JOIN US FOR A WATERSHED MOMENT: Parksville 2019 / Second Annual Vancouver Island Symposium / Water Stewardship / Restorative Development / April 2-3-4

Note to Reader:

The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed does matter to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Yes, communities can decrease their destructive footprint while increasing their restoration footprint. The Parksville 2019 Symposium will celebrate local government initiatives that are ‘getting it right’. Follow the leaders!

Join us in the City of Parksville on the east coast of mid-Vancouver Island for a field day on April 2, followed by a 2-day symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate on April 3rd and 4th. The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development, respectively.

High profile and adverse consequences of BC’s ‘professional reliance model’ have been well-publicized in the natural resource management sector. In response, and as part of its platform to update stewardship of natural resources, the provincial government recently introduced legislation to implement a Professional Governance Act. The legislation provides for an Office of Professional Regulation and Oversight. These developments also provide the impetus for a parallel conversation in the local government sector about expectations, desired outcomes, performance and accountability.

Not generally well-understood are the trickle-down consequences, experienced over the past decade, of ‘professional reliance’ in the local government sector. Looking ahead, reinvigoration of the provincial guidance and oversight function is essential to help local governments truly be effective in moving B.C. communities towards restorative land development and ‘get it right’. This is anticipated to be a central theme at the Parksville 2019 Symposium.

Local governments are implementers. This means they can be change leaders. With a renewed provincial commitment of resources, restorative development would be achievable. The good news is that  starting with Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan in 2008 – a provincial policy, program and regulatory framework is already in place to bring this desired outcome to fruition.

Parksville 2019: Second Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate 

To Learn More:




FUTURE UPDATES: This e-Newsletter is broad-brush in scope in painting a picture of the field day and 2-day symposium. In the coming weeks and months, we will delve into the details of the cascading program to inform, educate and establish expectations.

Cross-border collaboration expands our horizons and connects us with a larger body of experience!

Each day of the event features a prominent headline speaker from the United States. Each individual is a member of the Partnership’s extended network of contacts.

Dr. Chris May, Storm Cunningham and Dave Derrick each brings something relevant in the way of experience that will inform the conversation that we have initiated in British Columbia.

Sharing is a two-way street because they too can learn from their exposure to our British Columbia experience. Cross-fertilization of experience results in an enhanced understanding of issues and solutions.

Chris May, Storm Cunningham and Dave Derrick will be in Parksville for all three days of this ‘watershed moment’and will be accessible to symposium attendees to share their wisdom and experience in one-on-one conversations.

How will communities ‘get it right’ as land develops and redevelops?

The Parksville 2019 Symposium is a milestone event on a multi-year ‘convening for action’ journey that commenced in 2004 with release of the Water Sustainability Action Plan. The genesis for Parksville 2019 was the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium, held in the City of Courtenay. The impact was transformational. It inspired the 2018 Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate, held in the City of Nanaimo.

Nanaimo 2018 was a ‘call to action’. The theme? Build on the good outcomes that flow from local government and stewardship sector collaboration! It introduced a vision for ‘restorative land development’ that would re-establish creekshed function. And it energized the audience with this challenge: How will communities ‘get it right’ through collaboration as land develops and redevelops?

A decade of effort on Vancouver Island, by partnerships of local governments and community stewards, is demonstrating success on the ground where it matters. They are on a pathway to reconnect hydrology and ecology. Parksville 2019 will celebrate success stories are that characterized by three attributes: commitment, collaboration and the ‘hard work of hope’.

Reconnect hydrology and ecology – what happens on the land in the creekshed does matter to streams!

Understand how ‘changes in hydrology’ (water quantity) have consequences for stream ecology. 1) Development reduces the capacity of the landscape to absorb water. 2) Thus, more flow volume in creeks when it rains, and little or no flow during a drought.

In the 1990s, Chris May’s seminal research defined the relationship between land use change and stream impacts. His subsequent local government work has allowed him to put theory into practice. Under his leadership, Kitsap County has applied the Whole-System Approach to develop its strategy for watershed retrofit and rehabilitation.

Chris May’s research findings influenced and are integrated into the Water Balance Methodology that is the foundation for Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.

Yes, we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restoration footprint!

Everywhere one turns these days, some form of the words “renewal”, “restoration” or “regeneration” appear. Storm Cunningham was the catalyst of that global “re” trend when he published The Restoration Economy in 2002. This was followed by reWealth in 2008.

He has been called “the world’s thought leader on community revitalization and natural resource restoration”. To learn more, watch Storm Cunningham’s TEDx Talk at

“We don’t fully understand complex systems, so humility and adaptive management are needed to restore nature, and to revitalize cities,” states Storm Cunningham.

An Outdoor Classroom on Sustainable Stream Restoration at Shelly Creek (Apr 2)

Dave Derrick had a 35-year career with the US Army Corps of Engineers where he held the position of Research Hydraulic Engineer in the Coastal and Hydraulics Lab.

Dave has had the opportunity to model ideas in the lab and then implement solutions in the field. He developed and refined dozens of cost-effective streambank protection techniques, including different types of Bendway Weirs.

He enjoys working with community-based groups. His focus is on “using nature’s materials”. Through 150-plus workshops over the past decade, he has taught over 8,000 individuals.

A true innovator in Potomology (the study of the behaviour of rivers), his wealth of hands-on experience encompasses over 10,000 hydraulic structures in rivers and streams, in every American state, and under every possible situation.