Photo by Wetlands Education Program

Wetlands Institute Speaker Series Webinars (2020)

Wetlands Institute- Virtual Edition

A different way to deliver training in wetland stewardship, restoration and construction.

The Wetlands Institute is conventionally an intensive 7-day hands-on workshop that educates participants about wetland stewardship, restoration, and construction. Participants are invited to apply to the workshop with a wetland project or program that they wish to implement in their community or would like to initiate in the future.

Participants leave the workshop with the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to make a difference in the world of wetland conservation as well as the support from the Wetlands team. The Wetlands Institute is one of the many programs that the Wetlands Education Program offers.

In 2020, the BCWF’s Wetlands Education Program was proud to present: Wetland Institute Speaker Series!

Wetlands Institute Speaker Series

Recordings from the 2020 virtual Wetlands Institute Speaker Series

Wetland Restoration Techniques

Please join us to learn more about wetland restoration techniques with Wetland Restoration Specialist Tom  Biebighauser. We will explore the various techniques to restore wetlands, and discuss how to do so with minimal maintenance (i.e., without the use of dams, weirs, or pumps).

Tom Biebighauser is a Wildlife Biologist and Wetland Ecologist. Since 1979, he has restored over 2,250 wetlands and streams across Canada, The United States, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.

Wetlands and Watersheds- Water Quality and Pollution

Please join us to learn more about wetlands and the watersheds they are in, and how water quality and pollution can affect these sensitive systems.

Guest Speakers:

Heather Larratt is a Biologist, and Founder of Larratt Aquatic Consulting. With over 40 years of experience in environmental regulation and reclamation,  Heather will be speaking on using wetlands as bioreactors and constructed wetlands.

Denise Clark is a Fisheries Technician with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. She worked as an instructor at Thompson Rivers University for 8 years and completed her M.Sc. on wetland health under Brian Heise. Denise will be speaking on wetland invertebrates, as well as invertebrate sampling methods, and water quality.

* Unfortunately we do not have permission to share Denise’s presentation publicly. If you would like to see her as a guest speaker, please sign up for one of our future workshops

Floodplain Restoration- A Case Study of the Hunting Grounds site on Yaqan Nukiy Territory.

Please join us to learn more about the techniques used to restore constructed impoundments. These impoundments present excellent opportunities for wetland and stream restoration. Thousands of large impoundments have been built across North America since the 1930s by constructing high and long dams, moving streams, and by draining natural wetlands. The majority of these impoundments failed because the dams did not hold water, water control structures leaked, and pumps failed. Dams associated with each impoundment cutoff riparian areas from their natural floodplain.

This presentation will cover how the  restoration was completed at the Hunting Grounds site in partnership with the Lower Kootenay Band.  This landscape-scale project is a first of its kind in British Columbia involving the restoration of floodplains, wetlands, streams, and rivers damaged by the construction of impoundments, dams, ditches, and the installation of pipes and pumps. The project was designed to increase wildlife and fish populations on the traditional Yaqan Nukiy Hunting Grounds, including the following at-risk species: Northern leopard frog, Western painted turtle, white sturgeon, and burbot.

Guest Speakers:


  • Tom  Biebighauser is a Wildlife Biologist and Wetland Ecologist. Since 1979, he has restored over 2,250 wetlands and streams across Canada, The United States, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.
  • Norman Allard Jr. is the Community Planner for Lower Kootenay Band (LKB). He is the manager for the Yaqan Nukiy Wetlands Restoration Project and the Yaqan Nukiy Hunting Grounds Ecosystem Restoration Projects.
Wetlands as Eco-Assets

Please join us to learn more about the ecological assets of wetlands, and to learn about the tools and best practices to evaluate your wetland for ecological services. We will also learn about a case study on Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo.

Guest Speakers:

Michelle Molnar, Technical Director, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative Michelle is the Technical Director of the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, as well as an Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. Her work focuses on the conservation of natural capital using various tools of ecological economics, policy analysis, and public outreach. She leads MNAI’s technical team and has worked with ~20 communities to apply their framework.

Rob Lawrence, Environmental Planner, City of Nanaimo (MURP, RPP, MCIP) Rob currently works as the Environmental Planner with the City of Nanaimo. Within this role, Rob works on environmental policy and program development, development application reviews, and Parks restoration planning. Rob has previously worked as the City’s Parks and Open Space Planner, working on several park plans and parks operations projects. Rob also acts as the City’s representative on the Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area management committee.

Wetland Monitoring & Maintenance

Please join us to learn more about wetland monitoring and post-restoration maintenance.

Guest Speakers:

Elke Wind is an Amphibian Biologist, and founder of E. Wind Consulting where she has focused on conservation, assessment, and management of amphibian populations and wetland restoration and construction for the last 20 years. Elke will be speaking on amphibian monitoring, trapping in the field, and sharing a case study on an amphibian monitoring project that helped influence local legislation.

Neil Fletcher is the Manager of Conservation Stewardship at BCWF and has been working in the Wetlands Education Program for over ten years. Through his work across BC, Neil brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about wetland conservation and restoration. Neil will be speaking on post-restoration monitoring and maintenance.

Legal Frameworks for Protecting Natural Assets

Please join us to learn more about the legislative tools available to protect wetlands.

Guest Speakers:

Deborah Curran is the Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria where she teaches land and water regulation and law and is the author of numerous environmental law resources for government and articles for research journals. Deborah will be speaking on one of the resources she developed for environmental stewards: Green Bylaws Toolkit for Conserving Sensitive Ecosystems and Green Infrastructure

Dave Newman is the Director of Infrastructure Services for the Town of Gibsons. He first began to explore the concept of Natural Assets when the Gibsons Aquifer was mapped between 2009 and 2013. Since that time, Dave has been involved with a team of staff in learning more about the natural assets within the Town and in raising awareness of the benefits and importance of managing natural assets in a similar manner as engineered assets.

Brittany Lange is an Environmental Planner with the Regional District of Central Okanagan. In her position, she works to develop and implement policy and planning programs to improve environmental protection and sustainability within the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Brittany will be speaking about Regional Floodplain Management Plan and sharing case studies on her experiences with environmental planning.

Wetlands and Climate Change

Please join us to learn more about using models to determine the risks to wetlands in the face of climate change.

Guest Speakers:

Nelson Jatel is the Water Stewardship Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and he will be speaking on the Okanagan Wetlands Action Plan and the relationship and value of wetlands and the risks associated with climate change.

Karen Price (PhD) and Dave Daust (MSc, RPF) work at the interface of science and management. Their recent work assesses the cumulative risk to ecological values posed by resource development and climate change, and determines how to improve decision-making to increase ecological resilience. They will be sharing their knowledge and analysis of the potential impacts to wetlands and stream systems in the Skeena region.

Cultural Value of Wetlands and Archeological Assessments

Please join us to learn more about the cultural value of wetlands and the process of archeological assessments when working in or near wetlands.

Guest Speakers:

Evelyn George is a former Councilor of Lake Babine Nation and has a passion for wetlands. Evelyn will speak on her perspective on how wetlands have intrinsic cultural value to her and her community.

Dr. Genevieve Hill is the Collections Manager and Researcher at the Royal BC Museum. Genevieve began studying archaeology in 2000, obtaining a BA from University of Victoria and an MA and PhD from the University of Exeter, where she focused on wetland archaeology. She also worked as a consulting archaeologist, and as a Project Officer at the BC Archaeology Branch before taking her current position as Collection Manager and Researcher of the BC Archaeology Collection in the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department of the Royal BC Museum. Her research focuses on Indigenous use of wetlands and the role of perception and policy in the identification and preservation of cultural sites.