Building Community Collaboration for Water Protection – Roundtable member presents City view

 

At a recent Living Waters Rally, held from September 27 - 29, 2016, in Vancouver by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, the City of Coquitlam’s Environmental Services Coordinator, Margaret Birch, and active participant in the Roundtable, presented the municipal perspective on Strength through collaborative partnerships, specifically showcasing the benefits to collaboration from creating the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable.

Municipalities are constantly facing the challenge of addressing the immediate needs of people, while sustaining a healthy environment and future well-being. Within this context, it is important to understand that healthy watersheds provide communities with key ecosystem services, such as clean water, flood control, climate regulation, abundant fish, wildlife, and more.  These ecosystem services also provide humans with important cultural, spiritual and health benefits that contribute to a healthy community.

The City of Coquitlam collaborated with Kwikwetlem First Nation and the City of Port Coquitlam to help form a collaborative partnership of sectors that ultimately led to the formation of the Roundtable in 2011. Margaret’s panel presentation included an overview about how the Roundtable was formed, its recent years’ success in bringing about the development of a unique Watershed Plan, and how an adaptive planning approach, called the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, is proving effective in advancing watershed governance across jurisdictions and on a watershed-wide scale. This progress has been made possible by the City engaging with all the stakeholders in the Coquitlam River watershed.

The Roundtable now serves a collective and balanced voice of the diverse Coquitlam watershed sectors, which is valued by the local municipalities. Councils are becoming better informed on environmental issues from all points of view, permitting them to make better decisions.

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance hosts a Living Waters Rally every two years, this 2016 conference being their third Biennial event. This year’s gathering aimed to collectively identify top priorities needed to achieve progress towards the goal of all waters in good health by 2030.

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Our Roundtable Watershed Coordinator can be reached at coordinator@coquitlamriverwatershed.ca

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