Discussion #4 – Information Needs for Species at Risk



Information on species at risk is used for a variety of reasons, including: targeting species-at-risk surveys, informing the review of development permits and environmental assessments, and supporting on-the-ground recovery actions. More information on where species at risk occur and the habitat they use can lead to better informed decisions and actions.

Information on species and ecosystems in British Columbia is provided through a variety of public sources including:

The Province provides Inventory Standards, Specifications and Guidelines as well as Best Management Practices for operating in areas where many species occur, including some species at risk. Data for these sources comes from a variety of contributors such as museum species records; published and unpublished research; inventories conducted by government staff, contractors, and consultants; and observations recorded by the public.

In previous engagements we heard the following about the collection of information on species at risk:

  • Citizens, non-government organizations (NGOs), and land users often collect a variety of information that, if pooled, creates a valuable resource to better inform planning and decision-making for species at risk;
  • Citizens, NGOs, and land users are willing to help collect additional information to fill data deficiencies, but they need to know what information is needed and how it would be used; and
  • There is a general need for additional information on species at risk such as open data sources, along with guidelines, best management practices, and priority areas for data collection.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What type of information do you collect on species at risk and how do you feel about pooling that information in a central database?
  2. What type of information would you find helpful to support stewardship of the lands on which you live or work?
  3. What type of information do you need to have a better understanding of species at risk in British Columbia?

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9 responses to “Discussion #4 – Information Needs for Species at Risk

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    [-] Scott

    Local knowledge is invaluable and should be made use of.
    A centralized, minable, easy-to-search and GIS-enabled database would be a great tool where data is collected and shared.
    People are more likely to engage if they understand why the rules are in place, and the results of the restrictions. The ability to see what factors are having the most impact, both negative and positive. Overall, access to transparent, easily-digestible information will help create a sense that we’re united for a common cause, all pulling in the same direction.

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    [-] Amy

    I have a small section of land that I am working to re-naturalize by removing invasive blackberry. I would like to do this with an approach that will support species-at-risk, both flora and fauna. When I used these systems, I did not have any additional clarity on what I should plant in my area to support species-at-risk. More clear information for property owners about specific steps to take based on their regions would be very helpful, recognizing that some recommendations come down to the specific land area. It would also be good to have a hotline to call to get guidance.

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    [-] Susan

    Newly minted “species at risk” are going to be a continuing concern for the province and land managers. For example, Myotis volans has just been found in South Dakota with signs of white-nose syndrome infection. This could lead to a listing of this species in the very near future. In both British Columbia and Alberta – this species has been classified as “data deficient”. The challenges of providing effective species specific recommendations to land managers who *want* to conserve this species will be very difficult. Essential information on the timing of reproduction, the knowledge and protection of specific locations of important colony sites in both winter and summer will be essential for survival of this species. Pretty much that is the story for many species at risk, however colonial species need to be bumped up the list for priority (because of the risk of losing entire meta-populations in one blow). So summary: increase priority for research/inventory of colonial and data deficient/ data poor species at risk (especially non-charismatic microfauna)

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    [-] Helen

    As with most things it comes down to money… BC needs to spend more on inventory of species at risk, management of information about species at risk and stewardship programs. There needs to be a lot of inventory of species at risk to determine where they are still occurring; there have been no meaningful surveys done since 2007-2008 (when the Conservation Corp existed). The Conservation Data Centre sits on large quantities of data that it doesn’t have the money to process and enter to the required standards. Biologists and the public who access the online content are misled into thinking species do or do not occur in areas of the province when in fact the species just hasn’t been fully-mapped. Stewardship programs need funds to conduct education programs so that landowners know what species at risk occur in their area and how to protect the habitats they need.

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    [-] Patty

    Through a quirk of fate I came across a small group that is bring awareness to a serious problem in BC. The idea that we are so poorly managing our forests and land that animals have become at risk of extinction is appalling to me. I was shocked to learn that the list is as long as it is.
    In all things awareness is key, but more needs to be done to spread this awareness. The traditional platforms are not as effective as they once were. There needs to be a change to do a full sweep of every platform to spread this very urgent message. I fully support whatever measures are needed to make this a possibility. The people need to know the real problems that we are facing…they will only get bigger if we do nothing. Let’s take responsibility for those that cannot speak, the animals and plants that support life on this planet. There is more to it than economic gains. Shame on us for ignoring the damage that we have caused and continue in the name of monetary gain.

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    [-] Diana

    We have all the information we need and more about the effects of fish farms on our wild salmon. Please do not allow more Atlantic salmon into these farms, and close them down. They are threatening our wild salmon, and there is plenty of evidence of this.

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    [-] Jody

    It is important to identify the keystone species in every ecosystem because they are very influential to the overall functioning and health of the ecosystems. However, all species have the right to exist on the Earth so they should be given equal care and attention in an ideal world. I think the human species must begin asking what we can sacrifice in our lives in order to save other species rather than thinking we can sacrifice other species for our so-called “progress”. Humans must transition from a consumption culture to a conservation culture in order to begin making real progress towards preventing the demise of other species as well as our own.

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    [-] Dara

    I believe that pooling all information regarding species at risk in BC would be beneficial both to the public and to scientists. We should be collecting information such as factors that increase/decrease a species’ risk of becoming endangered, consequences of the loss of a species, and ways to reverse the decline. These things, especially the role of a species in its ecosystem, would be extremely helpful in growing province-wide support for species and land protection. British Columbians would benefit from knowing about the local species that are at risk and why they need to be protected. The BC gov should further promote their databases for species at risk in order to raise awareness that there are animals and habitats in BC that need our help.

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    [-] Ian

    As it pertains to species at risk, I would strongly recommend protection of any and all remaining habitat these species inhabit and make use of. If these species are to recover, we must reverse the cause of decline. Band aid, short term solutions will not help reverse the tides. We have to address the cause of decline. Please protect habitat.

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