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Vancouver Island Symposia Series: Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate

DOWNLOAD THE “SERIES AT A GLANCE” to learn about the programs for each event in the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Watershed Stewardship in a Changing Climate


“The over-arching message for the Vancouver Island series is applicable to any region. Simply put, it is to focus on improving where people live through implementation of good strategies. These will provide communities with a path to success. There are two guiding principles. First, reconnect hydrology and ecology – because what happens on the landscape matters to streams! Second, shrink our destructive footprint while growing the restorative footprint – because sustainable is attainable,” stated Kim Stephens.

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STITCH TOGETHER ALTERED LANDSCAPES: “We build on the passion and actions of champions by building a culture of stewardship,” states Paul Chapman, Chair, Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series


“The Symposia programs are built around success stories – inspirational in nature, local in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. In short, these precedents can be replicated and/or adapted in other communities. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we look beyond short-term responses and figure out how we will learn from these success stories; and build a sustaining culture of stewardship so that communities do adapt to the new normal caused by COVID 19,” stated Paul Chapman.

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VANCOUVER ISLAND SYMPOSIA SERIES ON WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “The Symposia Series is a building blocks process. Each event builds on the last and points the way to the next,” states Paul Chapman, Series Chair


The rhythms of water have changed faster than climate scientists had anticipated: winters are warmer and wetter; summers are longer and drier. “The symposium format provides a neutral forum for local elected representatives, local government staff, stewardship groups and others to ‘convene for action’ to improve where we live,” stated Paul Chapman. “The Symposia programs are built around success stories – inspirational in nature, local in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. In short, these precedents can be replicated and/or adapted in other communities.”

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: We set out to bring together a diverse and balanced audience at ‘Parksville 2019’. And we succeeded. We informed. We educated. We inspired. The bar is now raised even higher for ‘Comox Valley 2020’, the third in the Vancouver Island Symposia Series.


Close to 200 delegates came from far and wide to participate in the Parksville 2019 Symposium, the second in the symposia series. “Thank you so much for the immense amount of work you do to protect ecosystem services and teach us all about taking responsibility. The Vancouver Island symposium on water stewardship was so inspiring and informative. It was a wonderful experience. I left Parksville feeling hopeful,” stated Councillor Laura Dupont, City of Port Coquitlam.

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WATER STEWARDSHIP & RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: Unifying theme for Vancouver Island Symposia Series is the power of local government collaboration with the stewardship sector


“A goal of restorative land development would be to restore the integrity of the natural water balance. If this work is done right, it should be possible to: first, halt ecosystem decline; and after that, bend the trend-line in an upwards direction,” states Paul Chapman. “Guided by a whole-system, water balance approach, restorative land development would reconnect hydrology and ecology. Connecting dots, then, a key message is that restorative land development results in sustainable stream restoration.”

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PARKSVILLE 2019: ‘Convening for Action’ symposium started strong with Dave Derrick stream restoration workshop and walkabout, and finished strong with Storm Cunningham presentation on restorative development; remarkable 40% response rate by delegates confirmed that the key educational objectives were fulfilled


Attract an audience balanced across sectors. Demonstrate the power of collaboration between the stewardship sector and local governments. Create an environment for sharing and cross-fertilizing experiences. Those were the objectives. “I just wanted to say thanks to you and everyone behind the great symposium! Great job!! It was an exciting few days, and I left feeling inspired and even somewhat empowered about finding ways to protect water. The importance of ecological services really hit home for me. There is lots of great work happening out there – thanks to all the organizers for bringing it all together,” said Laura Beckett,

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NANAIMO 2018: “The vision for restorative development is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated John Finnie, Chair, Nanaimo 2018 Symposium Organizing Committee


“The program was structured as three modules to enable the audience to have an informed conversation,” stated John Finnie. “Context is everything. Hence, two co-keynote presentations in Module A set the context and primed participants for a town-hall sharing and learning session in Module B about restorative development. In the afternoon, a set of four reflective presentations introduced building blocks for achieving Sustainable Watershed Systems.”

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