LIVING LAKES CANADA – COLLABORATING TO PROTECT WATER IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “If we don’t build this water balance approach to support subsequent water budgets, we’re not going to be prepared for what potentially could be an exponential drop in water supply,” states Kat Hartwig, Founder & Executive Director, Living Lakes Canada
Climate change impacts and the need for increased water monitoring to fill important data gaps have been well documented in several studies over the past decades. “One of the things we were interested in was looking at how we could fill those data gaps and how we could support local government and Indigenous water monitoring priorities because there are such limited resources for collecting and sharing data. So we set out to build an open source data hub. Now we’ve got the platform built, we’re training groups to upload their data, and we’re receiving feedback from groups and provincial and local governments to ensure we’re supporting their needs,” stated Kat Hartwig.
BEING IN BALANCE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION WITHIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: “Staff gives good advice and Council makes the decision – the operative phrase is a respect-based relationship,” stated Peter Steblin, Chief Administrative Officer with the City of Coquitlam
“One needs good administrative expertise to advise and serve the political arm. At the same time, the political arm has to trust the administrative arm. The two arms must work together. Council buy-in follows when Council fundamentally respects the work that Staff does. In Coquitlam, respect has grown over time. It would not be possible without a really wise, good servant’s heart within the Council table,” stated Peter Steblin. “An airplane analogy is one way to describe the relationship. If either wing is not functioning properly, the plane will crash.”
WATERSHED MOMENTS, THE VIDEO TRILOGY: “Passion is the glue for collaboration when everyone shares a common set of values and a vision for reconnecting people, land and water,” states Paul Chapman, Chair, Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate
“Producing three videos in just six months required an incredible commitment by all 15 members of the Watershed Moments Team . As I reflect on all three modules in the series, the thread that attaches them all is the different layers of responsibility that team members represent. Yet most team members only knew a few of the other members when we began our sprint to create the series. Through the shared experience of doing something bold and original, everyone connected and bonded in a way that would not have happened without COVID,” stated Paul Chapman.
CONVENING FOR ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If we are going to tackle the huge challenge that is the climate emergency, then we are absolutely going to need to work with nature and put aside the idea that we can dominate it,” stated Laura Dupont, President, Lower Mainland Local Government Association
“Salmon brought me a strong sense of community, something I had never really felt before. That came as an unexpected surprise. I felt protective of what we share, and that the next generation deserves it as much as we do. I got political and ran for city council. I talked to everyone who would speak with me and found out that a lot of people shared those values. It was rare to come across someone who didn’t care about the parks and trails and nature we are so fortunate to have right outside our door,” stated Laura Dupont.
“Our goal was to design a course to have appeal and applicability for professionals from diverse disciplines seeking to understand green infrastructure’s potential for managing the impacts of urbanization and climate change,” said Dr. Joanna Ashworth, Simon Fraser University
“Whether it’s the community coming together to build rain gardens or adopt catch basins, dedicated volunteer streamkeepers who put in countless hours restoring and protecting important salmon habitat, or government decision-makers and employees enacting policies, everyone has a role to play in advancing Green Infrastructure implementation. There’s more work to be done as we collectively travel along a path to find upstream, proactive solutions to climate change impacts and growing urban centres,” stated Joanna Ashworth.
“I have re-evaluated how I discuss my own research. I was taking some of the terminology for granted as it is repeated in the literature time and time again but words like ‘stormwater’, ‘rainwater’ and ‘drainage’ can have such powerful unconscious effects on how you interpret the discussions and they can mean different things to different stakeholders in the system. These terminology choices ultimately have a large effect in science communication and the message you intend to convey,” stated Charles Axelsson.
The Partnership for Water Sustainability vision is to nest EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, within a university program for training the next generation of land use professionals
“Our collaboration with regional partners is guided by a vision that working together we can increase the environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability of the biosphere region. VIU students have assisted with working on all the Ecological Accounting Process case study projects that have been completed in partnership with MABRRI. Both undergraduates and graduates have assisted with these projects,” stated Graham Sakaki.
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: Reconnect People, Fish, Land and Water – module #3 in the Watershed Moments Virtual Symposium (livestream 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.
“In celebrating the First Decade of the Partnership for Water Sustainability as a legal entity, we paint a picture of the multi-decade journey. The strokes are broad-brush. There is so much more to the story, with still more to come in the years ahead. When reading Our Story, the reader will learn that the combination of a guiding philosophy, committed team members and timely actions built the foundation for The Partnership’s record of success,” stated Kim Stephens.
Reconnect People, Land and Water in Altered Landscapes: Embrace Shared Responsibility & Create a Legacy
“The Partnership’s guiding philosophy is to help others be successful. When they are successful, we are successful. The Partnership is led by individuals who bring experience, knowledge and wisdom to the Partnership roundtable. This enhances the effectiveness of the Partnership as the hub for a convening for action network. We keep raising our game. And so do our collaborators. Shared successes leads to more successes. We judge progress by the distance travelled, not the distance remaining. We are optimistic about the future,” stated Kim Stephens.