2022 Schedule

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From Liability to Asset: Natural System Assessment and Restoration in Asset Management

Presenter: Scott Cowan
River Services Team Lead, Stantec
Heather Amirault
Water Resources Engineer
Traditional asset management historically prioritized infrastructure over the natural environment. This approach has led to many conflicts between the natural and built environment (e.g., flooding, pipeline exposures, property loss, etc.). As we respond to these conflicts and experience new weather patterns related to climate change, the design approaches of the past are transitioning to techniques that re-frame water and natural systems as valuable assets. Natural systems provide value to communities through the provision of ecosystem services. The realm of ecosystem services is diverse and includes flood mitigation, mental well-being, wildlife habitat, and pollution control. Understanding these services and systems allows proponents to manage and maximize the value of their natural assets. This presentation will describe two types of approach for managing natural systems as assets. The natural system type used for this discussion will be surface water drainage systems (creeks, channels, rivers, or ditches). The first approach to management is using proactive planning around natural systems to prevent conflicts between watercourses and infrastructure from occurring in the future. The second approach is used to manage existing conflicts in and around watercourses when built infrastructure cannot be relocated according to the recommended planning measures. In this case, existing conflicts can be resolved through applying knowledge of natural system function and design. Examples will be used to explore how these approaches benefit communities and project proponents alike.
About the Presenter:

Scott is a Fluvial Geomorphologist at Stantec Consulting Ltd. specializing in the practical application of fluvial geomorphology including natural channel design, geomorphic baseline assessment, and riverine hazard assessment. Scott has worked on stream assessment and restoration design projects in a variety of environments across Canada.

About the Co-presenter: Heather is a Water Resources Engineer at Stantec Consulting Ltd. She specializes in the areas of stream rehabilitation using natural channel design and geomorphic assessment. Her recent projects include the design and construction of Montgomery Creek, an urban system in Kitchener, ON, the design and construciton for the realignment of two watercourses in Milton, ON, and various erosion and sediment control plans for mining clients. Heather has worked on stream restoration and assessment projects across Canada and in the US.