forward to the present. Shelly Creek, a tributary of the Englishman River that flows through the City of Parksville, is important to salmonids. MVIHES has established a provincial precedent with the Shelly Creek Water Balance & Sediment Reduction Plan; and this will have reverberations as the “Shelly Creek story” becomes well-known.

    The Shelly Creek experience foreshadows that an informed stream stewardship sector may prove to be a difference-maker that accelerates implementation of the ‘whole-system, water balance’ approach in British Columbia.

    To Learn More:

    Click on Shelly Creek is Parksville’s last fish-bearing stream! – Restore Watershed Hydrology, Prevent Stream Erosion, Ensure Fish Survival.

    Dave Derrick explains stream restoration techniques on-site

     

  4. AT PARKSVILLE 2019: On April 3, the theme for Day One of the Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate is SUSTAINABLE STREAM RESTORATION >>> “Reconnect hydrology and ecology – because what happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams!” (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN)

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    Note to Reader:

    In the 1990s, Dr. Chris May’s seminal research defined the relationship between land use change and stream impacts. To protect stream ecology, as well as to achieve Sustainable Stream Restoration, communities must address the root causes of ‘changes in hydrology’ (water quantity). Chris May will open Parksville 2019 with a presentation titled The Science Behind the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach.

    A foundation piece is to understand how ‘changes in hydrology’ have consequences for stream ecology as follows: Development hardens the land surface and reduces the capacity of the landscape to absorb water. Thus, there is more flow volume in creeks when it rains, and little or no flow during a drought. 

    Dr. May is a freshwater ecologist and environmental engineer with expertise in urban watershed assessment and management. His areas of interest include stormwater management, low impact development (LID), salmonid habitat restoration, urban stream rehabilitation, water quality monitoring, stream biological assessment, and watershed restoration. Currently, he is the Senior Program Director of the Kitsap County Public Works Stormwater Management Program.

    Prior to joining Kitsap County, Dr. May was the head of the Urban Watershed Group at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), a senior research scientist and engineer at the Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) and, a research engineer at the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory (UW-APL); his research there centered on the cumulative impacts of urbanization on native salmonids in small streams in the Puget Sound lowland eco-region.

    Dr. May is an adjunct faculty member of Western Washington University Huxley College of the Environment, and the University of Washington Environmental Science Program.

    Four Cascading Modules

    The April 3rd program on Sustainable Stream Restoration comprises four cascading modules. Each builds on the last, and each sets the stage for the next.

    In Module A, Dr. Chris May will set the tone for the symposium when he explains the science behind the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach. In the 1990s, his pioneer research in collaboration with Dr. Richard Horner shook the very foundations of conventional stormwater management practice. Their findings resulted in a hydrology-based framework for protecting watershed health. A lesson learned is that historical practice has disconnected hydrology from ecology. The consequences of this disconnect are more erosion and flooding, and loss of baseflow and aquatic habitat.

    In Module B, a 5-person panel will engage participants in a Town-Hall Session titled Watershed Health and You. The story of the Englishman River Recovery Plan, and the catalyst role subsequently played by the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, will inform the discussion of what a Whole-System approach looks like, and what it would mean to reconnect hydrology and ecology.

    Module C will be conducted as a ‘mini-workshop within the symposium’ by a provincial government team of from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. A Ministry initiative is mobilizing stewardship groups and community volunteers to collect streamflow data, and thus fill a gap. The pace of a workshop-type format, with the emphasis on taking the time for audience interaction, is designed to help the streamkeepers in the audience wrap their minds around the content. This would result in an enhanced educational outcome. Practitioners would also benefit from this approach to knowledge-transfer.

    Module D is the book-end for the day. A key message is that decades of in-stream restoration work have not been sustainable because communities have not addressed the root causes of ‘changes of hydrology’. For more than two decades, communities have known what needs to be done differently vis-a-vis land development and drainage practices, but have not done so in either a consistent or universal manner. Module D is the bridge to Day Two. Another key message is that restorative land development results in sustainable stream restoration.

    In January 2019, a detailed Agenda will be released for April 3. A set of detailed Abstracts will flesh out the scope and expectations for each module,  and will include information about speakers.

    TO LEARN MORE:

    For the complete storyline, download the PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE. This is a comprehensive package that maps out the field day plus 2-day symposium. To read two announcements published in November 2018, click on the links below:

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium JOIN US IN PARKSVILLE ON APRIL 2-3-4

     

  5. AT PARKSVILLE 2019: On April 4, the theme for Day Two of the Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate is RESTORATIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT >>> “Yes, we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restorative footprint!” (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN)

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    Note to Reader:

    Everywhere one turns these days, some form of the words “renewal”, “restoration” or “regeneration” appear. Storm Cunningham was the catalyst of that global “re” trend when he published The Restoration Economy in 2002. This was followed by reWealth in 2008. Coming in 2019 is his third book, RECONOMICS: The Rise of Resilient Prosperity.

    In The Restoration Economy, Storm Cunningham included a working definition of restorative development as follows: the process of adding new value to natural or built assets, ideally in a manner that detracts neither from their other preexisting values, nor from the value of other assets.

    Storm Cunningham’s books are meant to launch a new dialogue, not to resolve or end one. He believes that we need to start talking about, thinking about, and researching the “whole” created by the myriad activities that are already restoring our built and natural environments worldwide.

    At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Storm Cunningham will deliver a FREE public lecture to provide the bridge between the first and second days of this watershed moment. He will close Parksville 2019 with an inspirational message based on what he has learned about Vancouver Island initiatives.

    Four Cascading Modules

    The April 4th program on Restorative Land Development comprises four cascading modules. Each builds on the last, and each sets the stage for the next.

    In Module A, the spotlight is on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program (DWWP). Ten years ago, the RDN embarked on delivering a service never before established by a Regional District in BC. The first decade of the Plan (2009-2018) built a strong foundation of public outreach and science. In 2019, the RDN is updating their Action Plan for DWWP to incorporate learnings from the implementation thus far, and integrate elements that will be the focus of an actionable vision for the next decade and more.

    In Module B, a 5-person panel will engage participants in a Town-Hall Session titled Make Where We Live Better. The panel will build on Module A’s “actionable vision” theme, and will prime the audience for the the town-hall segment by sharing vignettes about success stories in four regional districts along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Inspirational in scope, these long-term and emerging initiatives demonstrate what is achievable when there is a restoration imperative. The town-hall segment will focus on how the lessons learned to date might inform the RDN’s DWWP Action Plan update.

    Module C will showcase two long-term initiatives that represent a range of situations: Bowker in the urban heart of the Capital Region; Brooklyn in the suburban Comox Valley. They are beacons of hope. Degraded over generations, and buried for much of its length, Bowker restoration demonstrates how a good strategy is the path to success. Implementation is approaching the second decade and is bringing the creek back to life. Situated within the Town of Comox, the lower Brooklyn Creek Corridor is a regional amenity destination. Lessons learned from the Brooklyn experience are informing implementation of a whole-system, water balance strategy for development that protects and enhances the package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology.

    In Module D, Storm Cunningham will reflect on what he heard throughout the 2-day symposium. He will connect dots when he relates Vancouver Island initiatives to the essential ingredients for restorative land development: a vision, strategy to deliver the vision, and commitment to implement an ongoing program. He will emphasize that the process of restoring our planet and revitalizing our communities is becoming a rigorous discipline, with the proper education and tools.

    In January 2019, a detailed Agenda will be released for April 4. A set of detailed Abstracts will flesh out the scope and expectations for each module,  and will include information about speakers.

    TO LEARN MORE:

    For the complete storyline, download the PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE. This is a comprehensive package that maps out the field day plus 2-day symposium. To read two announcements published in November 2018, click on the links below:

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium JOIN US IN PARKSVILLE ON APRIL 2-3-4

     

     

  6. Surface Water Quality Trend Analysis in the Regional District of Nanaimo: “The research confirmed the importance of intact riparian corridors and undisturbed forested lands to stream health in the Nanaimo region,” stated the report authors

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    Community Watershed Monitoring Network

    Started in 2011, the Community Watershed Monitoring Network is a partnership between the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and its Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) program, the Ministry of the Environment, Island Timberlands LP, and many community watershed stewardship groups in our region.

    The RDN provides the equipment and works with the Ministry to complete annual training and data analysis. The Ministry contributes expertise in water quality testing, deciphering gathered data and guidance in program direction.

    Island Timberlands sponsors the lab analysis costs for Quality Assurance and Quality Control, loans volunteers’ safety gear and provides access to the upper watersheds.

    Dedicated community groups donate their time, attending annual training sessions, calibrating equipment and getting out on their local streams to collect water quality data.

    Program Overview

    The long-term goal of the Community Watershed Monitoring Network program is to identify trends in water quality to assist in regional land use planning and restoration decisions.

    The program consists of annual sampling in both the summer low period (August-September) and the fall flush period (October-November). Sampling of dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity and specific conductivity has been conducted at 73 sites; as of 2018 there are 62 active sites.

    34 of the active sites had a sufficient (at least six years) set of data to be included in this trend analysis.

    The sampling is done by trained volunteers from 13 stewardship groups. The partnerships efforts have resulted in an excellent database that supported this analysis, according to Julie Pisani, the RDN’s DWWP Coordinator.

    Surface Water Quality Trend Analysis

    For the years 2011-2017, statistical modelling of water quality in the summer and fall sampling periods indicated that land use types associated with human disturbance were important predictors of dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity and specific conductivity:

    • When watersheds were <60 percent forested, changes in turbidity and conductivity were apparent.
    • Watersheds with <20% agricultural use generally have higher turbidity and lower dissolved oxygen.
    • Watershed with paved road densities >0.002m/m2 were associated with increased conductivity and higher water temperatures.

    Increased turbidity levels and depleted dissolved oxygen are likely the result of increased sediment loads due to a lack of riparian vegetation, stream channelization, and nutrient enrichment from agricultural land uses and increased imperviousness in urban areas, stated a trend analysis prepared for the RDN.

    Trend Analysis Findings

    The majority of sites had stable water quality without frequent exceedances of water quality guidelines or objectives. However some sites of concern were identified and recommendations for action were provided.

    The research undertaken for the RDN confirmed the importance of intact riparian corridors and undisturbed forested lands to stream health in the Nanaimo region.

    It identified water quality exceedances and that adverse trends in the monitored parameters were rare at the sample sites. None the less, impacts from agriculture, roads and urban residential areas were identified.

    To Learn More:

    To read the complete report, download a PDF copy of Surface Water Quality Trend Analysis for Regional District of Nanaimo Community Watershed Monitoring Network (2011-2017)

     

  7. JOIN US AT THE PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM FOR A WATERSHED MOMENT (April 2-3-4): While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct efforts toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better” (news release, November 2018)

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    Note to Reader:

    TO ACCESS THE EMAIL VERSION OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IS POSTED ON THE PARTNERSHIP’S WEEKLY E-NEWSLETTER SERIES, CLICK ON THIS LINK:

    https://mailchi.mp/86de59b0f027/parksville-2019-news-release1

    Reconnect Hydrology & Ecology!

    While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct efforts toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better”.

    “The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in Parksville,” states John Finnie, Chair, Parksville 2019 Symposium Organizing Committee.

    “Options include a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on April 3-4. Each day features a prominent headline speaker from the United States. Cross-border collaboration expands our horizons and connects us with a larger body of experience!”

    “At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, you will learn how communities can apply science-based understanding to increase their restorative footprint and at the same time decrease their destructive footprint. You will also learn about local government initiatives that are ‘getting it right’ and are moving along pathways that lead to restorative development,” continues Peter Law, President, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES).

    “The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development, respectively. An evening lecture by author (and global thought leader) Storm Cunningham is the bridge between the two days. Storm Cunningham will also close the symposium with an inspirational message,” adds Paul Chapman, acting Executive Director, Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT). 

    To Learn More:

    Download the Program Brochure: Parksville2019_program-brochure_Dec2018_low res

    Read these Announcements:

    REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium

     

     

  8. Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island: “Being stewards of the lands and waters, it is inherently our duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat of the salmon and various marine and wildlife in this area,” stated Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, K’ómoks First Nation

    Comments Off on Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island: “Being stewards of the lands and waters, it is inherently our duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat of the salmon and various marine and wildlife in this area,” stated Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, K’ómoks First Nation

    Note to Reader:

    The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is facing a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems. In March 2017, the stewardship sector hosted a transformational event, the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium. Sponsored by the four local governments, the theme for this ‘watershed moment’ was Discovering Nature’s Infrastructure Potential.

    The excitement and energy generated by the Symposium has helped to move forward the long-term vision for transforming a decommissioned sawmill site on the Courtenay River into a valuable habitat corridor that could also transform the city’s most troublesome flood liabilities into an eco-asset corridor for the whole community.

    What the sawmill site would look like after transformation into Kus-kus-mus (image credit: Robert Lundquist)

    Kus-kus-sum Restoration on Courtenay River on Vancouver Island: Historic Milestone in Reconciliation Makes History for Greener Planet

    A historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations has taken place in the Comox Valley. This month a First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaboratively purchase, restore and manage a key property in the heart of their community.

    The three signatories, the K’ómoks First Nation, the City of Courtenay and Comox Valley Project Watershed Society are working together with Interfor Corporation, the current owners of the property, to acquire and then restore the  former Field Sawmill site to natural habitat. The site has been renamed Kus-kus-sumFor more information on the project visit www.kuskussum.ca.

    To Learn More:

    Read an article posted in May 2018 on the Green Infrastructure community-of-interest: Discovering Nature’s Infrastructure Potential on Vancouver Island: “The long-term vision is to transform a decommissioned sawmill site on the Courtenay River into a valuable eco-asset corridor,” stated Project Watershed’s Jennifer Sutherst

    The First Step to Restoration is a Dream

    The Field Sawmill was once the economic heart of the Comox Valley. It employed hundreds of people directly, and was the centrepiece of the local forest industry. Since 2006, Kus-kus-sum has remained as 8.3 acres of vacant cement along a critical salmon migration corridor in the heart of the Comox Valley.

    “Estuaries have long been the location of choice for coastal BC’s saw and pulp mills. Hindsight is 20/20. By the 1980s many of BC’s coastal communities were waking up to the fact that salmon populations, herring, and waterbirds were in decline to over- industrialization of many of the province’s most important estuaries,” states Tim Ennis, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust, in providing an historical context.

    Field of Dreams

    The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society and the K’ómoks First Nation share a dream for the future of the Field Sawmill site. Known to the K’ómoks people as “Kus-kus-sum”, the property holds deep significance. The City of Courtenay has similarly embraced the restoration dream.

    As part of the Kómoks Estuary, the restored area at Kus-kus-sum would provide fish and wildlife habitat, help mitigate climate change, buffer against sea level rise, attenuate localized flooding, become a culturally significant landmark and provide educational and recreational opportunities.

    The restored habitat would be particularly beneficial for young salmon, which require a place to escape high river flows, predation by seals, and holding areas to allow for forage, growth, and acclimatization to increasing salinities before their marine migration.

    The Indigenous Perspective

    “K’ómoks First Nation believes in partnerships, particularly when partnerships involve like-minded groups that share similar vision. It is in this spirit that we are happy to sign this collaborative agreement with the City of Courtenay and Project Watershed on behalf of our membership for the management and restoration of Kus-kus-sum,” states Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, K’ómoks First Nation.

    “Restoring this cultural and historically significant site is a vision KFN shares with Project Watershed and the City of Courtenay. KFN’s interest in the site is largely based on its strong cultural significance. At the time of contact and settlement, there were tree burials on the Dyke road side of the river just downstream of Fields Sawmill. While there is some documentation of these burials in various writings and oral history, they are not extensively documented, and may have been extensive along the lower part of the river.

    “Being stewards of the lands and waters, it is inherently our duty to restore and assist in the rehabilitation of the natural habitat of the salmon and various marine and wildlife in this area.”

    About the Memorandum of Understanding

    Although non-binding, the initial agreement formalizes the partnership between the three parties in relation to Kus-kus-sum and outlines the issues that need to be addressed in further documents. It sets October 20th, 2019 as the date for entering a binding agreement that will detail the nuances of purchasing, restoring and managing the property collaboratively.

    “Working collaboratively with Project Watershed and K’ómoks First Nation has been an essential component of this project, and as we move forward through the formal agreement process we look forward to building on this strong relationship with our project partners,” states David Allen, City of Courtenay Chief Administrative Officer.

    “The restoration of Kus-kus-sum will have tremendous cultural, environmental, social, and economic benefits, and the community has shown a high level of enthusiasm over the future vision for this site.”

    Progress of the Fundraising Campaign 

    A fundraising campaign was initiated by Project Watershed in September 2017.

    “This project has been met with widespread community support,” reports Paul Horgen, Chair of Project Watershed. “Our community fundraising target was set at $500,000 and we are already more than halfway there.

    “To date, the organization has raised $277,000 from the community and almost $1 million in total from foundations and government agencies.”

    Historic Moment for K’omoks First Nation, City of Courtenay and Project Watershed (photo by City of Courtenay)

     

     

  9. KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER: “Turning the tides to de-industrialize the estuary in the heart of our community” – an article by Tim Ennis, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust

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    Note to Reader:

    In March 2017, the stewardship sector hosted a transformational event, the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium. Sponsored by the four local governments, the theme for this ‘watershed moment’ was Discovering Nature’s Infrastructure Potential.

    The excitement and energy generated by the Symposium has helped to move forward the long-term vision for transforming a decommissioned sawmill site on the Courtenay River into a valuable habitat corridor that could also transform the city’s most troublesome flood liabilities into an eco-asset corridor for the whole community.

    The salmon-bearing Courtenay River flows through the City of Courtenay into the K’omoks Estuary, Baynes Sound and the Salish Sea. Project Watershed’s inventory of more than 40 potential projects for the K’omoks Estuary identified the 3.5 hectare sawmill site as a key area of damage and top restoration priority. It is situated adjacent to the protected Hollyhock Marsh.

    What the sawmill site would look like after transformation into Kus-kus-mus (image credit: Robert Lundquist)

     

    Nothing Happens Unless a Dream Happens First

    “I just want to wake up one day, open the company’s books, and not see the Field Sawmill property there,” John Horning tells me. Horning is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Interfor, an international logging company with nearly 20 sawmills and extensive forest tenures spanning between northwestern British Columbia and South Carolina. Although still owned by Interfor, the Field Sawmill, in the heart of the K’ómoks estuary, is no longer operational. Arguably the biggest eyesore in the community, it has been dismantled, cleaned up, and on the market for nearly 10 years. Horning and I share a common dream,” wrote Tim Ennis in the opening paragraph of his article that was published in the CV Collective.

    To Learn More:

    To read the complete article, download a PDF copy of Field of Dreams.

    Acknowledgment: Photo Gallery by Dan Bowen

  10. RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Local government initiatives on Vancouver Island are “getting it right” / Learn more at Parksville 2019 (Announcement #2, November 2018)

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    Note to Reader:

    The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed does matter to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct evolution toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better”.

    At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, you will learn how communities can apply science-based understanding to increase their restorative footprint and at the same time decrease their destructive footprint. You will also learn about local government initiatives that are ‘getting it right’ and are moving along pathways that lead to restorative development. Follow these leaders!

    Join us in the City of Parksville on the east coast of mid-Vancouver Island for a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate on April 3rd and 4th. The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development, respectively. An evening lecture by Storm Cunningham is the bridge between the two days. Storm Cunningham will also close the symposium with an inspirational message.

    TO ACCESS THE EMAIL VERSION OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IS POSTED ON THE PARTNERSHIP’S WEEKLY E-NEWSLETTER SERIES, CLICK ON THIS LINK:

    https://mailchi.mp/c35a787f1db7/announcement-2-november-21-2018

    To Learn More:

    FOR THE COMPLETE STORYLINE, DOWNLOAD THE PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE.

    CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/2019/Parksville-Water-Stewardship-Symposium JOIN US IN PARKSVILLE ON APRIL 2-3-4

    “A core message of restorative development is that we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restorative footprint,” emphasizes Storm Cunningham, author & global thought leader 

    And Then a Miracle!

    “In the late ’90s, I began noticing a miraculous new trend: a number of places – both ecosystems and communities – were actually getting better, some spectacularly so,” wrote Storm Cunningham in The Restoration Economy, his first book, published in 2002.

    “I began investigating this seeming miracle and discovered a monstrously huge, almost entirely hidden economic sector. It was restoring our world – both our built environment and our natural environment – and it already accounted for over a trillion dollars per year. But nobody was paying it any attention!”

    A Vast Frontier of Opportunity:

    “During the last two decades of the twentieth century, we failed to notice a turning point of immense significance,” continued Storm Cunningham. “New development – the development mode that has dominated the past three centuries – lost significant ‘market share’ to another mode:restorative development. How could we miss a story like that?

    “The major driver of economic growth in the twenty-first century will be redeveloping our nations, revitalizing our cities, and rehabilitating and expanding our ecosystems. This is not some wistful vision of the future: it’s already happening. Restoration comprises the largest new economic growth cycle since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    “Development has arrived at the ends of the Earth. Progress has nowhere to turn, except to revisit and restore what we’ve already wrought,” concluded Storm Cunningham.

    April 3 – Sustainable Stream Restoration

    Among land and drainage practitioners, how water gets to a stream and how long it takes, is still not well understood. Failure to grasp and apply the fundamentals of creekshed hydrology, plus institutional reluctance to change 20th century engineering practices, are root causes of degraded urban streams.

    On April 3, the four cascading modules in the Parksville 2019 program are designed to equip stewardship groups so that they can function as effective champions for reconnecting hydrology and ecology. Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. This concept is a foundation piece for restorative land development that results in Sustainable Stream Restoration.

    “Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development are stand-alone initiatives, but are intrinsically linked to a Design with Nature philosophy,” says John Finnie, Chair, Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee. “Decades of in-stream restoration work has not stood the test of time because communities did not tackle and solve the root causes of ‘changes of hydrology’. Yet we’ve known since the 1990s that what happens on the land does matter to streams and fish.”

    Action Based on Understanding Hydrology:

    Parksville 2019 will delve into the science behind the Whole-System, Water Balance approach to rainwater management. Drawing upon the Kitsap County experience of Dr. Chris May, for example, a key message is that working at multiple scales to restore natural flow regimes would both reduce the destructive footprint AND increase the restorative footprint of land development.

    Parksville 2019 will also showcase a provincial government initiative to involve the stewardship sector in creekshed hydrology and thereby fill a data collection gap. A key message is that stewardship groups have the local knowledge to understand the water resource, and are the most invested and most connected to the land base.

    April 4 – Restorative Land Development

    “The goal of making the world ‘less worse’ does not go far enough. Rather, we have it within our power to undo previous damage and make the world better. My Aha Moment occurred around 1990 when I volunteered to assist a German scientist with a project in Jamaica. He was working on a really unique and effective technology for restoring coral reefs quickly. That’s when the idea of a restoration economy hit me,” states Storm Cunningham.
    • Storm Cunningham’s Working Definition: Restorative development is a mode of economic activity that returns property, structures, or objects to an earlier condition, transforms them into a healthier and/or more functional condition, or replaces an unsalvageable structure without consuming more land.

    Vancouver Island Success Stories:

    Parksville 2019 is a ‘sharing & learning’ opportunity for cross-fertilization of experience gained over the past decade within four Vancouver Island regional districts to “make where we live better”. Their experience shows that the restorative development journey is a process that requires long-term commitment, patience and perseverance by champions.

    Lessons learned in the other regions will inform the Action Plan update for the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program. The first decade of the Plan (2009-2018) built a strong foundation of public outreach and science. The focus moving into the next operational period is using awareness and data to inform water policy and planning.

    “Now is the time to get it right. Restoring water balance is crucial for our human and natural habitats,” stated Paul Chapman, acting Executive Director, Nanaimo & Area Land Trust, and member of the Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee. “The 2018 Nanaimo Symposium brought us together and gave us energy for change. The 2019 Parksville Symposium will show us real world examples of planning for the water we want and need. Some of the challenges require a step past the comfortable – political action.”