An upcoming event will introduce the community to the concept of ecological services and eco-asset management — and outline how to integrate an eco-asset management approach into local government planning.
The Eco-Asset Management Symposium is being held March 14 and 15 at the Filberg Centre.
Ecological benefits are critically important as communities struggle to adapt to rapidly changing infrastructure demands due to climate change and land use practices.
The Comox Valley faces various challenges as summer droughts, and frequent and intense winter storms overwhelm engineered infrastructure and degraded natural systems.
Flooding in urban and rural areas is increasing, and numerous boil water advisories have resulted from elevated turbidity levels following storms.
Shoreline erosion of waterfront property, parks, public roadways and sanitary sewer lines is challenging landowners and local governments.
These challenges can be tackled with nature’s assistance. There is a powerful emerging practice where communities are accounting for ecological services provided by nature to deal with flooding, storm surges, water quality and rain water management. When communities ‘think like a watershed,’ they see how these services are provided from mountaintop to ocean floor. The services are more affordable and more adaptive than those provided by ‘hard infrastructure.’
The symposium includes a free community presentation — Climate Change, Eco-System Services, and Thinking Like a Watershed — on the Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.
Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. features a symposium and community workshop dubbed, Exploring eco-system services and eco-asset management opportunities in the Upper, Mid and Lower Comox Valley Watersheds. Cost is $25, which includes lunch. The registration link is bit.ly/2meVsc5, or register at the CV Conservation Centre at 2356A Rosewall Cres. in Courtenay.
Presenters and panelists include:
•Emmanuel Machado, CAO from the Town of Gibsons, which became one of the first jurisdictions in North America to recognize the value of ecosystems services as a fundamental component of its infrastructure system;
•Bob Sandford, EPCOR chair for water and climate security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health;
•Kim Stephens, executive director, Partnership for Water Sustainability BC;
•Michelle Molnar, ecological economist and policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation;
•Jim Dumont, water infrastructure specialist;
•Dr. Bill Floyd, research hydrologist with FLNRO and adjunct professor at VIU in geography;
•Tim Ennis, Comox Valley Land Trust executive director, Project Watershed director and Latitude Conservation Solutions Company president;
•Jennifer Sutherst: Project Watershed estuary co-ordinator and staff biologist.
The symposium is presented by the CV Land Trust, in partnership with Project Watershed, the regional district, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland, Partnerships for Water Sustainability in BC, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Wedler Engineering, the CV Collective and the Comox Valley Record.