Bowker Creek Blueprint: Grass-Roots Community Leadership



Four Community Champions

Major breakthroughs happen when decision makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community to create desired outcomes. This is the essence of the Bowker Creek story on southern Vancouver Island. 

Established in 2004, the Bowker Creek Initative (BCI) is precedent-setting in British Columbia. This unique multi-jurisdictional effort brought together local governments, community groups, post-secondary institutions and private citizens. Their collaboration has produced the Bowker Creek Blueprint: A 100-year action plan to restore the Bowker Creek watershed. Over time, a sustained inter-municipal commitment to implementation of plan elements will improve the health of Bowker Creek and its watershed.

Community groups and individuals have taken ownership and responsibility for “telling the story” of the Bowker Creek Initiative. Community buy-in has engendered political and staff support for watershed restoration.  

“The community groups have stepped up and manned the displays at community events; and they have taken information back from the Bowker Table to inform their associations, neighbours and others,” reports Jody Watson, BCI Chair (and Harbours & Watersheds Coordinator for the Capital Regional District). To learn about the contributions of Jody Watson, click on Bowker Creek Initiative celebrates 10-year anniversary; recognizes leadership provided by Chair Jody Watson.


 A Commitment to the Common Good

Through their participation in the BCI, four champions have made a difference to their community:

  • Ian Graeme – catalyst; to learn more about Ian, click here
  • Chris Jensen – applied scientist; to learn more about Chris, click here
  • Soren Henrich – artist; to learn more about Soren, click here
  • Gerald Harris – teacher; to learn more about Gerald, click here

“When I met with them to learn their stories, it was clear that each individual is passionate about the social and ecological wellbeing of the Bowker Creek community,” reported Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, in an article published in 2010.  

“A theme that emerged from my conversations with the four champions can be summed up this way: at the heart of grass-roots community leadership is a commitment to the common good.” 

“Viewed from the outside, the strength of the Bowker Creek Initiative lies in the complementary talents and passions of its de facto leadership team. In a nutshell, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The key is that they believe in the mission: “This is what we want our watershed to look like in 100 years, and these are the steps we will take to get there.”



To download a comprehensive article about community engagement in the Bowker Creek watershed, click on Shared Responsibility: Community Perspectives on Developing and Implementing the 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration.



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