LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Vancouver Island University is all-in because EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is an idea that can change the game with respect to protection or restoration of riparian integrity along streams. And students are excited to contribute to the change,” stated Graham Sakaki, Manager, Mount Arrowsmith Regional Research Institute

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. A theme dominating the news these days is the shortage of skilled, trained or qualified people. The EAP Partnership is part of the solution in the local government setting. The edition published on April 4, 2023 shared the story behind the story of local governments investing in university youth.

This is the third in a series of articles about tackling the Riparian Deficit. The first introduces the Nested Concepts graphic and the second features Dr. Chris May of Washington State in a conversational interview about his ground-breaking Puget Sound research in the 1990s that correlated land use changes and the consequences for stream and riparian health.


Local governments invest in youth at Vancouver Island University

“It took a 6-year program of applied research to evolve the methodology and metrics so that local governments can tackle the Riparian Deficit. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is the synthesis of Tim Pringle and my knowledge and experience, and reflects what we have learned through a local government blocking blocks process,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“Between 2016 and 2022, we completed 9 case studies in collaboration with13 local government partners in 5 regions of southwest BC. We also built a relationship with MABRRI and involved students in the program. In fact, we relied on students.

“With release of the EAP Synthesis Report in June 2022, the timing was right to embed EAP at MABRRI. Within a matter of months, the EAP Partnership came together. The inaugural meeting was on October 27, 2022. That is the moment when Tim Pringle and I figuratively handed the baton to Graham Sakaki to lead the next phase of EAP evolution.”

Third in a series about the Riparian Deficit

“Two editions ago (March 21, 2023), we drew attention to decade-long investigations by the BC Ombudsperson into failure by local government to employ adequate oversight of stream systems. The consequence is the Riparian Deficit.”

“One edition ago (March 28, 2023), we shone the spotlight on seminal research in the 1990s. Rich Horner and Chris May correlated land use changes and the consequences for stream and riparian health. The EAP Partnership is building on this foundation.”

“This edition about the EAP Partnership offers hope for the future. There is work to be done by local government, university students can do it, and they are excited by the opportunity to make a difference.”

EAP Partnership: Program Context / Goals

“View EAP implementation through the lenses of collaboration, applied research, and a combined annual budget to ‘get the best bang for the buck’.”

“Continue evolving EAP to meet the needs of local governments with a methodology and metrics that result in affordable and effective solutions.”

“Build capacity, pass on oral history, and continuously train next generations of local government staffs to get the job done.”

“There is no room for expensive consultants. With the perspective of time, it is evident that out-sourcing has not served communities well.”

“The staff report to Nanaimo Council put it this way: This collaboration will help ensure that training and expertise is retained within the university, and can be continually developed. It also supports local governments with internal capacity, rather than exporting knowledge to consultants.”

EAP Partnership is a network

“In addition to the “founding three” local governments, other case study partners are “mentor members”. Everyone wants to stay involved with the EAP program, understand what other members of the EAP Partnership are doing, and look for opportunities to either help or support each other.”

“The EAP Partnership also includes UBCM and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. They are co-funders. In 2019, they formalized an expectation that local governments applying for provincial grants would integrate “natural assets” into their asset management processes.”

“EAP shows local governments how to do it through an annual budget for maintenance and management of stream systems and wetlands.”

“The EAP message is timely and local government audiences are receptive to hearing it.”


To read the complete story published on April 4th 2023, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Local governments invest in youth at Vancouver Island University.