Presentation Abstract

Island freshwater ecosystems in the Salish Sea have unique challenges. Fractured bedrock aquifers, limited surface water resources, and saltwater intrusion into groundwater systems require best management practices for freshwater sustainability. Salt Spring Island is the largest Canadian Gulf Island in the Salish Sea. With a population of 10,000 residents that triples in the summer, Salt Spring Island’s water resources are under great stress. However, through the creation of the multi-lateral Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority (SSIWPA), the island is now positioned to create one of the first Water Sustainability Plans in British Columbia under the new Water Sustainability Act (2016). Islands Trust is the only local government in Canada with a legislated mandate to preserve and protect the environment. In 2013, Islands Trust created SSIWPA to coordinate with other government bodies in a collaborative framework - integrating watershed planning and policy development across jurisdictions. SSIWPA includes a dynamic group of member agencies from local, regional, and provincial governments, each with distinct authority over freshwater management. SSIWPA works with citizen and government scientists to create groundwater well inventories, aquifer budgets, surface water reservoir analyses, and educational programs promoting water literacy and conservation. SSIWPA practices collaborative watershed governance. Using structured terms of reference, data sharing agreements, and transparent public meetings, agencies are collaborating to achieve effective resource management. This coordinated and holistic approach helps avoid duplication of effort while filling data gaps and leveraging pooled resources to address challenges to the carrying capacity of water resources across the island. SSIPWA’s collaborative governance is an ongoing process of committed engagement based on respect, trust, and diplomacy across multiple levels of government and communities. Such cooperation is essential to comprehensive, sustainable freshwater management – especially in the context of water-scarce island ecosystems in the Salish Sea.

Session Title

Achieving an Integrated Watershed Approach for Freshwater Ecosystems in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Freshwater sustainability, Watershed planning, Watershed coordination

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-479

Start Date

4-4-2018 3:45 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 4:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

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

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

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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Apr 4th, 3:45 PM Apr 4th, 4:00 PM

Integrated watershed planning for freshwater sustainability on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Island freshwater ecosystems in the Salish Sea have unique challenges. Fractured bedrock aquifers, limited surface water resources, and saltwater intrusion into groundwater systems require best management practices for freshwater sustainability. Salt Spring Island is the largest Canadian Gulf Island in the Salish Sea. With a population of 10,000 residents that triples in the summer, Salt Spring Island’s water resources are under great stress. However, through the creation of the multi-lateral Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority (SSIWPA), the island is now positioned to create one of the first Water Sustainability Plans in British Columbia under the new Water Sustainability Act (2016). Islands Trust is the only local government in Canada with a legislated mandate to preserve and protect the environment. In 2013, Islands Trust created SSIWPA to coordinate with other government bodies in a collaborative framework - integrating watershed planning and policy development across jurisdictions. SSIWPA includes a dynamic group of member agencies from local, regional, and provincial governments, each with distinct authority over freshwater management. SSIWPA works with citizen and government scientists to create groundwater well inventories, aquifer budgets, surface water reservoir analyses, and educational programs promoting water literacy and conservation. SSIWPA practices collaborative watershed governance. Using structured terms of reference, data sharing agreements, and transparent public meetings, agencies are collaborating to achieve effective resource management. This coordinated and holistic approach helps avoid duplication of effort while filling data gaps and leveraging pooled resources to address challenges to the carrying capacity of water resources across the island. SSIPWA’s collaborative governance is an ongoing process of committed engagement based on respect, trust, and diplomacy across multiple levels of government and communities. Such cooperation is essential to comprehensive, sustainable freshwater management – especially in the context of water-scarce island ecosystems in the Salish Sea.