With release of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in 2004, a “design with nature” philosophy became an integral part of the branding for green infrastructure, rainwater management and water sustainability in BC. In 2015, the legendary Erik Karlsen created a matrix to explain how to integrate two foundational concepts that provide a path forward for designing with nature: Daniel Pauly’s Shifting Baseline Syndrome (1995); and Richard Horner and Chris May’s Road Map for Protecting Stream System Integrity (1996).
Ecological Accounting Process
SHELLY CREEK PARK IN PARKSVILLE IS A LIVING LABATORY: “The City of Parksville’s decision in the 1990s to create a greenway along Shelly Creek resulted in an ecological legacy for fish and residents,” Peter Law, Past-President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES)
Peter Law has put his time and energy into Shelly Creek, as do many other stream stewards in their watersheds around BC, such that Shelly Creek has become a “living laboratory” for the local Parksville community to enjoy. “Enhanced riparian greenways like Shelly Creek Park allow fish to survive in natural conditions without encroachment issues. That 1990s decision to create an enhanced linear park showed great foresight. The proof of the pudding is that it saved the resident Cutthroat trout population during the heat dome and extreme drought of 2021,” stated Peter Law.
Local governments invest in youth at Vancouver Island University as part of 3-year transition strategy to embed EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process
“There are lots of partnerships that exist for selfish reasons. But the EAP Partnership is selfless; and from all angles. It is a leap of faith for member local governments. Partnership for Water Sustainability commitment to passing the baton is unwavering. Vancouver Island University is all-in because EAP is an idea that can change the game. And students are excited to contribute to the change. In a phrase, the framework for the EAP Partnership is foundational. It is also outcome-oriented,” stated Graham Sakaki.
ROAD MAP FOR STREAM SYSTEM INTEGRITY: The enduring legacy of Richard Horner and Chris May is that they applied systems thinking, investigated whole systems in place, identified four limiting factors, and definitively established their order-of-priority
In the 1990s, Puget Sound research correlated land use changes with impacts on stream system condition. “Timing is everything. You learn that as you go through life. It was good timing because everyone was crying out, what is wrong and what can we do. In the 1990s, we were able to come up with some pretty good data and our conclusions are standing the test of time. Looking back, everything came together at the same time. Rich Horner and my work pointed out the problems. And the early green infrastructure work pointed to potential solutions,” stated Chis May.
The requirement that local governments have an Asset Management Plan addresses the disconnect between land use oversight and direct responsibility for maintenance and management of stream corridor condition. “The oversight question is one that we are addressing with EAP. Local governments have real data to quantify the financial value of streams as physical assets. This metric allows them to put streams into the basket of local government asset management responsibilities,” stated Tim Pringle.
GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE, A UNIQUE MECHANISM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION: “Growing a network based on shared aspirations, and delivering results across organizational boundaries differs in every way from building an organization in any conventional sense.” – Derek Richmond, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
“We knew that intuitively but it helps when a ‘neutral’ party says that. For me, the biggest takeaway from our conversation concerns the ‘what, how and who’ as the current leadership of the Partnership looks ahead to pass the baton.. Using the Ambassadors Program as the example of WHAT; – this was the breakthrough to articulate our need for succession planning and sustainability of the network. The WHO now becomes obvious as the ambassadors themselves. The HOW is now clear too, by looking back at what we were successful with in the past,” stated Derek Richmond.
WATER SUSTAINABILITY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED: “We design and build our communities based on our relationship to water. Our neighbourhoods arise from this relationship,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Watershed Moments Symposia Series
“Beginning in Nanaimo in 2018, the idea for what has now become the Watershed Moments Symposia Series, started as a modest idea to highlight the successes and challenges of water stewardship in the Nanaimo area. Our discussions led to an expanded common vocabulary. Sustainable Service Delivery, Eco-Assets and Eco-Asset Management, the Ecological Accounting Process, Riparian Deficit, and watershed stewardship are some of the words in our new common tongue. The rabid environmentalist, the cold-hearted accountant and the aloof engineer could come together and focus on a common goal – Water Balance,” stated Paul Chapman.
AFFORDABLE AND SUSTAINABLE RE-INVESTMENT IN MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE IS ESSENTIAL: “Too often, thinking stops after the capital investment is made. Yet everyone needs to be thinking in terms of life-cycle costs,” stated Glen Brown, Chair of Asset Management BC
“The core document for asset management for BC local governments is Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. The title is deliberate and important because the ‘function’ and responsibility of Municipal Councils and Regional Boards is Sustainable Service Delivery. The process to support decision making is Asset Management. While much attention and discussion focus on the Asset Management plan or plans, there is much more to the process than just the plan,” stated Glen Brown.
“In this edition, the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Tim Pringle shares the story behind the story of the ‘pattern of discovery’ that led him to the BC Assessment database. In developing the EAP methodology and metrics, he has demonstrated that ‘the parcel’ is the lynchpin for integrating line items for M&M of streams systems in asset management budgets. Three decades ago, the philosophy that ‘use and conservation of land are equal values’ launched Tim Pringle on a career trajectory that has culminated with his breakthrough accomplishment in leading the EAP initiative,” stated Kim Stephens.
TEAM SUNSHINE COAST – REGIONAL APPROACH TO WATER SECURITY: “In the oral history of the Sunshine Coast, I believe the 2021 Watershed Dialogue will be viewed as an important moment, an inflection point, for the regional team approach,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish, Town of Gibsons
“The idea behind the Watershed Dialogue was to bring everyone together around something that we can all agree on as issue – and that is water supply security. Recharge of the water supply aquifer occurs in the rural area above the town. Afterwards, elected representatives from Sechelt said that they now understood the water issue from the Town of Gibsons perspective, recognize how everything is interrelated and why the aquifer must be protected,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish.