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Parksville Water Stewardship Symposium

IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Tim Ennis will elaborate on the precedent-setting nature of “Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River – Transforming a Decommissioned Sawmill Site into a Valuable Habitat Corridor” (Module B on Day Two – panel vignette)


“The economic return to the community through this project will far outweigh the costs. For example, the restored site will have tremendous potential to absorb floodwaters and provide resiliency to buffer the effects of climate change from more frequent and severe rain storms, sea-level rise, and storm surge events. This will mitigate the flooding-related costs to Courtenay, which have been in the ballpark of $500,000 per event,” stated Tim Ennis.

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BROOKLYN CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Our motto – ‘Uniting Communities’ – speaks to both human and other living creatures that use the Brooklyn Creek corridor and watershed as their home,” states Christine Hodgson, Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (Module C on Day Two of the Parksville 2019 Symposium – a presentation on moving towards restorative development)


“Brooklyn Creek flows through the Town of Comox and the Comox Valley Regional District, with its headwaters in City of Courtenay. Before it enters Comox Harbour, it passes through two golf courses, urban developments, farmland and two parks,” states Christine Hodgson. “Since 2005, the Brooklyn Watershed Society and Town have co-funded annual creek projects totaling $780,000.” The lower corridor is a regional amenity destination, reflecting the beneficial impact of this investment.

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BOWKER CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Agree on the vision. Set the targets. Provide planners with the detail necessary to guide site level decisions as opportunities arise. Then implement,” urges Jody Watson, Capital Regional District (Module C on Day Two of the Parksville 2019 Symposium – a presentation on moving towards restorative development)


According to Jody Watson, the Bowker process demonstrates that four ingredients are essential for a successful creekshed restoration strategy, namely – champions inside and outside government, broad-based collaboration, perseverance by individuals in all walks of life, and sustained commitment over decades by local governments. “Ultimately, Bowker Blueprint implementation hinges on embedding details into operational work plans. This is happening,” states Jody Watson. “The Blueprint is a truly integrated plan to restore watershed function over time.”

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SUSTAINABLE STREAM RESTORATION: Parksville 2019 Symposium organizing committee releases the Detailed Agenda for Day One (April 3) – “Getting It Right by Applying the Whole-System Approach”


“Reconnect hydrology and ecology – what happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams! That is the over-arching message for Day One of the symposium,’ states Paul Chapman of the Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee. “In opening the symposium, I will be reporting out on one of the substantial outcomes of the Nanaimo 2018 Symposium. Galvanized by what they learned, a diverse group of stewardship groups formed a ‘creekshed coalition’, united by water, before leaving the symposium.”

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MODULE A – DAY ONE – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: The unifying theme for three cascading presentations by Kim Stephens, Paul Chapman and Chris May is “Getting It Right – The Whole-System Approach”


The opening presentation by Kim Stephens provides the bridge from the Nanaimo 2018 Symposium. “In leading off Module A, I will be looking back in order to look ahead. This means that I will re-cap the highlights from Nanaimo 2018 in order to frame expectations for Parksville 2019,” states Kim Stephens. “Three key messages from Nanaimo 2018 are: An informed and educated stewardship sector is a catalyst for action. Align efforts to re-establish creekshed function in the mid-Island region. Learn from those who are leading change. These takeaways also apply to Parksville 2019.”

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MODULE B – DAY ONE – PARKSVILLE 2019: A Panel & Town-Hall Session on “Watershed Health and You” features the Englishman River integrated system, to demonstrate that what happens on the land in a watershed (and in its tributary creeksheds) matters to streams


“Each panel member has 5 minutes to tell his or her part of the panel storyline. The objective in ‘presenting at them’ is to prime the audience for town-hall interaction. Hence, the panel presentations must be streamlined and past-paced,” states Kim Stephens. “We want the audience to be champing at the bit to have a conversation to learn more. So, we are asking panel members to apply the Ignite format. The result will be a fast and fun set of presentations. For most speakers, having slides on a timer forces them to be far more concise and thoughtful than they would in any other format.”

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: North Vancouver District’s Richard Boase returns as the moderator for the Parksville 2019 Symposium


Richard Boase brings three ingredients to the role of Symposium moderator: passion, enthusiasm and a sense of humour. “I am very excited to have been asked to continue my moderator role at Parksville 2019.  The momentum and excitement gained in Nanaimo last year has produced results.  I expect to hear from many of our delegates who have been embracing the Hard Work of Hope this past year.  From citizen science to innovative stream restoration methods and hydrology, Parksville 2019 is the highlight of my year,” states Richard Boase.

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MODULE C – DAY ONE – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: The context for a mini-workshop within the symposium is “Make Better Decisions: First, Understand How Rain Reaches a Stream”


“Stewardship groups have local knowledge about local water resources; and are the most invested and most connected to the land base. Participation in streamflow data collection is a way to educate them about creekshed hydrology, in particular correct data collection techniques and their importance for refining the water balance and understanding what the numbers mean. This would create understanding that would enhance their effectiveness as champions for reconnecting hydrology and ecology,” stated Neil Goeller.

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MODULE D – DAY ONE – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: The over-arching theme for the concluding presentation by Nick Leone that provides the bridge to Day Two is “Back to the Future: Reconnect Hydrology and Ecology”


“Opportunities to support continued dialogue, engagement and advancements in innovation across professional disciplines and jurisdictions engaged in water management, conservation and sustainability is of vital importance and genuine benefit,” states Nick Leone. “Going forward we will need to think and act more strategically to account for uncertainty through acknowledging what we don’t know, and variability in what we do know; and develop effective partnerships that get the vision right and produce sound strategies,” states Nick Leone. “

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ENGLISHMAN RIVER WATER SERVICE (ERWS): At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Vaughan Figueira will elaborate on “A Balancing Act – Regional Bulk Water Supply Needs & Environmental Flow Requirements to Sustain Aquatic Resources” (Module B on Day One – panel vignette on “Watershed Health and You”)


“The location of a new water intake site is a major piece of the water supply puzzle. The location is of interest to many in our community and First Nations have a traditional link to the river,” states Vaughan Figueira. “Using a sustainable approach weighing environmental, financial and social factors and in consultation with Department of Fisheries and Oceans, health authorities, provincial fisheries and regulators, the best location for a river intake is just above Highway 19.”

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