Monthly Archives: January 2014

POLIS Project releases major new report on watershed governance in B.C.

from the Polis Project on Ecological Governance:

Report CoverReleased today, the new research report A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia focuses on current water governance issues in B.C. and offers a path forward for how the Province could transform its current approaches to decision-making to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future.

“The report comes at a critical time as B.C. prepares to replace its outdated Water Act with new legislation in the 2014 spring session,” says co-author Oliver M. Brandes, co-director of the POLIS Project. “The provincial government has led significant discussions about water management and policy reforms. This report takes the discussion a step further by addressing the complex details of who makes the decisions, and how decision-makers can be held to account for the benefit of B.C.’s fresh water.”

The Blueprint draws on leading examples of watershed governance from across Canada, and around the globe, and applies them to the B.C. context.

“It sets out a strategic 10-year program and proposes nine winning conditions to ensure success,” says co-author Dr. Jon O’Riordan, POLIS advisor and former deputy minister of B.C.’s Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. “Recognizing the unique institutional, legal, cultural, and geographic challenges of B.C., we provide a clear timeline for successfully moving towards watershed governance to improve ecological resilience across the province.”

Download a copy of A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia.

Kettle River Q&A: What’s next for the Watershed Plan?

Last May I wrote about the keys to successful watershed management – how planning groups need to work hard to build understanding, support, and capacity through the entire planning process.

Now, the RDKB and the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group are building the foundations for long-term success of the plan by creating a flexible framework for coordinating and funding ongoing watershed management activities.

The details of this arrangement are still in the works as the Advisory Group reviews Discussion Paper 2, “Working Together: Growing Our Capacity for Watershed Stewardship in the Kettle River Watershed.”

But I can share what we are up to for the next six months. We aim to have the final draft Plan complete by the end of June, with an official launch scheduled for early Fall. That means a lot of work on our part, and a lot of chances for you to have your say.

Between now and April, we will release four short discussion papers on the website. These will include Discussion Paper 2 as well as papers on sustaining water supplies and improving water conservation, improving floodplain and riparian management, and encouraging responsible recreation and amenity development.

A healthy riparian area in Sandner Creek, Gladstone Provincial Park
A healthy riparian area in Sandner Creek, Gladstone Provincial Park

Each of the discussion papers provides an overview of the issues, key planning concepts and draft strategies and actions that the Advisory Group designed to accomplish the goals and respond to the issues that were identified in “Discussion Paper 1: A Vision for the Kettle River Watershed.”

To get your ideas on those topics, we will hold two special meetings: Water Conservation, Storage, and Agricultural Water Issues on March 11, and Floodplain & Riparian Management on April 15. Stay tuned for more details on those events.

After getting feedback on the discussion papers, we will prepare a draft plan for you to review by the middle of May. The plan will be relatively short and action-oriented, building on the discussion papers with recommendations, strategies and actions for managing the watershed in the coming years. Two open houses will provide you an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft. All public events will be advertised widely with details posted to

We are pleased to welcome Roly Russell, Electoral Area ‘D’ Director, as the new Chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Group. Grace McGregor, who is now the Chair of the RDKB Board of Directors, continues as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Group. Director Bill Baird (Area ‘E’) remains as Chair of the Steering Committee, which is composed of the RDKB Directors and senior management of the RDKB.

— Graham Watt is the coordinator of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan for the RDKB, and is working with a Stakeholder Advisory Group from across the region to develop the plan. Email

Calendar of upcoming events now available

From now through June we have a busy calendar of events as we work through a series of discussion papers and prepare for releasing the draft Kettle River Watershed Management Plan. All of the details will be available at – we look forward to talking with you at these events!

We are using the great calendar plugin, developed in Nelson, which means you can subscribe to the events in your own calendar or add the calendar to your google + account. Our friends at the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce are also using, and aggregate events from across the Boundary.