How has 2017 been shaping up on the project front?
Continuing on work begun in 2016 on the evolving “Nature Stewards Program” with private landowners, the SCCP’s Stewardship Coordinator Tamsin Baker launched the “South Coast Species at Risk Series” this summer. The series brings together frequently asked questions, and the best places for answers about our local species at risk! The first edition of the series focuses on frogs, toads and salamanders and is entitled "Getting to Know Your Amphibians at Risk". The second in the series is focused on owls at risk and will be available on our website shortly. Each series includes identification guides, a welcome addition to the SCCP’s Species profiles and South Coast Endangered Species Finder mobile app.
Want to find out how the SCCP can help you with becoming a Nature Steward in your own backyard? Contact our Stewardship Coordinator Tamsin Baker to learn more!
Speaking of resources on the go, our South Coast Species at Risk Finder app is now available in an IOS version on iTunes for Apple users. Our existing Android version on Google Play also got a facelift! Along with the updated and new app version, we continue to work on updating all of the existing species profiles to sync with the full range of app fields as well as adding updated species field ID resources that you can download via the app.
In conjunction with our highly recognized work with municipalities, the SCCP has continued working on a ‘made for the South Coast’ resource for protecting critical habitat on private land. With many new policies and recovery strategies through the Species at Risk Act soon to be finalized by Ottawa, the work of the SCCP has never been more relevant. Presently in draft, the critical habitat protection decision guide for landowners and developers is designed to be part of the “front counter” interface that all local governments have with landowners and developers for permitting land use activities. The guide, now entering its second phase of development uses the Pacific Water Shrew as its pilot species and is being ‘field tested’ with a few Metro Vancouver municipalities over the coming months.
Projects like this, and more broadly the work of the SCCP will be crucial if the Province of BC Moves forward on its mandate to protect species at risk. BC is the only place in Canada still without stand-alone protection for species at risk. The ultimate goal for the SCCP is to ensure landowners and the municipalities that oversee the approval for most land use activities on private land, have a consistent guide for understanding the steps, options and responsibilities involved when dealing with species at risk critical habitat. The decision tool will also provide example processes that can be used consistently by local governments across the South Coast and assist them in understanding the actions they need to take (and the knowledge they need to have) to ensure informed direction around effective protection for species at risk and critical habitat for their own lands.
What about some of the other established SCCP programs? Species at Risk in the Classroom (or SARitc) curriculum is as always free for download! Check out the For Educators tab under Resources on our website to access the curriculum guides, resources for educators or learn about environmental grant opportunities for your school. Teachers, schools and youth groups interested in bringing a conservation scientist into the classroom, opportunities to enhance environmental learning in lesson plans, or planning nature-based outdoor learning events should contact the SCCP’s Special Projects Coordinator Pamela Zevit to find out about costs for in-class support.
The SCCP also continues to offer professional development workshops and guidance for local governments and First Nations seeking to integrate species at risk into policy and practice in their communities. Through a set of modules on species and ecosystems at risk (SEAR) management and best practices local government staff and politicians receive 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. Availability for training sessions is ongoing and we are happy to customize sessions to meet your unique local needs. Check out our SCCP Support for Local Governments: Policy development and operational training services guide, or contact the SCCP’s instructor for the training sessions, Special Projects Coordinator Pamela Zevit to find out about how we can help you build expertise and capacity within your organization.