Until now, the Town’s natural asset management work has been restricted to eco-assets (such as the White Tower Park storm water ponds,) which exist within the Town of Gibsons’ boundaries (as indicated by the green line on aerial photo at right).
The Source to Sea Project seeks to extend the scope of that work by evaluating the natural assets that lie within the entire watershed of the Gibsons Aquifer (as indicated by the pink line on aerial photo at right).
This is considered to be a more ecologically relevant scale, as activity that impacts the natural assets within the watershed (but outside of Town boundaries) also impacts our community’s stormwater management, flood mitigation and drinking water services.
Natural assets in the watershed area which will be assessed include forests, streams, creeks, wetlands, urban parks and the foreshore.
The Source to Sea project area is the same as for the Town’s 2013 Aquifer Study, with the northern boundary set at the top of Mt. Elphinstone and the southern boundary at the Town’s waterfront. The western boundary includes the Chaster Creek watershed and the eastern boundary includes the Gibsons Creek watershed.
The overarching goal of the Source to Sea project is to ensure that the natural assets within the Town’s entire watershed are understood, measured, valued and, ultimately, managed to ensure their health.
Specifically, we seek to understand the current and possible future roles of the natural assets in providing:
- safe, reliable drinking water supply through the aquifer recharge;
- stormwater management services; and
- flood mitigation services.
Initial project work will focus on assessing the condition of, and potential risks to, the natural assets. We also seek to quantify the value of the natural assets in the project area, as measured by their service provision services and as compared to engineered alternatives.
Then, the data collected will be used to develop asset management strategies, and for the creation of modelling programs which will help us predict and respond to various climate change scenarios. Additionally, related asset management strategies would seek to identify synergies with other Gibsons’ projects in order to maximize efficiencies.
Information collected about the Charman Creek Lands will provide staff and Council with the information required to make informed decisions regarding future uses of the forested area.
The Source to Sea project is being conducted in partnership with the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, concurrent with its Managing Natural Assets to Coastal Resilience project.
Engagement and input will also be sought from:
- Sunshine Coast Regional District (drainage and watershed governance);
- Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (drainage);
- Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations / BC Timber Sales (aquifer and watershed governance); and
- First Nations (cultural and watershed governance).
The Interagency Watershed Plan (below) illustrates how managing the aquifer watershed requires effective collaboration across many jurisdictions and organizations.