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Convening for Action in 2020

VALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: “A common history of land uses on the east coast of Vancouver Island and other regions in BC has been the fragmentation of the riparian network in both rural and urbanizing landscapes,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, when reflecting on application of the Ecological Accounting Process to Shelly Creek


“Over decades of disturbance, a landscape’s ecological links/services decline as it’s economic (land use) linkages increase. Thus, a descriptive way to visualize these outcomes is this: riparian ecosystems (networks) have become reduced to riparian zones as shown on the maps of today,” stated Peter Law. “An alternative term, riparian network, could also be used to describe a system composed of a physical stream channel and adjacent riparian (vegetated) corridor. This system provides a critical ecological function in linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a watershed or creekshed.”

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COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Reimagining the 3rd Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate as a “Video Trilogy Series on Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology” for delivery via YouTube on November 19 / November 26 / December 3


“In the age of COVID, and at moment in time when in-person public gatherings are not allowed by British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer and the only option is to go virtual, the challenge for everyone involved in delivering outreach-type programs is to provide participants with a unique and interactive experience,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate. We hope to point the way for making a difference through collaborative leadership. We define success as participants will be inspired to action.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT IN THE COWICHAN VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT: “We are still at the front end of our asset management journey, but we have been able to adapt to this unexpected change in operating conditions brought on by the global health pandemic,” stated Austin Tokarek, Asset Coordinator


The Strategic Asset Management Plan includes activities that will further enhance the resiliency of the CVRD’s infrastructure and the efficiency of service delivery. One of these priorities is the defining of key business processes and workflows, and the implementation of an AM software system. The benefits of clearly defined processes and workflows becomes abundantly clear when staff are not able to interact face-to-face on a daily basis,” stated Austin Tokarek.

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COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP & CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through the Portage Inlet Cutthroat Initiative.  Do not be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals,” stated Heather Wright, Research Coordinator, World Fisheries Trust


The catalyst for grass-roots action in Portage Inlet was the continuing decline in cutthroat and coho numbers in the Colquitz River and Craigflower Creek. Both systems flow into Portage Inlet and Gorge Waterway in the heart of Victoria. “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through PICI and will continue to be as we progress into the future,” stated Heather Wright. “Each partnership we have has brought something to the table, be it money, expertise or that one connection we were missing to get the job done. The moral of this article is: don’t be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals!”

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “Campbell River’s Rising Seas strategy is our roadmap for coping with a climate change impact. Throughout the planning process, youth outreach was a central pillar,” states Chris Osbourne, Acting Manager of Long Range Planning


“The youth of Campbell River cannot be held responsible for any of this. Yet it is they who will live longest with the ever-worsening effects, and their unborn successor generations yet more so. For this reason we thought any discussion on sea level rise probably ought to include these youths. Backed by a Council policy that states that at least 10% of public input on City projects should be from youth we set out to do just that. The City’s Youth Action Committee was involved at several points,” stated Chris Osborne.

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THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN US TIME TO PAUSE, REFLECT AND SEIZE THE MOMENT: “The French word ‘prevoyant’ has no English equivalent. It is the power of a prepared mind to act upon chance events in a world of deep uncertainty,” wrote George Hanson, President & CEO, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance


“Being ‘stuck in the past’ has always been a liability. Now, as the pace of everything accelerates, it is logical to expect disruption. It is prudent to be nimble and responsive. Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David Hackett Fischer wrote that prevoyant is also ‘learning to make sound judgements on the basis of imperfect knowledge; taking a broad view in projects of large purpose; and thinking for the long run’. It has been said that ‘providence favours a prepared mind’. In business, in life, in community, it has always been beneficial to look ahead. ” stated George Hanson.

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FINANCIAL VALUATION OF SHELLY CREEK ECOLOGICAL SERVICES IN THE CITY OF PARKSVILLE AND REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO: “We can now see how our ongoing investments, as stream stewards, not only can improve the worth of a creekshed’s biophysical functions, but also improve riparian land values as well,” stated Peter Law, President, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES)


“The members of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society have devoted over 10 years of time and energy towards restoring the health of Shelly Creek for salmon and trout. Our volunteers have contributed over $90,000 to the ‘maintenance’ of the creek and its’ fish populations. That is like spending $10,000 per year to support monitoring of water quality, flow gauges, riparian planting, downstream smolt trapping and of course, community engagement! We do it for free, because we can see this creek needs help,” stated Peter Law.

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COURTENAY’S ASSET MANAGEMENT BYLAW DECISION: “Once the City committed to ‘uprating’ our Policy to a Bylaw, it was critical to carefully draft the content so it would rest upon a solid legal foundation,” stated David Love, the City’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives


“We realized that our AM Policy was inadequate because it described practices and processes aligned with Operations rather than an exercise of Council’s statutory authority. A policy is a general statement of objectives to guide decisions on a particular matter. A policy may be readily altered by Resolution or at Council’s discretion, or even disregarded in decision-making with little or no legal or political consequence. Therefore, it was critical to carefully draft the content so it would stay within Council’s authority, and be consistent with existing legislation and our own bylaws and policies,” explained David Love.

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COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Originally scheduled for April, the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium was initially postponed to October when British Columbians were asked by the Provincial Health Officer to go into self-isolation and comply with physical distancing requirements when in group settings


“The directive from British Columbia’s Chief Medical Health Officer is to cancel events where more than 50 people would be attending. The anticipated registration for Comox Valley 2020 (CV20202) was trending to about 200. In light of that directive, the CV2020) has been postponed until October. We are pleased to announce that the organizing team has secured venue dates at the Filberg Centre,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series, on March 16, 2020.

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WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our vision is to transform an eco-liability into an eco-asset in the heart of the K’ómoks Estuary,” states Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping (Announcement #7 in March 2020 for the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium – which was postponed and then reimagined due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“Pre-1950 aerial photographs confirm that Kus-kus-sum was indeed a forested streamside area in the K’ómoks Estuary with side-channels connecting it to the adjacent Hollyhock Marsh,” stated Caila Holbrook. ”The restoration process will include removing built infrastructure from the site, removing fill, re-grading the topography of the area, planting native species and removing the steel wall. Nature will come back; it is already trying to – as trees and salt marsh plants are poking through the 1 foot deep rebar-reinforced concrete.”

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