Category:

Protecting Water Quality and Ecology

GENERATIONAL AMNESIA: “As each new generation inherits the world, vital knowledge is forgotten. Generational amnesia has profound effects on the way that we see the world. And unfortunately, all of us come to suffer from it no matter how young or old we are,” wrote Richard Fisher, BBC Senior Journalist and member of the BBC Future team of writers (June 2021)


“Every generation is handed a world that has been shaped by their predecessors – and then seemingly forgets that fact. New generations have a habit of collectively forgetting how positive social change comes about through the dogged activism of minorities once shunned. But if the most recent generation is forgetful about the positive steps and changes handed to them by their forebears, then so too can they fail to notice how those predecessors have damaged the world too,” stated Richard Fisher.

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GROUNDWATER LICENSING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Water Sustainability Act removed the wild west free-for-all that had prevailed when capturing groundwater under common law was deemed a right,” stated Donna Forsythe, a former civil servant in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in an Op-Ed published by the Vancouver Province newspaper and co-authored with Mike Wei and Ben Parfitt (June 2021)


“The old regime effectively ignored the risks of aquifers being depleted and groundwater pumping affecting stream flows. Now, groundwater users play by the same rules as surface users who withdraw water from rivers, streams and lakes and have long been required to have licences. The new law exempts homeowners using well water or groundwater for domestic purposes from applying for licences, but requires all “non-domestic” groundwater users — mining companies, pulp and paper companies, farmers, water bottlers and others — to do so,” stated Donna Forsythe.

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IN MEMORIAM: “Kim Hyatt’s profound understanding of the complexities of ecosystems and the myriad interconnections in our greater environment that sustain all life including humanity was rare, insightful, and valued,” stated Dr. Peter Tschaplinski, a peer in the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, when he reflected on how the late Dr. Kim Hyatt would translate scientific knowledge into understandable, relatable terms (June 2021)


Kim Hyatt made significant contributions to DFO in significant and lasting ways, including his work on the Wild Salmon Policy, advice relating to salmon restoration and recovery under the Columbia River Treaty and climate change impacts to salmon populations. His passion for discovery and excitement for innovation resulted in a number of long-standing relationships with First Nations and external organizations—relationships that Kim built on trust, commitment, and honest communication.

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CREATING SAFE CITIES FOR SALMON: “Using the Salmon-Safe Urban eco-certification as an evaluative framework for policy comparison, the study showcases the many efforts being made across the Lower Fraser region to develop cities more sustainably with wild salmon populations in mind,” reported Andrea McDonald, author of the joint research study by the Pacific Water Research Centre and the Salmon-Safe BC team (May 2021)


“Protection of salmon and their habitat from the adverse impacts of urban development is a challenging task that requires an all-of-government response. Findings from this research highlight the variable involvement and guidance provided from the higher levels of government in Canada. As one expert noted, the province must provide more clarity on direct regulatory obligations which have compliance initiatives in place to enforce them. Inadequate statutory foundations and enforcement of current regulations have only hindered the implementation of nature-based solutions to protect salmon in cities,” stated Andrea McDonald.

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DOING SCIENCE DIFFERENTLY IN LOCAL CREEKSHEDS: “Stewardship groups are such an underutilized resource right now. My Masters research looked at how governments can better collaborate with stream stewardship groups on environmental monitoring initiatives,” stated DFO’s Nikki Kroetsch, Community Engagement Coordinator with the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre in West Vancouver


“According to the federal, provincial, and local government employees and the stewardship group volunteers I interviewed for my Masters research, data collection is currently siloed and unorganized. Many people are collecting essentially the same data, but because there’s very little communication and data sharing going on between them, it means a lot of duplicated efforts, which is a huge waste of resources given that monitoring is often time consuming and expensive to conduct,” stated Nikki Kroetsch.

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RECONNECT HYDROLOGY AND STREAM ECOLOGY BY DESIGN: “Streamkeepers and habitat volunteers are pleased to see that our local governments are not only supporting water stream maintenance, they are now PROMOTING it,” stated Bernie Heinrichs, Past-President of the Island Waters Fly Fishers, and a member of the Project Advisory Committee for the Millstone River application of the Ecological Accounting Process


EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, satisfies a local government need for a financial methodology and metrics for valuation of ecological assets. Most importantly, EAP interweaves the financial, social and ecological perspectives within a single number. This number is defined as the Natural Commons Asset (NCA) value. The end goal is an annual budget for ‘maintenance and management’ of stream systems. The NCA value puts the discussion of natural assets (stream systems) on an equal footing with constructed assets (physical infrastructure).

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RECONNECT HYDROLOGY AND STREAM ECOLOGY BY DESIGN: “Changes to hydrology and riparian condition due to changes in land use are the top two factors influencing system integrity,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, in an article published in the Winter 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter


“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, provides local governments with a tool to establish benchmarks for maintenance and management of stream corridor systems in the built environment. The Partnership’s desired outcome is that local governments would apply the EAP methodology and metrics to determine real numbers for budget planning purposes. Then inter-departmental conversations would have a starting point for operationalizing M&M of natural assets within Asset Management Plans,” stated Kim Stephens.

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JOURNEY FROM STREAMKEEPER TO ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE: “Salmon brought me a strong sense of community, something I had never really felt before. I felt protective of what we share, and that the next generation deserves it as much as we do,” stated Laura Dupont, President, Lower Mainland Local Government Association


“Salmon pulled me into appreciating nature on a whole other level. I could not learn enough about them. They are the most fascinating and resilient creatures. One cannot underestimate their importance to Indigenous communities and coastal ecosystems. Next step was to join a watershed group and become a streamkeeper, and then a river protector. Salmon led me to learn more about, and fall in love with, the flora and fauna of the BC Coast. I will always be eternally grateful to live here,” stated Laura Dupont

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INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: Reconnect People, Fish, Land and Water – a unifying theme for module #3 in the Watershed Moments Virtual Symposium (livestreamed on YouTube; December 3, 2020)


“From an International Year of the Salmon perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur. From this perspective the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking,” stated Dr. Kim Hyatt.

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FINANCIAL VALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES AND WORTH: “As a result of alterations to the hydrology of the creekshed, the Shelly Creek ‘riparian ecosystem’ has been reduced to a number of ‘riparian zones’ as defined in regulations. We view this finding as one of the key takeaways from the Shelly Creek demonstration application of the Ecological Accounting Process,” stated Tim Chair, EAP Chair


“The Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) considers use and conservation of land to be equally important values. Historically, land use and property development in our communities have been given priority over ecological systems such as streams. Too often the result has been remnant ecological services that fall far short of the benefits that these natural commons can provide. The research findings suggest that the diminution of stream functions gradually will draw the attention of property owners and the community to the ‘no harm’ rule in land appraisal.,” stated Tim Pringle.

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