Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast
Since 2013 the SCCP has been working to assist local governments across 5 Regional Districts on the South Coast. 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 reason for this is most often due to challenges at the political level. A Pilot Partnership for Integrating Species and Ecosystems at Risk into Sustainable Land Use was initiated with a core group of local government partners in June 2013 to tackle this issue. Resources developed through this evolving partnerhsip can be found in the "Resources" section at the bottom of this page.
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).
A Growing Toolkit: The BC Ministry of Environment's Develop with Care and 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 made for the South Coast/Coast region. Examples include the City of Surrey's Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA) Bylaw and District of Saanich's Environmental Development Permitting Area Bylaw 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.
One of our most recent publications is the "SARA 101" brochure for local governments to share with the public. 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.
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 date the SCCP has worked with the District of West Vancouver, District of Squamish, Resort Municipality of Whistler and Sunshine Coast Regional District as well as providing guidance to a range of municipalities as they begin the necessary steps to address protecting species at risk and their habitat.
The SCCP provides specialized training workshops with an accredited professional on SEAR management and best practices for staff [and interested elected officials]. The session modules cover an introduction to SARA, municipal responsibilities, how to identify priority South Coast species at risk and 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.
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.