What is this project about?
We are using the power of collaboration to help create a better approach to land use planning and conserve biodiversity in our ecologically rich area, now under increasing pressure from human influence and climate change. Our work is aligned with Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy which is intended to coordinate land management activities across all levels of government and enhance collaboration with NGO and Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.
Our Project Prospectus includes more detail about the context and approaches for our work.
How did we get here?
The concept for our project originated in May 2019, with a concerned citizen’s presentation to District of Squamish Council. She pointed out that Squamish has recognized in our Bylaws and Official Community Plan the need to create and support wildlife and habitat connectivity but that action was not being taken to do so. Private donations enabled our Society to engage CoastRange Environmental in 2021 to do some preliminary work on what it might take to do better. Private donations plus grants from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and BC Nature/BC Naturalists’ Foundation enabled us to continue with CoastRange in 2022 – 2023 with research into options and technologies. We also began to engage with other groups and individuals interested in conserving biodiversity.
We are working collaboratively with the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative Society (HSBRIS), responsible for managing the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region, in recognition of the potential for our Squamish project to have significance for the entire Biosphere Region. Through HSBRIS, our project is receiving ongoing partial funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Why do we need to act now?
Southwestern British Columbia, like many densely settled regions of the world, is experiencing increased threat of biodiversity loss caused by the pressures of urban growth and development. More than 25% of wildland habitat in our Biosphere Region has been lost either to permanent human settlement or to ongoing resource development activities. Such resource development activities have been supported by road infrastructure that is increasingly transforming the backcountry into a human-dominated landscape (BC Cumulative Effects, 2021). These pressures threaten the culture and values of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) as well as the rich biodiversity for which our area is known. Climate change is already affecting habitat and the need for animals to move to adapt will only increase. While current patterns of disturbance by humans are likely to continue, the potential for biodiversity loss can be mitigated in part by establishing habitat connectivity networks that facilitate the flow of wildlife and ecological processes across a rapidly changing landscape.
What do we hope to achieve? Goals
Next steps: Project Plan
Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions
Letters of Support for our project
Videos of local wildlife
Photo by Brian Aikens: a pair of Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis ssp. roosevelti), a blue-listed species in BC, in the Squamish Valley. The elk were re-introduced to the Squamish Valley in 2006 in two small herds. In the years since, seven elk have been struck and killed by motor vehicles on Highway 99 in Squamish.