Proposed Abstract Title

Toward a Shared Strategic Environmental Stewardship Agenda for Burrard Inlet

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Marine Ecosystem Restoration in the Urban Environment

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Over the last 150 years, urban, industrial, and port development, pollution, and resource exploitation has impaired the health of Burrard Inlet and reduced the opportunity for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) and other local First Nations to utilize its waters and beaches for traditional food harvesting and other cultural practices. To raise the profile of marine environmental quality issues in Burrard Inlet, TWN commissioned the development of the Burrard Inlet Action Plan: A Tsleil-Waututh Perspective, a founding guidance document for a new science-based, First Nations-led initiative to improve the health of Burrard Inlet by 2025. The plan updates older environmental reviews of the inlet and will aid in development of a wider consensus on environmental stewardship actions to implement in the near term. Key findings from an assessment of environmental conditions and trends in Burrard Inlet revealed several areas of concern: long-term changes in physical water quality, ongoing unsafe levels of contamination at some locations, continuing declines in some key species populations, localized losses of important nearshore habitat types, and significant predicted detrimental effects from climate change. Furthermore, there is insufficient, up-to-date data to inform strategic environmental stewardship planning, existing research and monitoring efforts are also not coordinated, and information is not widely shared. Based on TWN’s vision for a healthy Burrard Inlet, six priority actions have been identified to improve the health and integrity of the inlet: updating site-specific water quality objectives, installing scientific instruments to monitor water quality, characterizing and reducing pollution from stormwater runoff, mapping nearshore habitats and forage fish spawning beaches, conserving critical nearshore habitat complexes, and recovering shellfish beds. It is hoped that the plan and these priority actions will serve as a starting point for wider discussion and collaboration on a shared strategic environmental stewardship agenda for Burrard Inlet.

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Toward a Shared Strategic Environmental Stewardship Agenda for Burrard Inlet

2016SSEC

Over the last 150 years, urban, industrial, and port development, pollution, and resource exploitation has impaired the health of Burrard Inlet and reduced the opportunity for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) and other local First Nations to utilize its waters and beaches for traditional food harvesting and other cultural practices. To raise the profile of marine environmental quality issues in Burrard Inlet, TWN commissioned the development of the Burrard Inlet Action Plan: A Tsleil-Waututh Perspective, a founding guidance document for a new science-based, First Nations-led initiative to improve the health of Burrard Inlet by 2025. The plan updates older environmental reviews of the inlet and will aid in development of a wider consensus on environmental stewardship actions to implement in the near term. Key findings from an assessment of environmental conditions and trends in Burrard Inlet revealed several areas of concern: long-term changes in physical water quality, ongoing unsafe levels of contamination at some locations, continuing declines in some key species populations, localized losses of important nearshore habitat types, and significant predicted detrimental effects from climate change. Furthermore, there is insufficient, up-to-date data to inform strategic environmental stewardship planning, existing research and monitoring efforts are also not coordinated, and information is not widely shared. Based on TWN’s vision for a healthy Burrard Inlet, six priority actions have been identified to improve the health and integrity of the inlet: updating site-specific water quality objectives, installing scientific instruments to monitor water quality, characterizing and reducing pollution from stormwater runoff, mapping nearshore habitats and forage fish spawning beaches, conserving critical nearshore habitat complexes, and recovering shellfish beds. It is hoped that the plan and these priority actions will serve as a starting point for wider discussion and collaboration on a shared strategic environmental stewardship agenda for Burrard Inlet.