Registration for the Watersheds 2016 forum is at capacity and currently closed. To be placed on a waiting list, please email Rosie Simms at [email protected].

Travel bursary funding for Watersheds 2016 and/or Living Waters Rally 2016 participants has been fully allocated. Thank you for your interest and understanding.

The Watersheds 2016 program reflects identified water community needs and priorities, with an underlying theme of working together for watersheds and a focus on the following topics:

  • New Water Sustainability Act planning and governance opportunities;
  • Collaborative governance;
  • Environmental flows and communities;
  • Sustainable funding for watershed governance;
  • Practical governance tools;
  • Indigenous-led planning and governance initiatives;
  • Indigenous water laws; and
  • Water ethics and cross-cultural values.

Preliminary Program


SFU’s Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Downtown Vancouver

(Note: Living Waters Rally will close at about noon)

11 am – 1 pm Registration table open for registration package pickup
Start time:  12 noon or 1 pm
12 noon Metro Vancouver watershed tour.  1 pm all others.  End time varies:  4 – 5 pm
Field trips and Water Ethics workshop

(Note: lunch not provided; please bring your own water bottle and snack if desired on field trips)

Pre-selected field trip options (Still Creek Watershed, Restoration Round-up, Metro Vancouver drinking water watershed tour) or an onsite  Water Ethics workshop as a field trip alternative. Specific information has been sent by email to participants.

5:00 pm Networking opportunities over dinner (dinner not provided)
6:30 – 7:00 pm             Doors open and late registration pick up
Networking opportunity, with light refreshments provided
7:00 – 9:00 pm                 Conference Opening and Public Keynote Address
Sponsor: SFU Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC) Featuring: Territorial welcome by First Nations Elder Margaret George; Opening comments by PWRC Executive Director Dr. Zafar Adeel, Vancouver Deputy Mayor Heather Deal and Conference chair Kelly Bannister;  Keynote address by Merrell-Ann Phare “Working Together for Better Watershed Governance” and Youth presentation by Ta’Kaiya Blaney “Chasing Our Water Future” with moderated Q&A.


SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, Downtown Vancouver

8:00 am                               Doors open

·  Light refreshments provided

·  Late registration package pickup

8:30-8:40 am  Day 2 Welcome Back

·  Opening by Coast Salish Elder Florence James

·  Introductory comments and overview by Conference chair

·  Announcements and housekeeping

8:40-9:00 am         Keynote presentation: Innovation in Watershed Co-Governance:  The Mackenzie River Basin Agreement” by Merrell-Ann Phare
9:00-10:00 am PLENARY #1: Evolving Collaborative Watershed Governance in BC: Stories from the Front Lines

Format: Moderated panel presentation and discussion

Purpose: To explore the evolution of collaborative watershed governance in B.C. in the direction of working better together through a regionally and culturally diverse panel of watershed champions.

Moderator: Anna Warwick Sears (Okanagan Basin Water Board)

Panelists: Natasha Overduin (POLIS Project); Tim Kulchyski (Cowichan Watershed Board & Cowichan Tribes); Julie Pisani (Regional District of Nanaimo); Wayne Salewski (Nechako Environment & Water Stewardship); Theresa Fresco (Fraser Basin Council)

10:00-10:30 am Networking and refreshment break (refreshments provided)
10:30-12 noon Concurrent Breakouts – Round 1

5 concurrent breakouts determined with participant input through a pre-conference survey of interest.

12:00-1:00 pm LUNCH (provided)
1:00 – 2:00 pm PLENARY #2: First Nations Water Planning and Governance

Format: Moderated Panel presentation and discussion

Purpose: To learn about the range of water planning and water governance arrangements that First Nations are leading in various watersheds throughout the Province, including Water Strategies and Water Laws.

Moderator: Deana Machin (First Nations Fisheries Council)

Panelists: Lana Lowe (Fort Nelson First Nation); Dave Schaepe (Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre); Val Napoleon (University of Victoria Faculty of Law)

2:00-2:30 pm Networking and refreshment break (refreshments provided)
2:30-4:00 pm Concurrent Breakouts – Round 2

5 concurrent breakouts determined with participant input through a pre-conference survey of interest.

4:15-5:15 pm  Conference Wrap Up and Closing

· Synthesis and reflections by Keynote speaker Merrell-Ann Phare

· Next steps by POLIS Co-Director Oliver M. Brandes

· Youth speaker closing message and song by Ta’Kaiya Blaney

· Acknowledgements by Conference chair Kelly Bannister

· Traditional closing by First Nations Elder Margaret George

5:30 -6:30 pm Evening mingler featuring student poster viewing