Water knows no municipal or internation

r1 Overcoming legal hurdles to make communities more resilient ... DONATE NOW
Dear Paov,

Last week, we sent you an email highlighting West Coast Environmental Law’s critical work developing legal solutions for environmental challenges – from protecting clean air and water, to confronting the climate crisis.

As a staff lawyer, my work at West Coast involves collaborating on initiatives that support green infrastructure in our communities – including the “Living Dike” concept aimed at providing flood safety for communities while protecting coastal ecosystems and their wetlands in the Fraser delta.

We know Canada is richly abundant with water – holding one of the largest renewable supplies of freshwater in the world, and connected directly to marine waters along our three coasts. The rivers, lakes aquifer and coastal waters we rely on are sacred sources for life and ecosystems, and shape our cultures and economies.

Paov, I am writing to you today because in this past year, BC has witnessed the dangers of not managing our relationships with water with enough care and attention.

Last year, we saw land, homes, highways and public infrastructure flooded and sometimes washed away by rainstorms resulting from atmospheric rivers. Close to 15,000 people were displaced from their homes. Pictures of salmon trapped in fields reminded us that flood structures and their failures have severe consequences for the rich biodiversity that thrives in floodplains and coastal wetlands.

And finally, the flood events disproportionately affected Indigenous communities, whose current vulnerability to flood hazards on reserve lands is a direct product of colonization, in contrast to their thriving, resilient occupation of riverine and coastal territories for millennia.

It is evident we need to re-think planning and decision-making for these regions, recognizing the power of water, the impacts of a changing climate, and the need for resilience for human communities and the watery ecosystems we depend on.
PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES TODAY We now have an opportunity to collaborate on building back better after the floods: recognizing the power of water, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and carrying out the work of reconciliation to build safe and resilient communities for everyone.

It’s time to break the cycle of knee-jerk recovery actions that re-entrench existing problems every single time there is a major flood in the province.

Water reminds us that local and even international boundaries are still just lines drawn over an enduring landscape.


In BC much of the responsibility for flood management has been downloaded to local governments, but we need watershed-scale approaches to planning, implementing and funding flood management, and new governance arrangements that honour Indigenous laws and decision-making.

West Coast Environmental Law needs your help to advance new, collaborative approaches for flood management in BC – solutions that respect the water, each other and all the species we share the water with.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW

With your help today, West Coast Environmental Law can continue to:

  • Create space for nature-based approaches that protect communities and infrastructure from flooding, while restoring and safeguarding ecosystems;
  • Bring together policymakers, rightsholders and experts from different jurisdictions to collaborate on innovative projects like the Living Dike;
  • Provide legal support for Indigenous-led initiatives to restore ecological governance in the Lower Fraser River region; and
  • Build the collective power to achieve a more just and sustainable future for all through other crucial areas of our work.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW Paov, please consider taking your support to the next level by making a donation today to support West Coast Environmental Law so that we can continue developing legal solutions that protect the waters, land, air and biodiversity that we all share.

We don’t know what new challenges the next season will bring, but as always, West Coast will continue to put our legal expertise to use for the health of nature and communities.



With gratitude,

Deborah Carlson
Staff Lawyer
West Coast Environmental Law

P.S. If you have recently made a donation through the mail, please ignore this email. We will process your donation once it arrives in the mail and send you a tax receipt for your gift.

We recognize that our readers are diverse and have unique experiences. Due to the impacts of systemic racism and colonialism, or a variety of other factors affecting financial well-being, some readers may not be able or inclined to make a monetary gift. We welcome your ongoing support and engagement with West Coast in whatever form you choose. FacebookTwitter Instagram LinkedInYouTube West Coast Environmental Law
700-509 Richards Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2Z6
phone: 604.684.7378
fax: 604.684.1312
toll-free in BC: 1.800.330.WCEL
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West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation
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