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British Columbia Context

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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PORTAGE INLET CUTTHROAT INITIATIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “PICI is a logical continuation of the stewardship approach our fishing club has taken since 2014 in volunteering to improve water quality and recreational opportunities through the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative located in the headwaters of the Colquitz River,” explained Mick Collins, Victoria Golden Rods and Reels Fishing Club


“With PICI we expanded the geographical scope to two entire watersheds in a three- step systematic process. First, raise seed money through an alliance of like- minded angling groups. Secondly, create a ‘consortium’ of non-profit, corporate and small business organizations to plan a comprehensive science- based program and secure grants. Thirdly, work with all levels of government towards a clear goal. In this case habitat protection and restoration for an iconic, but often neglected, species of concern, native Coastal Cutthroat Trout,” stated Mick Collins.

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WILL LIGHTNING STRIKE TWICE? — “The International Year of the Salmon program has the potential to be a game-changer. It is not just about the fish; it is about humankind creating sustainable landscapes for people and salmon,” say Kim Hyatt and Peter Tschaplinski, the federal-provincial science duo who will inform, educate and engage participants in the finale module at the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium


In British Columbia, the iconic salmon is the canary in the coal mine. The multi-year program that is the International Year of the Salmon could be a ‘carpe diem moment’ (i.e. seize the day) for communities. “Significant initiatives and projects directly relevant to sustaining and enhancing wild salmon and their freshwater habitats are under way such as the federal-provincial BC Salmon Innovation and Restoration Fund. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy together with other provincial natural resource ministries are key players,” states Peter Tschaplinski.

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