Banner Photo Credit: Tracey Saxby
Through the broad range of topics explored in the report you will find evidence that Howe Sound is recovering from past industrial impacts, experiencing rapid growth and development, and facing emerging global ocean issues, such as climate change. You will also find many specific issues that need to be addressed. Here we highlight some common issues across all themes that are influencing the state of Howe Sound coastal ecosystems and propose an action plan in response.
Key Issues (not listed in order):
→ Valuable habitat has been lost in areas affected by industrialization, some contamination introduced in past decades still lingers, and many sensitive habitats remain unprotected.
→ Growth in population, commercial, and residential development, and even tourism are outpacing the capacity to manage the growth.
→ Popular outdoor learning, tourism, recreation, and cultural continuity, which contribute to human wellbeing, depend upon a healthy environment. All are at risk due to increasing activity and development.
→ There are limited baseline data to properly assess the status of many ecosystem components, pressures, and drivers. Data from past and existing research and monitoring are often not readily accessible. Baseline data are needed to further assess impacts and changes, including cumulative effects.
→ Science and monitoring activities (including citizen science) are not connected to each other or to a larger set of research priorities, and significant research gaps exist.
→ Limited monitoring and enforcement means that regulations are often ineffective at achieving objectives such as conservation, safety, and security.
→ Many risks (flooding, drought, coastal squeeze), threats to sensitive habitats, and best stewardship practices are not widely acknowledged and understood.
→ Marine activities in Howe Sound are currently managed by more than ten different government bodies. Yet no one is looking at the overall picture of what is happening, including the cumulative effects of all the activities and stressors in the area. Coordinated, comprehensive information and planning does not exist.
→ Further reconciliation is needed with First Nations in order for communities, governments, and businesses to move forward with greater clarity and well-being.
→ A variety of groups are engaged in different issues, agendas, and locations, but there is no uniting initiative that focuses people on working together to solve current and emerging challenges.