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Planning Process Stages

The Planning Process (see figure below) has 5 stages. Early stages defined the overarching (tree-top -level) vision and outcomes, while later stages will define the on-the-ground or ‘understory’ operational details of how to support and sustain those outcomes. In other words, the analysis and conversations will become increasingly specific, moving from the broader strategic and policy level to the operational and regulatory level over the next 2-3 years.  Developing and refining the details of how to achieve the shared vision will be guided by a structured and transparent approach: 

  1. Iteratively define a range of possible actions 

  2. Estimate their consequences, and  

  3. Collaboratively deliberate about trade-offs and uncertainties across values to 

  4. Identify recommendations 


Planning will conclude with the submission of a recommended WSP in 2026, but implementation of the WSP and broader Watershed Plan will be ongoing. 

Status Update

Status update

We are currently in Stage 3 of the above diagram. This means we are drafting a Whole-of Watershed Framework, setting up technical workstreams, and engaging with Advisory tables. We are deepening a collective understanding of Cowichan Tribes' role as authority holder and what that means for sharing watershed management within their territories; we are building trust between partners and stakeholders, and having frank, meaningful conversations in all our tables. We are developing tools to inform the broader community about research and planning and preparing to welcome input on all potential options.


For more information on what we are currently working on, Sign up for our newsletter and check out past editions here. 

Organizational Structure

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Cowichan Tribes and the Province of BC have created a structure for working together, gathering information and advice, and making final decisions.

Primary Tables

The structure includes four main tables which meet regularly to guide the planning (and eventual implementation) of the Watershed plan:

A Government-to-Government (G2G) Table: This table, comprised of senior staff from Cowichan Tribes and the Government of BC, makes shared decisions about the Watershed Plan and WSP and provides oversight and strategic direction to the planning process.

A Planning Team: Led by a jointly appointed Executive Director and comprised of Cowichan Tribes and Province of BC Planning Leads and support staff, the Planning Team manages and oversees the planning process. The Team is responsible for iteratively drafting the Plan, bringing evidence, draft plan content and recommendations to Advisory Tables and the G2G Table.      

Xwulqw’selu Cowichan Community Guidance Group: This forum provides an avenue for Cowichan Tribes members, including Elders and knowledge holders, to reflect and discuss key planning issues, and provide recommendations to the G2G Table on the content of the Watershed Plan and WSP.

A Collaborative Community Advisory Table (CCAT): The CCAT represents a diverse range of Watershed interests. The group will participate in a series of workshops between 2023-2026 to work through the steps of the planning process and provide recommendations to the G2G Table.

In addition to these tables, the Planning Team will organize and oversee topic-specific workstreams to advance technical and engagement work in support of the development and evaluation water and land options. How different workstreams are organized, and who is involved, depends on the questions the workstream is asking, its scope, the timeline, and target completion date. 

Learn more about who does what in our Planning Process Guidance.

Decision- Making

Decisions will be informed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous advisory tables as well as topic specific working groups and other public input. Once sufficient information gathering and planning has been completed, the approach to decision-making will follow a structured decision- making (SDM) process. For more information on SDM, please see the Planning Process Guidance.

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