RDN Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program

    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Regional District of Nanaimo’s ultimate vision is to support land use decision-making with local water information. In the next decade, the DWWP program will further hydrology-focused efforts and add the new lens of ecosystem financial valuation of natural watershed assets,” stated Julie Pisani, Program Coordinator, Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program

    “The EAP methodology reflects the understanding that landowners adjacent to the stream corridor and setback zone (30 metres on both sides of the stream) and the broader community share responsibility for and benefit from the condition of the stream as well as the financial and ecological value of the land it occupies. The study’s intent was to pilot EAP (the Ecological Accounting Process) in the context of the Millstone River, an important ecological feature in the Nanaimo region, to test the methodology and take away learnings for further refinement in future applications,” stated Julie Pisani.

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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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    SHORT-TERM GRATIFICATION VS INTER-GENERATIONAL LEGACY: “We know what we need to do to adapt to a changing water cycle. Whether and how we deal with uncertainty, manage risk, and adapt to droughts and floods will depend on how effective we are in encouraging a spirit of inter-generational collaboration among decision-makers at all levels within government and with community,” wrote Kim Stephens (Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability) in an Op-Ed published in April 2021

    “British Columbia’s communities have arrived at an ‘inter-generational moment’ in history. For quite some time we have known that climate mitigation is about carbon and climate adaptation is about water. Now what will we do? Sure, the climate is changing at an accelerating rate and we are experiencing an increased frequency of extreme events – drought, fire, wind, flood. However, the situation is by no means hopeless,” stated Kim Stephens. “Through experience, we do know that when we get the water part right, other parts of the puzzle will fall into place.”

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