This project will take a completed Water and Watershed Planning Guide out to BC communities, through regional workshops, to help communities understand the value of planning, navigate the web of available water and watershed planning processes, consider local issues and challenges, and build capacity to develop and implement plans for healthy communities and watersheds. It will also raise awareness and understanding of regional climate impacts and how communities can integrate climate adaptation into watershed plans.
The project is developing a Guide to help communities undertake various types of water and watershed planning in ways that integrate climate change adaptation. The Guide, being developed for local governments, First Nations, stewardship organizations and other community stakeholders, will:
* Describe a variety of water and watershed planning processes available in BC (e.g. Watershed Management Plans, Water Use Plans, Water Management Plans, Water Allocation Plans and other planning processes);
* Profile case studies to share experiences and lessons learned from communities that have used different planning processes;
* Help communities determine the planning processes that are best suited to meet their local needs and circumstances;
* Help communities integrate climate adaptation into water and watershed plans; and,
* Connect planners and others with a wide range of available tools and information resources.
The Guide will be completed and launched in 2011 in both print and online formats. As part of this project, the Council proposes to convene several regional workshops to facilitate dialogue about the state of water and watershed planning, to share experiences and lessons learned, and to build capacity for water and watershed planning among local governments, First Nations, stewardship groups and other individuals and organizations. The workshops will add a more experiential, interactive and applied format for learning about water and watershed planning. The workshops will aim for diverse audiences of 30-50 participants each, with a range of capacities and experiences in watershed planning. Any FSWP funds received would be allocated to workshops entirely within the Fraser River Basin.
Local governments, First Nations, stewardship organizations and other stakeholders have critical roles in the planning and management of water resources and watershed health. However, the roles and responsibilities for water and watershed management are widely distributed, local and regional priorities are diverse, and community capacity to undertake planning is varied. Moreover, many communities in BC are unfamiliar with existing planning processes and do not know which process(es) to use and/or how to integrate water management and climate change adaptation with broader planning processes
The overall goal of this project is to increase the extent and improve the quality of water and watershed planning throughout the Fraser Basin and BC. This will be achieved by promoting the importance of water and watershed planning, developing and promoting information resources, sharing experiences and lessons learned, and by facilitating dialogue to identify challenges, opportunities, gaps and recommendations for water and watershed planning.
Key Issues to be Addressed by the Project:
* The health of watersheds, communities, fish stocks and aquatic habitats depends upon good planning and management of water and other resources within watersheds.
* There is a need to balance human water uses with instream flows for ecological functions;
* There is a need to understand and manage the interactions and inter-dependencies between groundwater and surface water resources;
* There is a need to protect, maintain and/or improve water quality both for human and environmental uses;
* There is a need for enhanced community collaboration within water and watershed planning, including local governments, First Nations, stewardship organizations, water use sectors and other interests; and,
* There is a need to better understand how climate change will impact water resources in different regions of BC and how climate adaptation can be integrated within water and watershed planning processes.
All of these issues can benefit from, and be resolved through, good planning and management at local and regional scales. The Water and Watershed Planning Guide is intended to support communities in water and watershed planning through the following mechanisms:
* Improving awareness about these issues;
* Strengthening the rationale and support for good planning; and,
Building capacity to better equip communities and stakeholders with the means to undertake water and watershed planning and implementation.
Increase awareness about the importance of water and watershed planning in helping to manage a variety of water-related issues, including climate change adaptation
Increase interest in, and capacity for, water and watershed planning among local governments, First Nations, stewardship organizations and other stakeholders
Convene and facilitate opportunities for dialogue and capacity building among local practitioners to discuss and strengthen local and regional water and watershed planning processes
A draft Guide is being prepared, reviewed and refined in the 2010/11 year. A multi-interest Advisory Committee is providing guidance for the project.
Activities in the 2011/12 year include the following:
* Once the content for the Guide has been finalized, production will proceed including graphic design and printing of the hard copy version.
* The online version will be developed, which will include additional details and resources beyond the scope of the print version. A web programmer will be retained to develop the web version.
* Fraser Basin Council regional staff will assist with the planning and coordination of the regional workshops and will strengthen workshop participation through their regional networks.
* Planning and design of regional workshops will be undertaken including securing venues, arranging catering and audio-visual requirements, developing the program and securing speakers. Speakers will include the developers of the Guide as well as individuals from the regions that have been involved in water and watershed planning processes. Where appropriate, the workshops may be coordinated with other relevant events to minimize travel and maximize value for participants. There will also be opportunities within the workshops for local participants to focus on regionally relevant issues and planning initiatives.
* The print and online versions will be launched and the regional workshops will be announced with a media release, email notifications, and workshop invitations to target audiences such as local governments, First Nations, stewardship groups, professional associations, list serves, etc.
* Workshop registrations will be tracked and logistical details will be finalized.
* Workshops will be held, the Guide will be distributed, and the workshop notes will be recorded.
The final workshop report will be prepared and distributed to workshop participants as well as other interested organizations via email and websites
Planning plays a critical role in how communities define their vision of the future and their path to achieve that vision. Planning can be reactive and responsive to emerging issues and challenges that had not been foreseen. Planning can also be proactive in anticipating challenges and in advancing a broader vision and desired future. When it comes to communities and watersheds, there may be as many different approaches to planning, as there are communities.
The Guide and the workshops will contribute to healthy watersheds (and in turn, the sustainability of Fraser Basin salmonids) by highlighting the value, purpose and benefits of water and watershed planning, the context for communities in British Columbia, and the current framework for water and watershed governance. Heightened awareness and understanding will support and enable increased action within BC communities.
The Guide and the workshops will contribute to building community capacity by outlining the intents and purposes of various planning processes and helping communities to identify which process(es) may be best suited to meet their needs, priorities and circumstances. Key issues and themes that have emerged from literature, from advisors, from interviews with communities and from the case studies will be shared as lessons learned, enabling communities to build a broader understanding about the dynamics of watershed planning. A compendium of other relevant guides, toolkits, handbooks and web-based tools will also be included in the Guide and shared at the workshops to strengthen the capacity-building benefits of the project.