Connecting watershed and land use planning in Manitoba: exploring the potential of collaboration as a form of integration

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Beukens, Robin
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Watershed planning and land use development planning are two different planning processes dealing with many of the same water and land resources. Watershed planning is conducted on watershed boundaries; land use development plans focus on municipal or planning district boundaries. It is important that these plans are properly integrated so they are mutually supportive of one another. This study focuses on Manitoba, where land and water issues include potential floods and droughts, poor water quality in major lakes, and the need to protect drinking water for human use. The severity of these issues could increase in the future as Manitoba is projected to experience climate change that will further impact water and land resources in the province. The research explores different modes of integration, finding that collaboration is valuable in some circumstances in terms of maximizing collective resources, but that it is important to build upon strong cooperation and coordination. Results indicate that land use planners have a role to play in watershed management, using both technical and soft skills to protect watershed health through land use planning tools and plans. Watershed management planning and land use planning integration in other Canadian provinces is explored. The study concludes with a conceptual framework for integrating watershed and land use plans, as well as recommendations for improving integration in Manitoba, including: ongoing public education, pooling existing resources, more collaboration between watershed and land use planners, consideration of future water-related land use regulatory authority for watershed-based organizations, establishing clear responsibility for ensuring integration, continued learning by doing, creating a guiding framework for integrating watershed plans and land use plans, and using an adaptive management approach in both planning processes.
Watersheds, Land Use, Planning, Integration, Cooperation, Coordination, Collaboration, Manitoba