Demonstration Sites & Interpretive Signage

Demonstration Sites & Interpretive Signage

Status: The Demonstration Sites & Interpretive Signage funding program is now open for 2023 project proposals. Please note that funding is limited - submit your proposal today! Contact waterstewardship [at] with any questions.

No matter where you are within the Regional District of Nanaimo, you are in a watershed.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan 2.0 (Action 5.1.1) has identified the use of demonstration sites and interpretive signage as a meaningful to way to bring awareness to watershed features, watershed restoration and stewardship, and nature-based urban infrastructure that restore or protect watershed function. 

Demonstration sites are real-world examples of features, practices, or infrastructure that inspire stewardship, action, or adoption of behaviours that are beneficial to communities and the environment. Examples of demonstration sites of green infrastructure (urban infrastructure that incorporates nature-based solutions that aim to retain or restore ecological function) include raingardens, bioswales, xeriscape gardens, rainwater harvesting practices, green rooftops, pervious surfaces, and more. 

Interpretive signage is an effective and engaging way to bring public awareness to the function and importance of natural ecosystems and community efforts that aim to restore or protect those ecosystems. Together, demonstration sites and interpretive signs are a powerful tool to illustrate water sustainable practices, highlight the importance of healthy watersheds, and promote freshwater conservation. 

The Demonstration Site & Interpretive Signage funding program supports the efforts of community organizations, stewardship groups, local government, and First Nations by offering to fund up to $5,000 for the installation or enhancement of demonstration sites and/or interpretive signage.

Who Can Apply:

First Nations and municipal governments within the Regional District of Nanaimo, community organizations, non-profit environmental stewardship groups, as well as Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) departments, may be eligible to apply for up to $5,000 (or greater based on project need and available funds) for demonstration site installation or enhancement and/or interpretive signage.  

  • Other community groups or organizations may be considered eligible if the proposed project matches the merits of the program and aligns with DWWP initiatives. 

  • Priority may be given to organizations that have partnered on other DWWP initiatives, such as those who have participated in the Community Watershed Monitoring Network

Project Eligibility:
  • Demonstration sites and interpretive signs must be within the Regional District of Nanaimo, including electoral areas (A, B, C, E, F, G, H) and member municipalities (Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach).
  • Projects must be jointly funded by other partners, donors, and/or include in-kind contributions.
  • Project sites must have not received Demonstration Site and Interpretive Signage funding previously unless a need for further public education and awareness can be sufficiently demonstrated. 
  • Eligible organizations may request funds to support the installation of a new demonstration site or the improvement of an existing demonstration site. Demonstration site projects MUST include the installation of an interpretive sign. Alternatively, eligible organizations may request funds to support the installation of interpretive signage at existing demonstration sites or watershed features.
  • Demonstration sites that may be eligible for improvement/installation funding include community green infrastructure that aims to protect or restore watershed function and the natural water cycle, such as rain gardens, bioswales, low-impact landscaping, green roofs, urban tree covers, community areas with pervious surfaces, and more.
  • Eligible sites for interpretive signage include important watershed features (such as streams, rivers, lakes, riparian areas, wetlands, marshes, estuaries, and areas overlaying sensitive aquifers), watershed restoration, research or monitoring sites, or existing demonstration sites of community green infrastructure that aim to protect or restore watershed function and the natural water cycle (including rain gardens, bioswales, native plant and xeriscape landscaping, green roofs, urban tree covers, community areas with pervious surfaces, and more). 
  • Applicants must highlight a need for demonstration sites and/or interpretive signage, how the site was chosen, as well as why the community would benefit from the education, awareness, and information provided by the site and/or sign. 
  • Applicants must acquire all necessary permits and permissions for site placement and installation, including: 
    • Written permission(s) from landowner(s). 

    • Building permits, inspections, and professional consultation where installation may alter or impact existing infrastructure.

    • Professional review of the site or sign design, placement, and associated works where there may be the potential of impacting the natural environment. 

      • Installation must not interfere with or negatively impact the surrounding natural area (i.e. the sign must be installed on existing trails, pathways, parking lots, or other altered surfaces, so as not to disturb any natural area). 

  • A demonstration site and/or interpretive sign maintenance plan to address site upkeep, the potential of vandalism, aging sign materials, and outdated sign content, must be included in the project submission or addressed prior to the issuance of funds. 

How To Apply:

Submit project proposals by completing the online form below or emailing waterstewardship [at]

Submissions must include:

  • Contact name and organization,
  • Brief description of the project, including:
    • Project type (eg. rain garden and sign installation, green roof upgrade and sign installation, sign installation only at an existing site, etc.),
    • Location of the project within the RDN,
    • Project timeline (estimate of the project start and end dates),
    • Project site description and visibility (i.e. the level of public accessibility to the site),
    • The scale of installation (i.e. new demonstration site and sign installation, site improvement to an existing site with sign installation, or sign installation only)
  • Estimate of project costs and list of any funding contributors or donators, including in-kind donations and support,
  • The amount of Demonstration Site & Interpretive Signage program funds requested,
  • List of project partners and description of the level of involvement or support from First Nations,
  • Brief description of how and why the project site was chosen, as well as why the community would benefit from the education, awareness, and information provided by the site and/or sign. 
  • Description of a site maintenance plan.

Project submissions do not guarantee funding approval. Project proposals will be evaluated against a set of prioritization criteria and funding availability.

Contact waterstewardship [at] with any questions or to discuss demonstration site and interpretive signage project ideas.

Project Prioritization

In an effort to achieve an equitable distribution of support and to balance a diversity of demonstration site and interpretive signage projects across the region, project proposals will be prioritized projects based on a set of consistent criteria, including:

  • Project Type: projects will be categorized and may be prioritized based on the type of project proposed.
  • Location: projects will be assessed on the location within the RDN, where locations that have not received program funding support previously may be prioritized. 
  • Project Timeline: projects will be assessed on the year the installation is planned to occur, where imminent projects may receive priority and where projects may be prioritized for future support. Contact DWWP or submit a project proposal early to be considered for future support. 
  • Funding & Partnerships: projects may be prioritized where there is an opportunity to build upon the support of other funding and diversity of partners (eg. Grants, in-kind donations from community volunteers, etc). 
  • Site Visibility: demonstration and signage sites that are situated to capture broad public engagement may be prioritized.
  • Installation & Maintenance: the scale of installation and development of a site maintenance plan will be considered in prioritizing projects. 
  • First Nations Involvement: projects that include involvement and support from First Nations will be prioritized. 
DWWP Staff Support

Drinking Water & Watershed Protection (DWWP) staff will rely on applying organizations for project planning and design, installation, and maintenance. However, the DWWP team will be available to support with the coordinating of project partners, assisting with project planning and helping to draft sign content, key messaging and graphics.

Don't hesitate to contact DWWP at waterstewardship [at] with any questions or to discuss ideas.

Submit a Demonstration Site & Interpretive Signage Project Proposal:

Buttertubs Marsh

‘Public awareness on where our drinking water comes from, what is the current health of our aquatic ecosystems, and how can we best take care of this precious resource is essential to promote water conservation and generate support for innovative water policy.’ 

 – DWWP Action Plan 2.0: 5.1 Water Awareness and Stewardship 

The vision of the RDN's Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program is for healthy, safe, and resilient water resources in the region. Learn more at

Contact waterstewardship [at] with any questions or to discuss demonstration site and interpretive signage project ideas.

Riverbank Graphic

Include property address if possible
Briefly describe how and why the project site was chosen, as well as why the community would benefit from the education, awareness, and information provided by the site and/or sign
Maximum 10 files.
100 MB limit.
Allowed types: jpg, png.
Briefly describe the level of public visibility & accessibility
Include the projected start and end date (DD/MM/YY)
Include a breakdown of projected costs if possible
Include the amount of program funds requested to support
A full maintenance plan will be required before approved funds can be issued
One file only.
100 MB limit.
Allowed types: pdf, doc, docx.


I understand that my project proposal is not approved until I receive confirmation from the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). I have read and understood the requirements of the Demonstration Site & Interpretive Signage program provided on the information sheet and on the RDN website (
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