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.