Jan 2016

"Whole Watershed Approach" in British Columbia: the St. Mary Lake example (Salt Spring Island)

Watershed system resilience may be built by shifting from traditional silo governance to a more collaborative model, including: strong leadership at a provincial and regional level, rounded out with local participation in monitoring and other stewardship actions. Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority follows a uniquely participatory integrated watershed planning and co-governance process, aimed at responding to change in order to construct sustainable relationships with local watershed resources. “What makes the plan innovative is its foundation in both strong science, and local socioeconomic values”, claims Shannon Cowan. “During the development of the Plan, many perceptions about St. Mary Lake watershed were challenged as new scientific evidence and information became available.”

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Do you wonder how to visually depict Watershed Health for a public audience?

Jody Watson, Nancy Gothard and Julie Pisani are examples of local government partners on Vancouver Island who bring strong enthusiasm and professional skill to fostering collaborative relationships for leveraged outcomes in their work in public education, local data collection, and policy improvements, to promote watershed health in their respective regions. “We each consider it a success when we can achieve more outputs with fewer inputs, and have committed to continue to adopt a sharing approach to their work,” states Nancy Gothard. “Each community has different goals and capacities and each jurisdiction’s educational materials reflect this, while also providing similar messaging and layout elements for consistent branding.”

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Voodoo Hydrology Annual Webinar Series (January 21): Andy Reese shares his wisdom and experience

Andy Reese coined the term Voodoo Hydrology in 2006 to describe the misapplication of science that characterizes drainage engineering and stormwater management practice. He says, As a stormwater community, we have for years relied upon common urban stormwater hydrologic design methodologies and trusted their results. But, should we?” He cautions that: “We must understand that urban hydrology, including newer Green Infrastructure sizing approaches, as commonly practiced, is an inexact science where we are simply trying to get close to the right answer. We are dealing with probabilities and risk, a changing land-use environment, and many real-world factors that can alter the answer. The applications we may encounter can vary radically.”

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"The Drought" was British Columbia's Top News Story of 2015

“The drought that extended this past winter, spring and summer from Vancouver Island to Manitoba and from Mexico to the Yukon suggests that Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime,” stated Kim Stephens. “In terms of the impact on public awareness, 2015 ranks with 2003 as a defining teachable year. Lessons learned will inform how local governments move forward with a “water balance” approach to rainwater management, protection of watershed function and land servicing.”

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