Event Title

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

Presentation Abstract

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.

Session Title

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

Conference Track

Policy and Management

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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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.