Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services

Environmental Stewardship Division

Welcome to the Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) of the Ministry of Environment.

Miracle Beach campsite

Vancouver Island Marmot - Haley Lake Ecologicial Reserve


Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area

Click on each image for a larger view

Our mission is to maintain and restore the natural diversity of provincial ecosystems and fish and wildlife species and their habitat; to provide fish and wildlife recreation services and opportunities to British Columbians and visitors, and to provide overall leadership of provincial government strategies and initiatives related to oceans and marine fisheries.

The Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) works to develop, promote and measure achievement of provincial goals for the conservation of living resources, and provides fish and wildlife recreation services.

ESD's headquarters is located in Victoria, with the majority of staff located in nine regional offices. The division is comprised of four branches: Ecosystems Branch, Fish & Wildlife Branch, Oceans & Marine Fisheries Branch, and Regional Operations Branch.

Key objectives of the Division include the:

  • Management and conservation of the province's biodiversity;

  • Protection of species and ecosystems at risk;

  • Protection and restoration of British Columbia's watersheds;

  • Protection of fish and wildlife species and their habitat;

  • Provision of fish and wildlife recreation.

Details on the delivery of these key objectives can be reviewed in the Ministry's Service Plan.

Mountain SheepThe Division will meet these objectives by using science-based information and knowledge in the development of policy, legislation and regulations, setting clear environmental standards and performance expectations, and ensuring compliance through monitoring, auditing and public reporting. The Division will expand its work with partners to meet division and ministry goals, and will emphasize shared stewardship by encouraging others to accept a greater role in environmental stewardship and facilitating community initiatives to protect and restore local environments. These environmental stewardship actions will be coordinated with related ones in the ministry's other divisions - Parks and Protected Areas, Environmental Protection, Water Stewardship, and Strategic Policy - and with other ministries and jurisdictions.

Conservation Framework

Conservation FrameworkThe Conservation Framework is British Columbia’s new approach for maintaining the rich biodiversity of the province, providing a set of science-based tools and actions for conserving species and ecosystems in B.C. To better manage for species and ecosystems of conservation concern, the Conservation Framework to 1) prioritize species and ecosystems for conservation; 2) determine the most appropriate and effective management actions; and 3) optimize allocation of resources, including staff time and dollars. For more information, visit the Conservation Framework website.

Program plans provide strategic guidance to three priority program areas and help Branches integrate their efforts to achieve Divisional goals.

Ecosystems Program

EcosystemsProgramPlan2010_5.3MBThe Ecosystems Program Plan – Conserving British Columbia’s Species, Habitats and Ecosystems, June 2010 (PDF 5.35 MB), is the 5-year strategic plan for the Ecosystems Program. It outlines the key drivers and challenges that affect our work, and sets out our vision, goals and success measures, and our priorities, including current and anticipated work over the next 5 years. This plan has been developed by Ecosystems Program staff in Ministry of Environment headquarters (Victoria) and regions. It will help ensure alignment of program priorities and annual business plans with the broader goals of the Ministry and the provincial government. 

Although the program plan is primarily intended to provide expectations and strategic direction for program staff, it will also provide an increased understanding of the context for, and the broad scope of, the work of the Ecosystems Program.  We invite everyone to read the Ecosystems Program Plan.

Freshwater Fisheries Program

FreshwaterFisheriesPrgmPlan2.39MBOne of the Five Great Goals of the Provincial Government is to make British Columbia’s fisheries management the best, bar none. To help us achieve this goal we have developed a comprehensive Program Plan for Freshwater Fisheries. The Freshwater Fisheries Program Plan (PDF 2.33MB), created by input from program staff, provides clear direction on program priorities to help guide our collective decision-making going forward. By tying specific activities to ministry priorities, we feel the plan will be useful in building an understanding of the program and how we all contribute to its delivery.

Wildlife Program

WildlifePrgmPlanWildlife contributes to the cultural and economic fabric of the province and plays a central role in First Nations’ traditional way of life. Wildlife also provides a source of food and recreational activities that enhance the health and well-being of British Columbians and visitors. Increasing and cumulative effects from climate change, human activities, invasive alien species and other emerging issues, create significant challenges for current and future Wildlife Program staff.

Managing the province’s wildlife heritage through shared stewardship is a key part of one of the Five Great Goals of the Provincial Government: to “Lead the world in sustainable environmental management". To help BC achieve this, we have developed a Wildlife Program Plan (PDF 2.83MB). This comprehensive plan provides direction to meet current and emerging challenges over the coming years and helps guide our collective efforts in wildlife management. It builds understanding of the Wildlife Program and how our staff and partners will contribute to its delivery.

Branches in Environmental Stewardship Division

Juan de Fuca TrailThe Ecosystems Branch is responsible for biodiversity science, standards and policy for the Ministry, and is responsible for the preparation of a biodiversity strategy for British Columbia. Important aspects of this work include the development of more specific strategies on living rivers and species at risk. The Branch develops legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines to protect natural diversity. It also manages the acquisition and application of science-based information and knowledge for aquatic and terrestrial habitats and species. The Branch establishes protocols and performance measures for monitoring and reporting on the state of provincial biodiversity and the effectiveness of activities being used to sustain it.

Fish stocking at Alice Lake The Fish and Wildlife Branch establishes legislation, policies and procedures for managing fishing and hunting activities and for the allocation of fish and wildlife resources for recreational and commercial use. The Branch manages the provincial fish culture and stocking programs to support recreational fishing and endangered species recovery.



Canoe IsletsThe Oceans and Marine Fisheries Branch is responsible for the overall leadership of provincial government strategies and initiatives related to ocean resources and marine fisheries, as well as seafood industry development.



Picnic area at Moberly LakeThe Division's Regional Operations Branch includes nine regional offices. Regional staff is responsible for the on-the-ground delivery of the division's programs across the province, supported by Victoria headquarters. Regional staff of the ministry's divisions are co-located in regional offices to encourage teamwork. There are also small area offices in locations across the province to provide enforcement and park operations capacity in local communities.