Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast
Diversity by Design is intended to fulfill an identified need for science-based guidance for stewards, land managers, and practitioners involved in habitat restoration and management activities that either directly target or indirectly affect species and ecological communities at risk on BC’s South Coast. It is increasingly recognized that restoration projects should not be only focused on a single species but should employ a “multi-species approach” in order to maximize their conservation impact. Also, conflicts can arise between actions which are aimed at recovering one species but which may adversely impact another species. With the increased stressors on species and habitats, broadening the potential benefits of habitat restoration projects to include both species at risk and biodiversity generally while working to avoid unintentional conflicts with and risks to non-target species is needed. This guide and its accompanying modules present information useful for planning and implementing habitat restoration projects incorporating such an approach. There are a suite of resources available for habitat restoration and stewardship, many of which cover species at risk. The BC Ministry of Environment’s Develop with Care series and Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed for individual species. The Stewardship Centre of BC, Habitat Acquisition Trust and Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team have also developed a number of comprehensive publications and guidelines targeting habitat restoration and protection for a range of species and ecosystems at risk. Diversity by Design is complements these and other resources.
Here are several examples of how restoration projects can be of benefit to species and ecological communities at risk:
The 'DxD' series is made up of four documents, the main 'Guide', Module 1 - Wetland Communities, Module 2 - Forest Communities and Module 3 - Stream and Riparian Communities.
Main Guide - Read me first! This document is the first stop in the roadmap for users who are looking to plan, implelment and monitor restoration projects involving species and ecological communities at risk. Content includes connections to consider for species at risk and critical habitat, example sensitivity windows to consider and species at risk-habitat associations.
Module 1 Wetland Communities: Wetland restoration provides more than just the direct benefits of creating or reviving habitat. Wetlands help manage stormwater and agricultural runoff, reduce maintenance and capital costs while providing valuable recreational opportunities. Restoration projects that achieve a variety of benefits can be more cost-effective and are more likely to gain community support. This is particularly important in urban areas where land use decisions are often competing and conflicting with conservation. Wetland Communities complements the main guidebook developed in 2013 by Patrick Lilley and supports the SCCP’s commitment to the “Wetlands Declaration” signed in 2013.
Module 2 Forest Communities: Beyond the provision of habitat, forests provide valuable ecosystem services (e.g. air and water quality improvements, cooling/shading, etc.) support a range of recreational opportunities, and contribute to human health and well-being. Restoration projects that are designed to achieve a variety of these benefits can be more cost-effective and are more likely to gain community support.
Module 3 Stream and Riparian Areas: British Columbia’s South Coast has an abundance of watercourses. Before European settlement, First Nations relied on many of these rivers and streams as a primary source of food. Today, the Fraser River is still the most productive salmon producing river in the world. A sum of its tributary parts, this internationally recognized watershed could not maintain its productivity without the thousands of small streams that feed into it. Beyond their fisheries values, streams act as a life-giving arterial network of water for a host of aquatic and terrestrial species.
As well as the Diversity by Design series, the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team has developed a comprehensive set of principles and practices for restoring BC's Garry Oak ecosystems and the Stewardship Centre of BC has also developed stewardship best practices to address threats to species at risk in BC. Closer to home our friends at Precious Frog have also added an excellent resources page to their website highlighting learning outcomes and monitoring techniques for projects in the Fraser Valley. A sampling of other complementary resources have been provided below.