Sea To Sky Habitat Atlas
The Sea to Sky Sensitive Habitat Atlas is being developed in anticipation of regional urban development in the Sea to Sky corridor hastened by the coming 2010 Winter Olympics. The atlas integrates a variety of information important to local land use planning throughout the region including: streams, roads, trails, land parcels, fish and wildlife habitat, parks and protected areas, watershed boundaries, and aerial photographs. This information is captured as layers in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database at the Community Mapping Network (CMN) web site (www.cmnbc.ca) so that it can be shared with local governments and other stakeholders. The printed and CD version of the atlas contains a subset of those GIS layers. The GIS database will continue to be updated as new information about sensitive habitats in the corridor becomes available. The project was initiated in May 2003 by a partnership of many organizations mentioned in the Acknowledgements on page 2. This Sea to Sky Sensitive Habitat Atlas is one of many similar atlases published over the past decade. Some recent examples are the Sunshine Coast Habitat Atlas, the Fraser Valley Regional District Habitat Atlas, and the Comox-Strahcona Habitat Atlas. These atlases are proven products used extensively by local governments and have been effective tools for informed land use planning and revising of official community plans (OCPs). Human population growth and resource development pressures are overwhelming the ability of communities to conserve and protect sensitive habitats. Development proposals are often received too late in the planning process to effectively mitigate environmental impacts or development proposals are often reviewed with inadequate knowledge of the location or value of sensitive resources. This has resulted in loss or degradation of habitats that once supported fisheries, wildlife and sensitive ecosystems. The Sea to Sky Sensitive Habitat Atlas will provide up-to-date information for planners, developers, federal, provincial and local governments, First Nations, community organizations and local businesses, to facilitate planning for sustainable communities. This printed atlas identifies aquatic and other sensitive habitats and promotes awareness of watercourses by mapping their location and describing their features. The Atlas is intended to be used as a long-term planning resource, as an overview of sensitive habitats and does not include all the information available on these habitats such as riparian vegetation. More detailed information is available from local governments and the CMN web site. Further assessments may be required for rezoning and the development application process, so that appropriate habitat measures can be determined and protective steps established prior to development decisions.