Lee Johnson

Bachelor of Science (Geography), University of Victoria

Contact: lcjohnso@sfu.ca

Supervisor: Dr. Murray Rutherford

Areas of research interest: sustainable water resource management, climate change adaptation, integrated watershed management policy and planning, adaptive governance, and water conservation policy and planning.

Profile: Lee grew up on Salt Spring Island surrounded by, and often up to his ears in water.  The more time Lee spent in the island’s lakes, the more he appreciated the benefits and services that a healthy, functional watershed provides to the community. Upon completion of high school, Lee worked with a water service provider on the island which helped him develop a better understanding of the complexities of water treatment, distribution and management. This interest in water planning and resource management led him to the University of Victoria (UVic) where he studied natural resource management. During his degree, Lee completed an honours thesis that focused on student perceptions of water use and sustainability on the UVic campus. Lee also completed the co-op education program which provided practical experience during four work-terms. Three terms were spent with the Capital Regional District (CRD) working for the Parks department and the Water Services department and primarily involved field work conducting a visitor use survey (Parks) and water conservation, education and outreach (Water Services). During his fourth co-op term Lee moved into an office environment with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands’ Climate Action Program. This experience familiarized Lee with the climate change priorities taking place within provincial government and the role of public policy in initiating change.  Upon completion of his bachelor of science, Lee worked first with the BC Provincial Government and then with the CRD to help initiate climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies throughout their respective organizations and within the community at large. During his time working with the provincial and regional governments Lee became aware of the substantial uncertainty that exists about how water resources will be managed in a changing climate and how changing precipitation patterns will impact community assets. This realization inspired Lee to pursue a Master’s degree in the Resource and Environmental Management program at SFU where he has the opportunity to engage with these problems.