Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast
The South Coast is the first region to implement actions that integrate recommendations from the discussion paper Working Together to Protect Species at Risk: Strategies Recommended by Local Government to Improve Conservation on Municipal, Regional and Private Lands in British Columbia developed by the provincial Species and Ecosystems at Risk and Local Governments Working Group (SEAR LGWG). While local governments have many of the tools needed to achieve protection for species at risk, those that work to achieve such actions are few. The reasons for this are most often due to challenges at the political level, internal capacity and gaps in resources. In June 2013, with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the SCCP initiated A Pilot Partnership for Integrating Species and Ecosystems at Risk into Sustainable Land Use with a core group of local government partners. Resources developed through this evolving partnerhsip can be found below.
To date the SCCP has worked with a number of municipalities including the District of West Vancouver, District of Squamish, Resort Municipality of Whistler and Sunshine Coast Regional District, and continues to provide guidance to a range of municipalities as they begin the necessary steps to address protecting species at risk and their habitat.
To support our work with local governments the SCCP employs a social enterprise model (SEM) when undertaking policy reviews and or developing locally relevant, meaningful language and approaches for municiplaities to address SARA responsibilities within their jurisdiction. To find out how we can assist your municipality please see our SCCP Support for Local Governments: Policy development and operational training services guide below or contact the SCCP.
Other organizations such as the Stewardship Centre of British Columbia / Green Bylaws Tookit, The Gary Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team Society, Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Partnership, South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program and Kootenay Conservation Program have also developed a host of complementary tools and resources for local governments and land use interests. As well check out the Islands Trust website for a comparison of their regulatory approaches and conservtion incentives for protecting species and habitat.
Local Government Tools Supporting Species and Ecosystems at Risk: A Resource Guide for the South Coast of British Columbia This document is designed as a resource guide for local governments, decision-makers and those involved in land use stewardship and in the development or implementation of actions that effect species and ecological communities at risk (SEAR). The guide was developed as part of the learning outcomes from the SCCP’s 2013 initiative “A Pilot Partnership for Integrating Species and Ecosystems at Risk into Sustainable Land Use.” The project focused on the regional implementation of the B.C. Government’s Species and Ecosystems at Risk and Local Governments Working Group (SEAR LGWG) recommendations.
Species at Risk and Critical Habitat: Understanding Responsibilities & Making Informed Decisions On Private Land (Sept. 2018) and our "SARA 101" brochure. These resources are specifically designed for addressing roles and responsibilities around dealing with species at risk and critical habitat on private lands. While this resource was developed with landowners, developers and realtors in mind, the document will also be a useful tool for local governments when engaging with these audiences, whether at the municipal hall "front counter", as part of community planning or even on up to the elected decision maker level.
The SCCP also hosts ongoing webinars to provide an interactive online forum on timely and relevant issues and resources around species at risk and land use.
Looking to increase capacity and expertise at the operational level? Beyond assitance with policy and bylaw development, the SCCP provides customizable training workshops on SEAR management and best practices for staff and elected officials. Session content includes an introduction to SARA, dialogue on municipal responsibilities, identification and best practices for priority South Coast species at risk found in/across respective municipalities, their critical habitat attributes and approaches for protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitat.
Working with the SCCP provides a cost effective approach for local governments to benefit from the SCCP's expertise and assistance in dealing with species at risk and critical habitat conservation. Ultimately the goal is to have a consistent and committed approach to integrating species and ecosystems at risk in land use policies and practices.
Aside from local governments, the Real Estate Foundation and Ducks Unlimited Canada, the SCCP has collaborated with other ENGO's on developing resources for local governments. The BC Wetlands Federation has been working on a complementary process with local governments. The outcomes of their work from 2013 can be access here.
A Growing Toolkit: The BC Ministry of Environment's Develop with Care Best Management Practices (BMPs) series provides a foundational resource for local governments when addressing a range of development issues. Local governments should also add the updated Green Bylaws Toolkit to the suite of guidance resources for land use planning. The SCCP has also looked to a number of local government partners as part of compiling progressive bylaws and planning tools that target species at risk on the South Coast. Examples include the City of Surrey's Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA) Bylaw and and the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Invasive Species Bylaw.
For South Coast/Coast Region municipalities looking for resources to protect and restore critical habitat on their own lands (e.g. parks or rights of way), or to suggest to developers and landowners should check out the SCCP's Diversity by Design Toolkit and complementary resources developed by The Stewardship Centre of BC, Habitat Acquisition Trust and Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team.
The SCCP would like to acknowledge the support and investment of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and Ducks Unlimited Canada for supporting the SCCP in building the foundational partnerships that have enabled the SCCP to move forward in developing this unique model for working with local governments on SEAR responsibilities.
The Real Estate Foundation's Mission: The Real Estate Foundation transforms land use attitudes and practices through innovation, stewardship, and learning.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. Using sound science, we deliver on-the-ground habitat conservation projects, research, education programs and public policy work to conserve, restore and manage wetlands.