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Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium

Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: Richard Boase brings an inter-regional perspective to his moderator role at the Nanaimo Water Symposium (April 12, 2018)


Over the past decade, Richard Boase has been a key member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability team for training workshops and “sharing and learning” sessions in Metro Vancouver, Capital Region, Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley and Nanaimo Region. “The time has come to assertively push our politicians to make the hard decisions now for the benefit of our future generations; and to follow through with policy, regulations and bylaws that require simple, landscape-based, outcome-driven solutions so that we can start watershed restoration now,” said Richard Boase in 2010.

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KEYNOTE PRESENTATION AT NANAIMO WATER SYMPOSIUM: “Sponge Communities: A Water-Resilient Future Despite Floods & Droughts?” – Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“All one need do is reflect on what British Columbia has experienced in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Impacts are magnified by human interventions. We have arrived at a fork in the road,” says Kim Stephens. “The situation calls for a whole-systems approach to managing the water balance distribution where people live. The risks are too high, and the margins for error too small, to view water and watersheds only through narrow technical lenses. Adapting to changes in the water cycle and restoring the water balance starts with rethinking our relationship with nature.”

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Pacific Streamkeepers Federation: “It is the voice of the community volunteer that we bring to arenas such as the Nanaimo Water Symposium,” stated ZoAnn Morten


“The objectives of the Streamkeepers Program are as follows: 1) Provide volunteers with the training and support required to protect and restore local aquatic habitat; 2) Educate the public about the importance of watershed resources; and 3)Encourage communication and cooperation in watershed management,”stated Zo Ann Morten. “The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation has been successful in bringing our Mission Statement to life in several ways. We help streamkeepers take action through support, education, and building partnerships.”

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Convening for Action in the Regional District of Nanaimo: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future


“2018 marks the tenth year of RDN DWWP program implementation and an Action Plan update will outline the priority actions and mandate for the next 10 years,” states Julie Pisani. “The solid foundation developed in the first 10 years provides a great opportunity to move forward with gained insight, practical understanding of the mechanics of program implementation, and context for the tools available through the new BC Water Sustainability Act. Will other regions take notice and follow in RDN’s footsteps?”

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REGISTER WHILE YOU CAN: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future on Vancouver Island (April 11-12)


Adapting to climate change requires transformation in how we perceive watershed worth and service land. It also requires community empowerment and stewardship sector partnerships with local government. “The symposium will draw attention to the value of ‘citizen science’ and how it can be leveraged to achieve two complementary objectives: educate the local community (public); and provide an impetus for political action that results in implementation of environmental policy at the local and/or provincial level,” stated Peter Law.

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Wetland Mapping Project in the Regional District of Nanaimo: “The unique spatial distribution of wetlands in the RDN contributes to the complex relationship between surface water and groundwater,” states Ashley Van Acken, Project Coordinator


“Projected population growth would significantly increase various land use activities and enhance stress on groundwater resources, therefore it was mandated by the RDN to begin to develop a program that works towards reducing these impacts and increasing regional fresh water sustainability. For this reason, the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute and the RDN have partnered to redirect policy and land use decisions,” stated Ashley Van Acken. “The Wetlands Mapping Project aims to create an updated inventory of wetlands in the RDN.”

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Changing the Way We Do Business in British Columbia: “EAP – the Ecological Accounting Process – is a whole-system view of watersheds that assesses hydrology in order to accurately describe ecological services,” states Tim Pringle


The Nanaimo Water Symposium will showcase the first demonstration applications of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) to assess ‘watershed worth’. “Looking through the ‘worth lens’ has led to a fundamental shift in the EAP approach: place less emphasis on monetization of ecological services; instead, focus on the investment of resources as well as aspirations of motivated stakeholders,” states Tim Pringle.

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“NALT uses the tools of land trusts to promote and protect the natural values of land in the Nanaimo area,” says Paul Chapman, Acting Executive Director


The Nanaimo River Watershed is a principal focus of the Nanaimo Area & Land Trust (NALT). “In 2011, NALT was the catalyst for bringing together a group of stakeholders to create the Nanaimo River Watershed Roundtable,” stated Paul Chapman. “Through the Roundtable, a group of stakeholders in the watershed who in the past might not have convened at the same table, have been able to gather and share information and where appropriate resources for the stewardship of the watershed and all the values, environmental, social and economic it supports.”

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Report on Water Sustainability and the City (Dec 2017): “B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act could increase local governments’ abilities to more sustainably manage local watersheds,” says report author Chistine Mettler, Canadian Freshwater Alliance


The Canadian Freshwater Alliance undertook research to determine what problems are affecting urban watersheds, why they’re happening, barriers local governments face in trying to address them, and how better supports could be developed under the province’s water framework. “Local governments play a large role when it comes to protecting watershed health. However, many watershed professionals working in local government feel stymied in their efforts to protect their local watersheds.” stated Christine Mettler.

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Implementing the Water Balance Approach on Vancouver Island: Desired policy outcomes in transitioning drainage practice from “voodoo hydrology” to the Water Balance Methodolgy would be less flooding, less stream erosion, more streamflow when needed most ….and reduced life-cycle costs and risks!


Andy Reese coined the term Voodoo Hydrology in 2006 to describe drainage engineering and stormwater management practice. “We have for years relied upon common design methodologies and trusted their results. But, should we? It is an inexact science at best. We rely on judgment and guesswork,” states Andy Reese. He is an American water resources engineer & textbook author. “Perhaps, if we make enough estimates of enough factors, the errors will average out to the right answer. This is where voodoo really comes in handy.”

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