Watersheds 2016: Building Capacity for Collaboration and Watershed Governance in British Columbia

September 30 - October 1, 2016

SFU Harbour Centre & Wosk Centre For Dialogue
Vancouver, B.C.









Watersheds 2016, “Building Capacity for Collaboration and Watershed Governance in British Columbia” was a one-and-a-half day forum, held on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations at the SFU Harbour Centre & Wosk Centre For Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia from September 30th to October 1st, 2016. 

Watersheds 2016 was established on the foundational theme of working together for watersheds. Deceptively simple, this theme reflected both the great challenges and tremendous opportunities facing citizens, communities, and governments, in the face of increasing changes and challenges in their home watersheds. The conversations at Watersheds 2016 took place within the context of accelerating climate change and increasing water pressures and demands, and the collective understanding that urgent change is needed in how we manage our relationships with water—and with each other. Three watershed field trips—with staff from Evergreen and Metro Vancouver—and a workshop on water ethics and cross-cultural values, kick-started the forum. Feature plenaries explored collaborative watershed governance and Indigenous water planning, interspersed with “hands on” and “big ideas” breakouts on topics including sustainable funding, national water issues and opportunities, and environmental flows and communities.


This video is of the formal opening of Watersheds 2016, featuring a territorial welcome by First Nations Elder Margaret George (SFU Elders Program); opening comments by Dr. Zafar Adeel (Executive Director, PWRC) and conference chair Dr. Kelly Bannister (POLIS Project, University of Victoria); the keynote address by Merrell-Ann Phare (Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources) “Working Together for Better Watershed Governance: Six Words”; and the youth keynote presentation by Ta’Kaiya Blaney (Youth Ambassador, Native Children’s Survival) “Chasing Our Water Future.” The presentations were followed by a moderated question-and-answer period. Musical facilitation was contributed by Indigenous artist and scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Professor, Faculty of Education, SFU).

“Evolving Water Planning Processes in B.C” highlights the importance of watershed planning processes to watershed governance. In this webinar, speakers shared insights on the important elements of a sound water use planning process, discussed experiences in Indigenous-led watershed planning and shared highlights from the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources “Watershed Planning Guidebook” series.

Oliver Brandes-preferred


Oliver M. Brandes

Co-Director of the Centre for Global Studies’ POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, UVic

Oliver M. Brandes is an economist and lawyer by training and a trans-disciplinarian by design.... Read more »

Deborah Curran


Deborah Curran

Professor, Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria

Deborah Curran is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria in the Faculty of... Read more »

Val Napoleon Gitanyow


Dr. Val Napoleon

Indigenous People's Counsel Law Foundation Chair

Dr. Val Napoleon’s current research focuses on Indigenous legal traditions, legal theories, feminisms, citizenship, self-determination,... Read more »



Rosie Simms

Research Lead & Project Manager, POLIS Water Sustainability Project, Uvic

Rosie’s work includes doing applied research and communicating new thinking on water governance, law, and... Read more »



Zafar Adeel

M.Sc., Ph.D., Executive Director, Pacific Water Research Centre, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Zafar Adeel serves as the Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre, and... Read more »



Cori Barraclough

M.Sc., R.P. Bio., C. Biol., MSRB, PMP, Freshwater Ecologist, Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd.

For more than 20 years Cori has helped local governments in British Columbia to manage... Read more »



James Casey

B.A., M.A., Senior Freshwater Conservation Specialist, WWF-Canada

Personally convinced that the largest challenge for future generations will be developing a way to... Read more »



Kate Cave

B.A.(H), MES, Project Manager/Research Associate, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources

Kate is passionate about protecting our environment and is strongly committed to ensuring Indigenous communities... Read more »



Celine Davis

M.Sc, R.Bio, Manager of Watershed Science, Water Protection and Sustainability Branch, BC Ministry of Environment

Celine works on incorporating sound science into water standards, policy and legislation with a group... Read more »



Eli Enns

B.A., Program Manager, Indigenous Community Development and Governance Diploma, University of Victoria

Eli is a Tla-o-qui-aht /Canadian political scientist focused in constitutional law, international dispute resolution and... Read more »

Theresa Fresco


Theresa Fresco

M.A., Program Coordinator, Watersheds and Water Resources, Fraser Basin Council

Theresa is currently an assistant regional manager for the Upper Fraser Office in Prince George.... Read more »



Nelson Jatel

M.A., P.Ag, Water Stewardship Director, Okanagan Basin Water Board

Nelson works with the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan Water Stewardship Council to develop practical... Read more »



Nadia Joe

B.Sc., M.Sc., Member, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations

Nadia Joe (Gugula) is Nlaka’pamux on her mother’s side and southern Tutchone, belonging to the... Read more »



Steve Litke

M.A., Senior Program Manager, Watersheds and Water Resources, Fraser Basin Council

Steve graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1995 with a Master’s Degree in Resource and... Read more »



Tony Maas

B.Sc., M.A., Director, Forum for Leadership on Water; Manager of Strategy, Freshwater Future

Tony has been working to protect the health of Canada’s fresh water for over 15 years.... Read more »



Alan Martin

B.Sc.(H), M.Sc., Director of Strategic Initiatives, BC Wildlife Federation.

Alan has extensive knowledge and experience of British Columbia’s resource management issues from 30 years... Read more »



Natasha Overduin

BPAPM, M.A., Research Associate & Watershed Governance Project Manager, POLIS Project on Ecological Governance

Natasha’s work focuses on supporting capacity-building for watershed governance in B.C. through regional workshops, ongoing... Read more »



Jon O’Riordan

Ph.D., Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Jon O’Riordan is a former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management... Read more »



Julie Pisani

B.A., Coordinator, Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program, Regional District of Nanaimo

Julie is an experienced public speaker with a background in nature interpretation, environmental communications and... Read more »



Wayne Salewski

Chair: Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Cente; Nechako White Sturgeon Community Working Group; Nechako Kitimaat Development Fund

Wayne has worked in the conservation world as a volunteer for the past 40 years.... Read more »



Dave Schaepe

Ph.D., Director, Stó:lō Research & Resource Management Centre at Stó:lō Nation, General Manager, People of the River Referrals Office

Dave has worked for the Stó:lō Nation in Chilliwack, B.C. since 1997. Dave is also... Read more »



Hans Schreier

B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems, Land-Water Systems Program

Hans has worked on watershed management for the past 30 years with a focus on... Read more »



Monica Shore

M.A., Coordinator, Mount Arrowsmith UNESCO Biosphere Region, Vancouver Island University

Since 2014, Monica has been involved in the revitalization of one of Canada’s 18 UNESCO... Read more »