From Watersheds to Ditches: Wetlands Workshop for Municipalities Report

We’re happy to announce the release of a report on the Wetlands Workshop for Municipalities, hosted November 19 2013 at the Stanely Park Ecology Society, in Vancouver, BC.  The workshop targeted municipal and regional staff in Metro Vancouver to strengthen the region’s capacity to secure wetlands as green infrastructure for the benefit of human health and nature. You may click here to read the report.

Working from watersheds and focusing down to sites, speakers explored ways to integrate wetland conservation through a variety of tools – from policies to design considerations for built infrastructure.  Speakers presentations included: Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Education Program Coordinator for BC Wildlife Federation, who introduced the context for wetland conservation in the region and supporting initiatives such as the Wetland Stewardship Partnership of BC; Pamela Zevit, Coordinator for the South Coast Conservation Program, who overviewed regional tools to protect species and communities at risk; Kim Stephens, Executive Director at Partnership for Water Sustainability, who presented the Water Balance Methodology for municipalities considering improvements to rain water management; Elke Wind, founder and herpetologist with E.Wind Consulting, who provided stormwater management design considerations for amphibians; and Deborah Carlson, Staff Counsel for West Coast Environmental Law, who focused on legal tools for protecting wetlands.

Taking advantage of the venue and wealth of knowledge in the room, a component of the workshop involved the opportunity to provide feedback for the Beaver Lake restoration public visioning process.  Representatives from Stanley Park Ecology Society and Vancouver Parks Board took participants on a site visit to Beaver Lake (an urban wetland in the heart of Stanley Park), presenting the lake’s history, current issues and concept designs for restoring the site.  For further information on speaker presentations and discussions, please refer to the report.

Planner's Workshop Participants at Beaver Lake
Planner’s Workshop Participants at Beaver Lake
Group Discussion
Group Discussion

With representation from 7 municipalities and districts, a major theme that emerged during the workshop was that wetland conservation in Metro Vancouver requires multiple areas of focus, including regulatory tools, staff, public awareness and engaged council.

The main outcomes from the workshop included:

a) bringing together participants from a range of jurisdictions and municipalities to share challenges, solutions and opportunities for wetland conservation;

b) an opportunity for Stanley Park Ecology Society and the Vancouver Parks Board to showcase enhancement plans for Beaver Lake and receive feedback from local and regional municipalities for their public consultation process; and

c) feedback from participants, which helps direct future workshops and actions for wetland conservation.

The workshop built upon the momentum of several other workshops and initiatives that relate to wetland conservation in the Lower Mainland, including:  several working group workshops for species and ecosystems at risk hosted by the South Coast Conservation Program, a BCWF led municipal workshop in Squamish (2012), and the release of the Lower Mainland’s Wetlands Declaration in May of 2013.

This workshop was held in partnership with Stanley Park Ecology Society.  This workshop was made possible with the financial support of Ducks Unlimited, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Environment Canada, and Shell.

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