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Working Groups

AFER hosts larger Network meetings several times a year that is more general in scope and intended to be open to anyone that has participated in the Network previously. To provide space for more focused discussions on key topics, specific working groups meet quarterly to share knowledge, discuss best practices, and identify opportunities for collaboration. 


Information and Data-sharing

In this Working Group, we discuss current gaps in accessing and sharing information, particularly around physical, spatial, and ecological data and mapping, and how we can better support coordination and collaboration among organizations and individuals conducting data collection projects. 

The next meeting is to be announced.

Meeting #1: November 5, 2020


The first meeting of the Information and Data-sharing Working Group featured presentations from: 

  • Eileen Jones (Pacific Salmon Foundation) on the Pacific Salmon Explorer

  • Brad Mason and Rob Knight (Community Mapping Network) on current mapping initiatives

  • Dan Straker (Resilient Waters) on the Resilient Waters Opportunities Map

  • Dionne Bunsha (Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance) on the Climate Adapt mapping project

  • Steve Litke (Fraser Basin Council) on flood hazard maps

  • Justine Nelson (Rivershed Society of BC) on coordination among mapping projects in the Lower Fraser region


The meeting held breakout groups to discuss the following questions: 

  • What are the current gaps in mapping?

  • What are common challenges to sharing, use and maintenance

  • What are potential solutions to these challenges?

  • How has your organization shared data and information?

  • How do we support better coordination and collaboration among organizations and individuals conducting projects collecting/managing data and information?


View the meeting minutes and Google Jamboard.

Meeting #2: July 8, 2021

The second meeting of the Working Group focused on data hubs. Millie Kuyer (BCIT) and Kristen Walters (Raincoast Conservation Foundation) began by reviewing the need for a data hub in the Lower Fraser region and proposed the creation of a Lower Fraser River Data Centre, in partnership with the BCIT Rivers Institute, Community Mapping Network, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and AFER Network. 


To provide individuals with an example of a successful data hub, Santiago Botero, Kat Hartwig, and Paige Thurston from Living Lakes Canada gave a presentation on the Columbia Basin Water Hub, including the need for, creation of, and goals of the hub, as well as a virtual tour of it.


Following the presentations, a guided Q&A session was held for the potential Lower Fraser data hub. 

View the meeting notes and one-pager on the proposed data centre.

Implementation of
Nature-based Solutions 

In this Working Group, we explore different approaches to implementing nature-based solutions (NbS). We identify barriers to implementation and discuss opportunities for coordination and collaboration among those working in the Lower Fraser region to advance the implementation of NbS.


A series of three workshops are being held for the Working Group in 2022. Workshop #2: Indigenous-led NbS is to be announced.

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Meeting # 1: November 25, 2020


The first meeting of the Working Group explored NbS initiatives that are currently underway, the barriers to implementing NbS projects by local governments, what is needed to put into place projects, and how we can better collaborate on NbS opportunities. It featured presentations from:

  • Laurie Bates-Frymel (Metro Vancouver) on barriers to implementation

  • Pamela Zevit (City of Surrey) on the City of Surrey's NbS initiatives

  • Lina Azeez (Watershed Watch Salmon Society) on building back better with salmon-safe flood protection


Topics discussed in the breakout sessions included examples of nature-based solutions, collaborative initiatives that have gone well between non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments, and other sectors, and the challenges that organizations have faced in supporting and implementing NbS initiatives. 


View the meeting notes and Google Jamboard.

Workshop # 1: January 27, 2022

The first workshop of 2022 focused on NbS and climate change. The workshop was led by Kacia Tolsma from the Action on Climate Team at Simon Fraser University. She highlighted the ability of NbS to reduce climate risk and emissions, as well as provide co-benefits, and showcased a series of NbS that have been implemented in the Lower Fraser region. A low carbon resilience approach to planning and decision-making was also presented.


Following the presentation, breakout sessions were held. Topics discussed included the co-benefits that arise from NbS, challenges to utilizing NbS as a climate strategy, opportunities for the Working Group to advance the implementation of NbS, and how to monitor and measure NbS.

View the workshop summary and presentation slides. A recording of the workshop can be obtained upon request.


Watershed Education

In this Working Group, we share current watershed education initiatives and projects in the Lower Fraser region. The group provides space for knowledge sharing, discussion of best practices, and resources or tools that can facilitate the collaborative development and implementation of educational materials and resources. 

The next meeting is to be announced.

Meeting #1: March 17, 2021


The first meeting of the Watershed Education Working Group focused on establishing a collective vision for the future of the group. The four key ideas that were discussed were:

  • Connecting – with school boards, teachers, Nations, other networks, each other, and participants 

  • Collaboration – creating centralized resources available to all within the Network; matching strengths with needs; establishing a collective voice for conservation; sharing job and volunteer positions 

  • Content – being a hub for watershed education; identifying current gaps in education; increasing and improving conservation messaging; focusing on conservation solutions 

  • Funding – unifying our efforts and intentions to create strong funding proposals; advocating for the importance of education in funding; sharing funding opportunities 


View the meeting notes and Google Jamboard.

Workshop #1: October 14, 2021

The first workshop of the Watershed Education Working Group featured presentations from:

  • Asta Mail (Raincoast Conservation Foundation) on Etuaptmumk (Two-Eyed Seeing)

  • Hailey Renaud (Sea Smart) on programming that Sea Smart runs every school year

  • Kirstin Hill (Rivershed Society of BC) on the Watershed CPR program

  • Ross Davies (Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society) on programming that focuses on environmental stewardship


Breakout rooms were then formed to discuss the prioritization of next steps for the Working Group. ​Participants discussed the importance of forming a group identity through the creation of a shared calendar and database, as well as identifying a target audience. Connecting with other groups and communities would then follow. 


View the workshop summary and Google Jamboard.

Identification of Funding and Fiscal Tools

In this Working Group, we aim to facilitate focused dialogue on key topics, such as understanding the strategic direction of the funding sector, the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as funding priorities, and current and future funding opportunities for resiliency-building initiatives in the Lower Fraser region. 

The next meeting is to be announced.

Meeting # 1: June 17, 2021

The first meeting of the Working Group featured presentations from: 

  • Shona Smith (Senior Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) on the BC Salmon Innovation and Restoration Fund

  • Sherry Yano (Director of Grants and Community Engagement, Real Estate Foundation) on funding in the charitable sector

  • Fin Donnelly (Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Legislative Assembly of BC) on governmental funding priorities with regard to salmon

  • Linda Nowlan (Senior Director, UBC Sustainability Initiative) on funding and collaborating on academic projects in the Lower Fraser region

  • Kristen Walters (Raincoast Conservation Foundation) on the funding landscape of the Lower Fraser region


Following the presentations, an open-ended Q&A session was held to allow for participants from different sectors (e.g., academia, government, funding foundations, environmental NGOs) to converse.

View the meeting minutes and presentation on the funding landscape of the Lower Fraser region.

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Reconciliation and Relationships

Launching in 2022.

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