Watersheds 2020: Stepping Stones to Collaborative Watershed Governance

Date: October 15th, 2020 - October 16th, 2020

Where: Online

Cost: Free

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! 

Join us for this virtual Watersheds 2020 forum on October 15th & 16th. Many of you have been part of the Watersheds forums—an almost decade-long tradition of engaging with innovative ideas and bold thinking, building connections and networks in our freshwater community, and finding sustainable solutions to pressing problems.

This year we are adapting to the new realities of 2020 and offering Watersheds 2020 as a broadly accessible virtual event—and we have created a very special program for you!

This forum will feature:

  • Day 1 – October 15th: A plenary session including a keynote address from John Borrows (UVic, Faculty of Law) and a panel discussion with updates from initiatives working ‘on the ground and in the water’
  • Day 2 – October 16th: Multiple sessions for a deeper dive on a selection of themes and emerging issues

You will have interactive opportunities throughout the two-day forum to engage and learn from water leaders and champions across B.C. and beyond, share and ask questions, and explore new ideas.

***SPACE IS LIMITED***

Register now to learn more, participate, and get inspired to make a difference in your watershed! 

WHAT IS WATERSHEDS 2020?

This forum will bring together a diverse community of water leaders in B.C.—including Indigenous Nations, watershed groups, local and provincial governments, funders, resource managers, scholars and researchers, and a network of practitioners and champions—to build and deepen connections, learn from one another, and explore opportunities for improved watershed decision-making and longer-term watershed security.

WHY WATERSHED GOVERNANCE? WHY NOW?

From record-breaking droughts and floods to conflicts over use and rights, British Columbia’s fresh water is facing increasing threats. Addressing current and looming freshwater challenges as well as changing realities requires new partnerships and innovative forms of collaborative governance to respond to the many social and ecological needs of our watersheds.

THE AGENDA

Day 1
October 15, 2020
9:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT

We are honored and grateful that Day 1 will include Opening and Closing Ceremony offered by Coast Salish Elder Florence James (Penelakut Island, BC) and Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University), who is participating from the traditional territory of the Sagamok Anishnawbek, the Serpent River First Nation and the Mississauga First Nation, Ontario.

Day 1 includes two main sessions:

KEYNOTE ADDRESS – “INDIGENOUS LAW, RECONCILIATION AND GOVERNANCE – INSIGHTS AND PERSPECTIVE FOR THE FUTURE” 

Details: This inspiring keynote session will feature Dr. John Borrows (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law) and weave together thoughts and reflections on the themes of reconciliation, Indigenous law, and governance from leading thinkers and practitioners in this space. Dr. Borrows will open the session, sharing insights and teachings from his recent work on Indigenous law and ethics. Discussants will ground the conversation in the context of watershed governance, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Water Sustainability Act, exploring ways in which decision making, laws, and relationships can—and must—evolve to advance reconciliation and watershed security. Dr. Vicki Kelly will act as witness and speak to what has been shared.

SESSION 2: “STEPPING STONES TO WATERSHED GOVERNANCE – INITIATIVES ‘ON THE GROUND AND IN THE WATER’” 

Details: Innovative approaches to watershed governance are emerging and developing in watersheds across BC. Although no one-size-fits-all approach to improved watershed decision-making and collaboration exists since each place faces different impacts, histories, relationships, risks and needs, the range of initiatives underway offer important cross-cutting learnings, insights, and milestones. Building on the “Stepping Stones to Watershed Governance” framework—an approach that illustrates the milestones that must be in place to shift to more sustainable and equitable decision-making—this session will include innovation around the Water Sustainability Plan scoping work and partnership for the Koksilah River (Xwulqw’selu Sto’lo) Watershed, the historic ʔElhdaqox Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“ʔEsdilagh Sturgeon River Law”), and the Syilx (Okanagan) Lake Watershed Planning.

Day 2
October 16, 2020
Times: TBC

The second day of Watersheds 2020 will offer concurrent sessions on issues related to sustainable funding, leveraging technological innovation for watershed health, how storytelling can lead to action, among others.

To assist with scheduling, please indicate in the registration page your options from the proposed themes you would be interested in attending on October 16th. Confirmation on sessions, timing and more details to come.

***

Watersheds 2020 is the latest in the ongoing series of “Watersheds” forums designed to inspire and nourish B.C.’s water community. By bringing together a diverse community of water leaders—including Indigenous Nations, watershed groups, local and provincial government staff, funders, and a network of practitioners and champions—these forums offer a chance for deeper understanding of emerging issues, as well as opportunities to create change and build community resilience and long-term watershed security.

The core hosting partners of Watersheds 2020 are the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, Watersheds BC, BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative, Fist Nations Fisheries Council, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, and the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW).