Banner Photo Credit: Tracey Saxby
The full Report includes many actions needed on specific issues. The following Action Plan includes items that were common across many of the themes and articles in the Report. If implemented, these actions can boost the assessment ratings for Howe Sound.
This Action Plan will need to be accompanied by an Implementation Plan that outlines specific activities, partners, resources, and timelines in the next two years to accelerate recovery and continued abundance in Howe Sound.
Action 1: Create a Marine Guide that brings together information about the area
- Identify areas of significant ecological and human value, and create recommendations related to their use.
- Serve as a unified information source for planning and decisions by all levels of government (e.g., marine use planning, new tenure placement, foreshore development, protected area planning, oil-spill response planning, hazard planning, and management, cultural sites, etc.) while respecting their jurisdictions.
- Provide a platform for sharing monitoring and analysis results (e.g., contamination levels, models of potential climate change impacts, etc.).
- Provide best practices and resources for businesses, residents and managers in protecting significant values (e.g., protecting marine mammals, eagle nests, functioning shoreline habitat, etc.).
Action 2: Protect and restore priority marine species, habitats, and functions
- Increase the proportion of area protected, with an immediate focus on protecting glass sponge reefs, beach spawning habitat, water flow, important bird areas, and wildlife management areas.
- Establish a restoration strategy and fund with an immediate focus on salmon, forage fish, estuary habitat, and eelgrass.
- Remove existing wrecked and abandoned vessels and prevent problem vessels.
- Reduce entry of pollutants into marine environment (e.g., harmful chemicals and minerals, plastics and microplastics, wastewater, and hydrocarbons).
Action 3: Track the status and trends of key indicators using science, traditional knowledge, and citizen engagement
- Identify priority values and indicators.
- Where possible identify targets.
- Identify methods and partners to collect data, including a citizen science portal.
- Gather new or existing data on the state of key indicators (e.g., volume, location, and timing of marine vessel traffic and marine traffic incidents).
- Analyze results and, where possible, correlate ecosystem changes with changes in pressures on the values and indicators.
- Inform a cumulative effects analysis.
- Inform management and recovery strategies for predators with improved information on the status of prey species.
- Inform actions, policies, and regulations on key subjects, such as better response to local marine traffic issues.
- Ensure data are available and easy to access via the internet.
- Link data and results to the ‘Marine Guide’ outlined above so that they can be georeferenced and quickly found on a single map platform.
Action 4: Develop a Howe Sound marine use plan
- Build on the Squamish Nation’s land use plan for the upper watersheds, Xay Temixw – Sacred Land, by incorporating plans for the marine environment and stream catchments to the mouth of Howe Sound.
- Protect Wild Spirit Places and heritage, traditional use, sacred, and cultural sites.
- Working through existing authorities, set targets and boundaries that balance and protect different values.
- Address the cumulative impacts of activities and pressures in Howe Sound.
Action 5: Increase awareness, education, and the practice of stewardship
- Increase appreciation for and connection to nature, and First Nations spiritual and cultural heritage.
- Work with outdoor educators, youth camps, and tourism businesses to introduce and connect people to the area and its values, including getting Squamish Nation members into their traditional territory for health, education, recreation, spiritual, and cultural purposes.
- Enable people to understand and share information about proper wildlife viewing ethics, proper angling techniques, effective poaching reporting, and relevant regulations.
- Enable people to understand and share information about emerging climate related threats (e.g., coastal flooding, landslide, drought, coastal squeeze) and marine safety.
Action 6: Improve monitoring and enforcement of regulated activities in order to decrease illegal activity
- Explore the use of technology to improve monitoring and enforcement.
- Explore opportunities for citizens and businesses to work with government agencies (e.g. ranger program).
Action 7: Negotiate co-management arrangements related to marine resources to provide greater understanding and certainty for residents, businesses, and managers
- First Nations, governments and businesses continue to develop agreements related to aboriginal rights and title.
- Get Squamish members more involved in resource management.
Action Plan Leadership
This Action Plan complements government and other planning processes by identifying a unified set of priorities and opportunities. Federal, provincial, local, First Nations, private, charitable, and other entities can use this Plan to highlight commitments and coordinate activities.
The Action Plan should be considered a collective effort to be implemented by diverse partners. To lead the collective effort, it is recommended that Federal, Provincial, First Nations, and local governments:
→ Convene an intergovernmental task force to coordinate government efforts and funding.
→ Accept nominations and appoint a Leadership Team of individuals from government, business, communities, and other sectors that will act cohesively to advance the Action Plan. Team members should have a track record of personal achievement related to the Action Items. The mission of the Leadership Team is to engage citizens, businesses, and governments in developing an implementation plan and achieving measurable results over the next two years.
→ Fund a secretariat to assist the intergovernmental task force and Leadership Team to complete their work.