There will be 5 concurrent breakout sessions per two rounds offered on Saturday October 1st. Some breakout sessions may be repeated from the morning due to high interest.


Round 1 (10:30-12:00 noon)

1. Managing for Environmental Flows in BC: What’s Needed. Environmental flows—the quantity, quality of timing of water flows required to sustain aquatic ecosystems—are the foundation of ecosystem and watershed health. This session will explore the context of environmental flows in Canada and B.C. and new opportunities to implement a robust environmental flows regime through the Water Sustainability Act.

Leads: James Casey (Senior Freshwater Conservation Specialist, WWF-Canada); Simon Mitchell (St. John River Advisor, WWF-Canada); Nelson Jatel (Water Stewardship Director, Okanagan Basin Water Board); Rosie Simms/Oliver Brandes (POLIS Project)

2. Canadian ICCAs & Biosphere Reserves: Indigenous governance applications for watershed governance innovation. This session explores the application of traditional governance values and principles ‎in a modern context of Watershed governance by looking at emerging trends in collaboration between ICCAs (Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas) and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. These initiatives will be considered through a discussion about reconciliation between diverse communities within Canadian society, and reconciliation between society and the environment.

Leads: Eli Enns (Regional Coordinator, North America ICCA Consortium); Monica Shore (Coordinator, Mount Arrowsmith UNESCO Biosphere Region, Vancouver Island University)

3. Show Me the Money: Sustainable Funding for Watershed Governance. Watershed governance involves many activities that require alternative approaches and innovative funding mechanisms. This breakout will explore many of the needs, challenges, and opportunities regarding funding of watershed governance initiatives, including case examples and lessons learned.

Leads: Steve Litke (Senior Program Manager, Fraser Basin Council); Theresa Fresco (Assistant Regional Manager, Upper Fraser, Fraser Basin Council); Zita Botelho (Sustainable Funding Task Force); Paul Demenok (Chair, Shuswap Watershed Council): & Zafar Adeel (SFU Pacific Water Research Centre)

4. Watersheds as ‘Eco-assets’: Achievements and Challenges in Making Watersheds More Resilient to a Changing Climate. Maintaining and restoring engineered infrastructure as well as natural capital in watersheds—the forests, aquifers, wetlands and foreshores that provide essential services to citizens—will be a paramount strategy in building watershed resiliency to the changing hydro climate regime and increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters. The goal of this session is to identify the lessons learned from a range of experiences in protecting and restoring natural capital in watersheds such as the Town of Gibsons “Eco-Asset Strategy”; the Comox Watershed Protection Plan and the proposed BC Watersheds Sustainability Fund that can inform how an eco-assets framework might be applied to wetlands and other natural assets across B.C.

Leads: Jon O’Riordan (SFU Adaptation to Climate Change Team and POLIS Project); Emanuel Machado (CAO, Town Of Gibsons); Cori Barraclough (Project Manager, Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting); & Al Martin (Director of Strategic Initiatives, BC Wildlife Federation).

5. Planning Together for Healthy Watersheds: Getting Started. This interactive peer-to-peer learning session will explore how to get started on a watershed planning process to protect and share freshwater resources around your community. Watershed Planning Guidebooks developed by CIER provide a guiding framework for building relationships with First Nations and stakeholders within the watershed, and developing a strong planning process. This session will focus on the early stages of planning, including robust community engagement and visioning, and will involve group workshopping and brainstorming so come prepared to roll up your sleeves! 

Lead: Kate Cave (Project Manager/Research Associate, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources)


Round 2 (2:30-4:00 pm)

1. Understanding Applications of Indigenous Water Laws. This session will provide an update on the work of the Indigenous Law Research Unit and explore how Indigenous water laws can be used in conjunction with colonial laws to advance First Nation’s sovereignty and watershed sustainability.

Leads: Deborah Curran (Hakai Professor in Environmental Law and Sustainability, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria); Val Napoleon (Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria; Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance)

2. Making the Federation Work for Water. With responsibility for water shared among federal, indigenous, provincial, territorial and local governments, Canada’s water policy and governance framework has been described as a “bewildering complex jurisdictional maze” that impedes progress on protecting our most precious resource. This panel will bring together a range of perspectives to explore a sustainable water future as Canada’s next visionary national project. Panelists will discuss changing roles and capacities of different levels of government and of non-government actors, international examples of progressive water policy, and opportunities to build on precedent-setting regional initiatives from here at home.

Leads: Tony Maas (Project Lead, Our Living Waters); Merrell-Ann Phare (Executive Director, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources); Oliver M. Brandes (Co-Director, POLIS Project); Zafar Adeel (Executive Director, Pacific Water Research Centre); Michael Miltenberger (North Raven Consulting)

3. From pH to Plankton: Co-Monitoring for Better B.C. Water Knowledge. Community-based organizations and local governments can significantly contribute to increasing understanding of watersheds. This session will explore how “co-monitoring” should be designed and resourced for maximum value-add. The goal of this session is to provide insights to the Province around how co-monitoring and watershed report cards can be supported.

Leads: Dr. Hans Schreier (Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Land & Food Systems, University of British Columbia), Kat Hartwig (Executive Director, Living Lakes Canada), and Celine Davis (Manager, Watershed Science and Adaptation, B.C. Ministry of Environment)

4. Planning Together for Healthy Watersheds: Implementation and Ensuring Better Outcomes. Designed to support those who are already involved in early or mid-stages of a planning process, this interactive peer-to-peer learning session explores how to implement a watershed plan and maintain critical relationships within rights-holders and stakeholders. The session will focus on critical implementation tasks, including developing “State of the Watershed” reports, and establishing implementation leadership. Like the morning, this session will involve group workshopping and brainstorming, so come prepared to share and develop ideas from your communities’ experience. 

Leads: Kate Cave (Project Manager/Research Associate, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources); Nadia Joe (Member, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations; Environmental Scientist)

5. Deep uncertainty: managing for extremes in our future climateCurrent standard practices for engineering design and current benefit-cost based decision frameworks weren’t developed for our new weather and climate realities. If we continue to use historic design practices and simple decision frameworks (e.g. benefit/cost) we are setting ourselves up to fail. In this presentation, we propose common-sense principles and ideas to create a paradigm shift in design thinking. These principles will lead to a more robust future where infrastructure is useful and effective under multiple climate futures.

Leads: Tamsin Lyle (Principal, Ebbwater Consulting); Anna Warwick-Sears (Executive Director, Okanagan Basin Water Board)

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