Category:

Watershed Planning

CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN IMPACT: “There are three different types of flooding that can happen – rain, river and coastal,” says Dr. Tobias Börger, environmental economist, University of Stirling


“Engineered solutions are quite expensive to maintain which means unless there is constant investment they won’t be as effective as they should be in stopping floods,” stated Dr. Tobias Torborg. “However, there are also more natural, non-concrete options called blue and green infrastructure which focus on building vegetative river banks and wetlands – a system of plants and water – and more green areas to reduce flood risk and potential flood impact – because it means rainwater can enter the ground more easily.”

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ENGLISHMAN RIVER ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “The watershed is the base unit for the purposes of a forest company’s landscape level plan,” stated Domenico Iannidinardo, Vice-President of Mosaic Forest Management, when he explained the importance of hydrological balance in a panel session on ‘Watershed Health and You’ at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (watch on YouTube)


“The watershed is the base unit of ecology, certainly on Vancouver Island,” stated Domenico Iannidinardo. “Over 80% of the Englishman River watershed is dedicated to forest management. Applying a landscape level approach makes a working forest work for multiple values. Hydrology and ecology values are managed through conservation agreements, land sales, and cooperation with researchers and communities. A guiding objective is to keep sediment out of streams.”

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LONGER, DRIER SUMMERS ARE METRO VANCOUVER’S DROUGHT MANAGEMENT REALITY: “Our unique problem is that we treat our water supply like a buffet,” stated CBC Radio’s Uytae Lee, The Early Edition’s About Here columnist (June 2019)


“Metro Vancouver studies predict that we’ll see a 56 percent decrease in snow on our mountains by 2050,” stated Uytae Lee. “That means we’ll have much less of that backup supply of water on our mountains. At the same time the region is expecting another 1 million people by 2050. We’re going to need more water. Metro Vancouver predicts that we could see a water supply gap by 2030. What that means is that (water shortage) emergencies, like the drought of 2015 won’t just be rare events, they’ll be the norm.”

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BRITISH COLUMBIA’S NEW CLIMATE REALITY: “If this kind of (extreme hot dry) weather persists, we are going to be in challenging situations as we get into the later part of the summer,” stated David Campbell, Hydrologist & Section Head, BC River Forecast Centre (June 2019)


Long stretches of warm weather this spring and too few rainy days are raising alarms about drought across British Columbia. Drought levels have been raised already for parts of the province and Dave Campbell says the current forecast points to drought conditions province-wide in the coming weeks. In an average year, Campbell says the drought map of B.C. would be the colour green, the code for normal. But most of the province is a bright yellow, the code for dry.

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IAN McHARG: No designer has done more to stoke the public imagination or reshape the professions around the environment. And nothing captures the scope and scale of his legacy better than his landmark book, Design With Nature, published in 1969


At the University of Pennsylvania, Ian McHarg taught a campus-wide course titled “Man and Environment” that brought luminaries like Loren Eisley, Margaret Mead, Lewis Mumford, and Julian Huxley into the department of landscape architecture. These courses gave McHarg the grist he would need to write Design With Nature. It arrived amid a national environmental awakening and immediately became part of the zeitgeist, giving planners, designers, and urbanists a manifesto for their frustrations with America’s lax land use and environmental regulations.

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Australia is the world’s driest continent, but when Europeans first arrived, it also had deep flowing rivers, expansive wetlands, clear creeks and drinkable billabongs


“There is an emerging discourse and practice around cultural flows, that is, water that can contribute to the meanings and practices of Traditional Lore. A greater emphasis on restoring and protecting cultural flows would be a leading innovation in water management,” Bruce Lindsay says. “The Indigenous connection to waterscapes is not just about the water itself. It is about the whole landscape and country and the obligations up and down the rivers.” In the state of Victoria, new water policy approaches have engaged Traditional Owner groups in developing management plans for catchments and major waterways

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“In October, 2018, faculty engaged in water research from a broad range of disciplines across the UBC Okanagan campus welcomed Michael Blackstock to share his theory of Blue Ecology and interweaving Indigenous and western science,” reports Marni Turek


“It is interesting to hear the journey from which Michael’s ideas on water leadership evolved, starting with asking what he refers to as a deceptively simple question, “What is water?”. Seeking out opportunities to enrich thinking and learning around water values is important and the Water Research Network is very appreciative for Michael sharing his truly inspirational views and message of hope for a new attitude… one that embraces a water-first approach,” stated Marni Turek.

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DESIGN WITH NATURE: “In order to increase the resilience of a natural system, it is important to find solutions beyond the level of the city,” stated Kongjian Yu, the internationally renowned Chinese landscape architect who is best known for his “sponge cities”


Kongjian Yu is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design. President Xi Jinping and his government have adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts, floods and so-called “once in a lifetime” storms. “It’s important to make friends with water. We can make a water protection system a living system,” states Kongjian Yu. “The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Our water resources are impacted by climate and land-use change. What we do on the land matters for the water! And involves many parties,” stated Julie Pisani, at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


“The Regional District of Nanaimo demonstrates commitment to watershed initiatives and water sustainability by delivering the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Service with a long-term reliable funding source,” stated Julie Pisani. “This allows us to effectively leverage support from partners, because we are in it for the long came and we are coming to the table with some resources to get started. Not fund the whole thing, but get it off the ground and generate collaboration.”

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Los Angeles County’s Bold Plan for Safe, Clean Water: Collaborate at regional level and plan at watershed level to bring multi-benefit rainwater capture projects to communities


The county is currently developing a plan which would fund construction of cisterns, rain gardens, and other infrastructure to collect and store as much as 100 billion additional gallons of rainwater per year. That’s enough water to meet 20 percent of L.A.’s current demand. “When you look at what we are importing into L.A. County, it’s about 60 percent of our local supply,” Mark Pestrella said. “That’s a problem from an economic standpoint, and from a pollution standpoint.”

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