Happy Spring Equinox everyone! Winter is finally starting to lose its grip! Well…sort of. But as our newsletter banner image shows, the skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) is in full aromatic bloom, our friends at Precious Frog tell us that the Oregon Spotted Frogs (Rana pretiosa) or “Spottys” out in the Fraser Valley are busy a-laying. The team at the SCCP is looking forward to all the great species at risk conservation and outreach fun that spring and summer 2017 are set to bring. So without further ado let’s get cracking exploring what we have been up to and what is on the horizon for the South Coast Conservation Program and our partners:Since we reported on program checks and balances in our fall-winter newsletter, the SCCP has been going full steam in respect to implementing the program activities funded in the last quarter of 2016.
In partnership with the Fraser Valley Conservancy, the SCCP has revitalized its ongoing focus on landowner contact through the evolving Nature Stewards Program and collaborative work with local governments. These core programs would not have continued without funding through the Federal Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.
In particular check out the “Programs and Resources” blog post by the SCCP’s Stewardship Coordinator Tamsin Baker on Creating a Stewardship Road Map for the South Coast to see the path the SCCP is charting.
The SCCP has also begun working on a ‘made for the South Coast’ resource for protecting critical habitat on private land. 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, which uses the Pacific Water Shrew as a test case species is designed to assist landowners in navigating responsibilities around SARA requirements for the effective protection of critical habitat. 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. For further information contact the SCCP’s Special Projects Coordinator Pamela Zevit.
Our South Coast Species at Risk Finder app is also getting a bit of a facelift and the IOS version for Apple users is almost ready (we know it has taken way too long!). Concurrent with the updated and new app versions, we are working through 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.
By the way did you know that the SCCP has a You Tube channel? We have a number of videos and past webinars you can tune into and more to come! Don’t forget to sign up on our homepage for our bi-annual newsletter and like us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out on upcoming webinars and other outreach events!
For those who use our website on a regular basis you may start to notice some long overdue changes. Many tabs and resources are being moved over and others removed. We are working hard to make the website easier to navigate and how resources are grouped more intuitive. This includes adding a number of new tabs including resources for First Nations as well as stand-alone pages for Monitoring and Citizen Science resources and activities. Most changes should be complete by the late spring!
What about some of the other established SCCP programs like Species at Risk in the Classroom? They are now delivered via a “Social Enterprise Model” (fee for service basis). The SARitc curriculum is as always, free for download. To download the curriculum guides, check out other SCCP resources for educators or learn about grant opportunities for your organization, check out the For Educators tab under Resources on our website. Teachers, schools and youth groups interested in bringing a conservation expert into the classroom, opportunities to enhance environmental learning into lesson plans or planning nature-based outdoor events should contact the SCCP’s Special Projects Coordinator Pamela Zevit.
Our funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC for assisting local governments in developing effective species and ecosystems at risk (“SEAR”) policy has finished. Two components completed with the end of project funding was a SARA 101 brochure for local governments to make available to the public and a set of workshop modules for local governments on SEAR management and best practices. These 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. Marketing for training sessions will begin over the late spring of this year. Most recently our Conservation Planner Christine Cooper provided a review of the upcoming Egmont/Pender Harbour Official Community Plan for the Sunshine Coast Regional District.The SCCP's focus is to continue to provide expertise and support via the same Social Enterprise Model as SARitc.