Watershed Plan

 
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Vision: A healthy watershed that is enjoyed and supported by the community.

With funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Metro Vancouver and Watershed Watch Salmon Society (through the Bullitt Foundation), and the in-kind support of member organizations that comprise the Roundtable, the Roundtable has completed a watershed plan for the lower Coquitlam River. The Roundtable followed the Open Standards for Practice of Conservation, an adaptive management approach that seeks to integrate both ecological and human service (well-being) concepts into conservation planning. Watch the presentations during the launch of the Watershed Plan that took place on April 22, 2015. For more information, view the Summary of Process and Results document and the Implementation 2016 Going Forward report for highlights.

Overview

The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable developed a Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. This was the first of its kind in Canada. The “Step 1” phase of the Watershed Plan was completed during spring 2014 and completion of "Step 2 - Developing an Action Plan" was launched during a Community Roundtable Meeting held on Earth Day, April 22, 2015 in Coquitlam. Through 2016, bolstered by multi-year funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the Roundtable is furthering its work with "Step 3 - Implementation," while it strives to build its capacity and reslience as an organization, to ensure planning actions are implemented for the long term.

Planning Process - Background

Early in its visioning process, the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable recognized the value of developing a watershed plan that characterized existing conditions and potential pressures, and identified strategies needed to ensure the future health of the watershed. Unlike many urban watersheds, the Coquitlam River watershed lacks any formal integrated stormwater management plan. Currently, it is not required for the Coquitlam River watershed under the requirements of Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Management Plan, based on the overall percentage of undeveloped lands. The Roundtable recognized issues with the lower watershed health and desired development of a watershed management strategy. Recognizing a formal process would be difficult and cost-prohibitive, the Roundtable chose the concept referred as the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, which follows a five-step adaptive management cycle that seeks to integrate both ecological and human well-being concepts into conservation planning. This was the first of its kind to be implemented in Canada.

Development of the watershed plan is being led by a Watershed Plan Task Group of the Core Committee, comprised of individuals from the City of Coquitlam, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Fisheries and Ocean Canada, the Urban Development Institute and local stewards.


The Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan

Step I: Conceptualization (Status: Completed Spring 2014)

Identifying What We Care About

Guided by the Roundtable’s vision for a healthy watershed, the Watershed Plan Task Group convened public meetings and workshops since November 2012, and through 2013 to identify the key ecological and human well-being components that would make a healthy watershed. The work involved participants identifying what they care they about most and think is critical for this watershed, and resulted in the following list of ten ecological and human well-being components:
• Coquitlam River system
• Salmon
• Riparian Areas
• Natural Areas
• Human Health and Safety
• Resource Industries
• Livable Communities
• Cultural and Spiritual Values
• Stewardship
• Recreation

Identifying the Pressures Affecting What We Care About

Component health viability was assessed and pressures to components were identified, defined, and rated. The data assembled by the Roundtable found fifteen pressures to our ecological and human well-being components. Following a ‘pressures rating’ exercise to assess the scope, severity and irreversibility for each of the pressures, summary results found four pressures ranked very high or high for key watershed components: hazardous spills, stormwater, invasive species, and development. Another seven fell in the medium rating and the remainder were rated as low. The key pressures found to affect the watershed include:
• Development
• Mainstream Cultural Norms
• Illegal Activities & Vandalism
• Invasive Species
• Recreation
• Stormwater
• Water Extraction

Although ‘Mining’ was rated low as a pressure, it was included in the conceptual modelling process due to the perception that it is considered high pressure to the watershed. This exercise provide the opportunity to test the validity of the pressure ranking exercise and follow the process to address mining in terms of its context to identify contributing factors.

Contributing Factors

Early in 2014, the Watershed Plan Task Group drafted seven conceptual models to describe their understanding of how these key pressures affect key components, and summarized the contributing factors and existing strategies or opportunities and activities that could effect change. The Watershed Task Group were led through a facilitated conceptual modeling process for a set of key pressures to describe the linkages between the components, pressures, drivers and contributing factors that allow pressures to persist. The group also identified opportunities and strategies to affect positive change.

Step II: Action Planning! (Status: Initiated May 31, 2014 - Completed April 22, 2015)

The Action Plan “Step 2” was launched at the community Roundtable Meeting held May 31, 2014. Participants reviewed the work the Watershed Task Group assembled over the past year since the last Roundtable Meeting in June 2013. Participants helped confirm the contributing factors affecting our watershed, identify strategies to address watershed pressures, and set priorities for action through 2014 and beyond. The results of the strategy development exercise are being compiled. Participants reviewed the key pressures and identified strategies that will tackle these pressures. The Action Plan will be used to record goals and measures to determine success. It will include development of specific strategies the Roundtable can implement as feasible and practical to further their goal for improved health of the watershed. The Action Plan Step will proceed through the summer into fall 2014.

Step III: Implementation (Status: July 2016 - present)

The Action Plan "Step 3" now involves the hard work -- implementing action plans for the three key pressures in the lower Coquitlam River watershed: Development, Invasive Species, and Stormwater. Check here again for progress updates!

Background Information

Please refer to the Resources column on the right to obtain information on the progress made to date on the watershed plan. To view the updated Watershed Plan framework, including supporting watershed maps and data, click on Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan – Step 1, September 2013. To view a virtual version of the June 6, 2013 public Roundtable Meeting, please watch a 30 minute YouTube video or read the backgrounder.    

For more information about our watershed plan, please contact Roundtable Coordinator at coordinator@coquitlamriverwatershed.ca, and check this page from time to time for updates!

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

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