Howe Sound scores 58 out of 100 for Sense of Place; a score that combines a 70 for iconic species and a 45 for lasting special places. A healthy ocean provides a deep sense of identity and belonging through connections with our marine communities.

Authors: Courtney Scarborough, Project Scientist, Ocean Health Index, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Casey O’Hara, Researcher, Ocean Health Index, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Banner Photo Credit: Vancouver Aquarium

What can the Ocean Health Index tell us about Sense of Place and Wellbeing?

 

Read about the Ocean Health Index and this report here.

How did the OHI define Sense of Place?

Sense of Place: A healthy ocean provides a deep sense of identity and belonging through connections with our marine communities.

How did the OHI measure Sense of Place?

The Ocean Health Index measured how well the ocean is providing a Sense of Place to the people of Howe Sound by measuring how well iconic species populations in the region are faring and how well the special places around Howe Sound are being conserved through marine and coastal protected areas. Each one of these components contributed equally to the overall score of 58 out of 100.

To measure the status of Iconic Species we assess the threat to species that are culturally or socially important to Howe Sound.

First the Ocean Health Index team worked with CORI and other local community members to define a list of species that are iconic to the people of Howe Sound. Iconic Species are species that are special from a cultural perspective and symbolize the cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic benefits that people hold for a region, often bringing intangible benefits to coastal communities and beyond.

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Iconic species included in this assessment and their current conservation status.

Once we had this complete list we used data from local, regional, and global sources to determine the conservation status of each species. To achieve a perfect score, all iconic species in the region should be listed as of “least concern,” meaning there is little risk of extinction.

 

 

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To measure the status of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas we assess the conservation status of marine and coastal areas around Howe Sound.

Here we looked at how much of the marine and coastal area within the Howe Sound region is designated as protected (Figure 1). In the marine environment 0.7 percent of Howe Sound is protected. To determine the terrestrial extent of protection we looked at the entire watershed around Howe Sound and the Squamish River. In the terrestrial environment 26.4 percent of Howe Sound is protected. We used an internationally established target of “30 percent of marine and coastal areas protected” as the benchmark for a perfect score for this measure.

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Figure 1. Marine and coastal protected areas (purple) throughout Howe Sound watersheds (green).

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