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(published 1998)
Habitat Atlas for Wildlife at Risk
Integrating Wildlife Conservation with Development Planning

Land developers may view wildlife habitat concerns and environmental impact assessments as government hoops to jump through in getting their plans approved. This is often the result of having an environmental consultant hired after much of the planning has been completed. The consultant then has more difficulty providing measures to lessen the impact of the development.

There are definite advantages for developers to integrate wildlife habitat needs into their development planning at an early stage, prior to submitting plans to the approving agencies:

  • Speedier review by agencies reviewing and approving the proposal
  • Higher densities or other allowances may be given for some portions of the land if critical habitat areas are set aside
  • Less time and money spent redesigning projects to gain development approval
  • Costly mitigation measures may be avoided if land clearing and construction are planned with wildlife concerns in mind
  • Possible tax benefits for park land donations or covenants
  • Maintaining natural habitat areas may lessen landscaping costs
  • Addressing local conservation concerns at an early stage can promote goodwill in the community and lessen criticism at the public hearing stage
  • Higher market value and selling features for housing developments that preserve wildlife viewing opportunities and green space amenities.
How to Use Wildlife Atlas Maps in Development Planning
  1. Locate your area of interest in the species profile maps and determine if your area might include Red or Blue listed wildlife habitat.
  2. Examine the threats and management considerations for species identified for your area.
  3. Determine by site assessment if your specific area is an identified habitat.

The Habitat Atlas for Wildlife at Risk in the South Okanagan together with the enclosed Map of Important Wildlife Habitats in the South Okanagan and Lower Similkameen outline the best habitats in British Columbia for Red-listed wildlife species that are either endangered or threatened or are candidates for this status. The species distribution information and management recommendations will allow local governments to consider wildlife needs when planning for growth, development, and future park acquisition in their communities. The atlas maps and web site can be used during OCP development:

  • to show potential habitat corridors connecting core wildlife reserve areas
  • to assist in locating areas where development will have the greatest impact on wildlife habitat
  • to identify specific wildlife issues and priority wildlife species and their habitats that could be included in land use planning policies
  • under section 879(1)a: to designate where development permit areas will be required for "protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity"
  • under section 879(2): to describe the wildlife objectives that justify the permit area designation and to specify guidelines by which the objectives will be met
  • under section 879.1(1): to assist in designating land where development approval information on the environmental impact of the proposed activity will be required

Further References:

1. Land Development Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Habitat, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Lands and Parks, 1992.

2. Greening Your BC Golf Course: a guide to Environmental Management. Fraser River Action Plan, Environment Canada, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, 1996.

3. Marina Development Guidelines for the Protection of Fish and Fish Habitat. Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Lands and Parks, 1995.

4. Environmental Guidelines for Agricultural Sectors (seven publications), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods, 1992-1995, Horse Owners; Nursery and Turf Industry; Poultry Producers; Dairy Producers; Berry Producers; Greenhouse Growers; Beef Producers.

5. Reclamation and Environmental Handbook for Sand, Gravel and Quarry Operations. Unpublished. Available from Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Lands and Parks, Habitat Protection, #201-3547 Skaha Lake Road, Penticton.

6. Standardized Inventory Methodologies for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity: Raptors., Resource Inventory Committee (RIC), April 1996, draft.

7. Vegetation Inventory Sampling Procedures. Produced by the Vegetation Inventory Working Group for the Resource Inventory Committee, RIC, March 1995, draft.

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