Proposed Abstract Title

Braided Freshwater Governance: A comparison of regulation and stewardship of riparian areas and wetlands in British Columbia and Washington

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Governance of the Salish Sea: Can we develop a cross-border policy framework?

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Clean water from freshwater sources that flow into the Salish Sea is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Yet, the riparian and wetlands areas that help to protect upstream water quality are threatened by a number of stressors, which include land use and development practices, forestry activities, and agricultural operations. These practices have historically resulted in the removal of vegetated cover, hardening, straightening or culverting of stream bank features, increases in impervious area, and wetland fill. These changes can impact a variety of ecosystem functions and, as a result, are considered to have a high potential impact to watersheds and marine basins in the Salish Sea. Different levels of government on both sides of the United States-Canadian border have developed regulatory protections to minimize land use and development-related impacts to riparian areas and wetlands. Efforts are also being made to restore previously impacted resources. Yet, as these natural features flow across national and internal borders between local governments, the reality is that these features are governed differently. Freshwater governance, much like the braided streams it addresses, has multiple approaches that repeatedly divide and converge around the varied interests and/or policies that exist in Canada, the United States, and the indigenous populations of the region. This presentation will explore how these governance systems compare, by conducting a case study analysis of the regulatory protection strategies and stewardship activities that exist in two transboundary watersheds located in British Columbia and Washington State. Similarities and differences in the scale at which riparian and wetland resources are managed and authorities and processes for review of development activities in and near these features will be explored. This study provides insight into potential gaps, barriers, successes, and opportunities with existing governance structures, regulatory review processes, and management tools for riparian area and wetland management.

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Braided Freshwater Governance: A comparison of regulation and stewardship of riparian areas and wetlands in British Columbia and Washington

2016SSEC

Clean water from freshwater sources that flow into the Salish Sea is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Yet, the riparian and wetlands areas that help to protect upstream water quality are threatened by a number of stressors, which include land use and development practices, forestry activities, and agricultural operations. These practices have historically resulted in the removal of vegetated cover, hardening, straightening or culverting of stream bank features, increases in impervious area, and wetland fill. These changes can impact a variety of ecosystem functions and, as a result, are considered to have a high potential impact to watersheds and marine basins in the Salish Sea. Different levels of government on both sides of the United States-Canadian border have developed regulatory protections to minimize land use and development-related impacts to riparian areas and wetlands. Efforts are also being made to restore previously impacted resources. Yet, as these natural features flow across national and internal borders between local governments, the reality is that these features are governed differently. Freshwater governance, much like the braided streams it addresses, has multiple approaches that repeatedly divide and converge around the varied interests and/or policies that exist in Canada, the United States, and the indigenous populations of the region. This presentation will explore how these governance systems compare, by conducting a case study analysis of the regulatory protection strategies and stewardship activities that exist in two transboundary watersheds located in British Columbia and Washington State. Similarities and differences in the scale at which riparian and wetland resources are managed and authorities and processes for review of development activities in and near these features will be explored. This study provides insight into potential gaps, barriers, successes, and opportunities with existing governance structures, regulatory review processes, and management tools for riparian area and wetland management.