The Integrated Watershed Management Planning Tool

The Systems-based Visualization Tools for Integrated Watershed Management research project develops and tests an experimental visualization tool for supporting participatory approaches to integrated watershed management planning. Using the Millstream Watershed (Capital Research District, BC) as a case study, the tool will be developed as an interactive virtual environment that will allow users to navigate and explore different strategies, or ‘scenarios’, for integrated watershed management. The project will employ a community-engaged participatory research approach, and it will engage local government, nongovernmental organizations, and community members in the design, development, use, and assessment of the visualization tool and watershed management scenarios.

The project aims to advance research and scholarship on visualizations as planning tools by pursuing two objectives. The first objective is to determine how interactive visualization planning tools for can be enhanced through the use of systems-based scenario analysis features. Visualizations can be effective tools for supporting environmental planning and management; however, they are not substitutes for other planning tools, such as systems maps and scenario models. Accordingly, the visualization application in this project will include systems-based modelling function that will allows for the analysis of different watershed management strategies and approaches based on complex system interactions and dynamics. The second research objective is to explore the use of narrative and storytelling features in a visualization tool. These features will include a series of embedded videos of interviews with watershed experts and local stakeholders, which will serve to ‘make sense’ of the complex scenario modelling outcomes through the use of illustrative examples and narratives.

 Photo by Brian White


Systems Models

Below are systems models that were developed through a series of stakeholder workshops and capture the relationships among strategies, values, and challenges in the Millstream Creek Watershed. Specifically, the systems show relationships among (respectively) watershed management and development strategies, valued aspects of the watershed and communities within the watershed, and challenges facing the social and environmental health and wellbeing in the watershed. The purple elements in the systems model are those that exert effects on other aspects of the system. To see these systems effects and dynamics, click the up and down arrows of a system element to see the effects of increasing and decreasing that element. Click the 'reset' button to reset the simulation, and click the 'reset' button to open and edit the systems model in the LOOPY application.

Environmentally-centred System
Socially-centred System