DIEM Project

Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping

The Support

Funding from the following  organizations is appreciated:

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This project is the result of community collaboration and support from many people, including:

Claire Trevena, MLA, North Island

The Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI) mapping information will provide an invaluable resource in local land-use planning and decision making. It will help maintain the integrity of the ecological values of the area when planning such things as environmental reserves, trails, parks and resource extraction management plans. This Project will map all the Discovery Island and will complement the SEIs for the Sunshine Coast and east Vancouver Island already completed. I am happy to support this project.

Russ Hotsenpiller, Community Services Manager, Strathcona Regional District

… Of particular note is the “Desolation Sound Rural Land Use Bylaw” which applies to the [Discovery] Islands. Although this bylaw recognizes habitat conservation and protection of the natural environment… there is no environmental mapping resource available which property owners and regional district staff can reference as part of the land use planning and development process. Additionally the remote siting of these islands restricts staff’s ability to visit… The proposed Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project … will provide a valuable data base to reference in the review of land use proposals. Community services staff offer full support for this timely initiative.

Jim Abram, Director, Area C, Strathcona Regional District

…the Surge Narrows Community Association serves its remote community well and manages its funds responsibly and effectively. In fact, the large volunteer effort they are able to inspire stretches their dollars for remarkable results… I am in complete support of their actions.

Sarah Cox, Interim Executive Director, Sierra Club BC

DIEM’s plan to empower citizens with uncomplicated digital mapping applications, using every day electronic devices, is brilliant. It gets people into the outdoors, discovering and recording critical ecosystem information that is otherwise unavailable to planners and mappers. Outdoor experiences directly impact people’s appreciation and commitment to environmental protection. As wilderness shrinks and ecosystems become increasingly compromised, community awareness has never been more important.

Mark Wunsch, President, Discovery Passage Sea Life Society & Aquarium

DIEM’s proposal to build capacity within Discovery Island communites will empower citizens to discover and care about wild places within their back yard is… a trend we desperately need. However, all good plans come down to the drivers. I can assure you, that The DIEM team comprises an eclectic selection of high powered and capable individuals that guarantee not only the success of the project but also the most efficient use of any financial support.  As a local society that cares about our unique area and raises awareness in people about it, we whole heartedly support DIEM’s efforts and are happy and eager to collaborate where we can.

Tory Stevens, PhD., Protected Areas Ecologist, Ministry of Environment

The Discovery Islands are part of the foothills of BC’s Coast Range, a unique coastal region where the Georgia Basin, Johnstone Strait Inland Oceanic and interior climates converge, and along with major tidal confluence, contribute to significant biological diversity. Undeveloped areas of these northern gulf islands contain healthy ecosystems with abundant flora and fauna; and viable habitat for some of the province’s species of conservation concern.

This project will address important information gaps for the Discovery Islands area and most importantly start a planning process to address current and future pressures on the islands ecosystems and economic vitality. .. BC Parks is interested in using these mapped products to explore new ways to analyse representation and connectivity of landscapes.

I am especially pleased that the team has committed itself to providing open access and sharing of all project map GIS data developed. The resulting information, maps and increased community awareness should benefit critical habitat and poorly represented ecosystems in the face of development plans.

Claudia Lake, Okisollo Planning Advisory Committee (OPAC)

OPAC strongly supports the Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project. This long overdue initiative is desperately needed in order to better inform land and forest use decisions on these, our unique and precious islands. The ecosystem mapping will provide an essential tool for our group.

Richard Leicester, Chairperson, Quadra Island Trails Committee

Our stewardship agreement with the Ministry of Environment …notes that a stewardship relationship is one in which the volunteer organization takes an active and continuing interest in conservation values and recreational opportunities in protected areas.  We see the Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project as a perfect fit to this agreement…

Sabina Leader Mense, Cortes Land Conservancy

SEI mapping has provided the Cortes Land Conservancy with a discriminating base map from which to ground-truth and inventory rare species and ecological communities, many of provincial significance. The extension of this work into the northern Discovery Islands is essential in providing a timely identification of additional areas of sensitive ecosystems which provide refugia for many of the provincial species and ecological communities at-risk.  The Project also proposes to expand on the basic SEI mapping conducted to date, with the inclusion of additional layers of data. The Cortes Land Conservancy will be an enthusiastic participant in this work, to expand the data base on Cortes Island.

David Shipway, Cortes Mapping Services

Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory was done by MoE for Cortes Island, and this work is now also being incorporated into our Official Community Plan. With persistence and funding, the DIEM Project will provide similar SEI and habitat coverage for all the Discovery Islands, and help immensely with local planning and conservation…

David Pinel, M.Sc., Faculty Adventure Tourism Programs, North Island College

The Discovery islands Ecosystem Mapping Project offers an essential tool for better-informing resource use decision-making that can more fully account for ecosystem and recreation values. This is crucial for supporting the immediate and long term success of tourism and recreation as pivotal elements of the local economy and community… I foresee increased opportunities for our students to participate in and learn about the role of ecosystem mapping as an essential instrument for sustainable tourism development alongside other industry and community aspirations.

Tim Stokes, Chair, Earth Science Department, Vancouver Island University

The completion of the Discovery Islands Ecosystems Mapping Project will be an essential tool for the careful assessment of the ecological and landscape values in the region, and should provide an excellent basis for future planning and sound decision-making. I am happy to contribute what knowledge I have on the bedrock and surficial geology of the region, and in particular information on the nature and extent of karst landscapes.

Jan K. Carrie, Vice President, Education, North Island College

North Island College offers this letter in support of the Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project, as presented in March 2012. The success of Tourism development in the region and the delivery of our Tourism programs rely directly on maintaining and enhancing natural values that are specific to ecosystem function and recreation…

Liam McNeil, Executive Director, Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC

The development and availability of comprehensive information is important to all user groups. The Discovery Islands region has become an important kayaking destination in British Columbia. Information on ecosystem characteristics can help guide development plans and usage policy.

George Heyman, Executive Director, Sierra Club BC

British Columbia is fortunate to have a world-class natural area like the Discovery Islands, offering wildlife viewing and ecotourism opportunities and helping to keep our communities connected with the natural world. As we move forward as a province to make decisions about what areas are most crucial for immediate protection, mapping projects like the proposed Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory project in the Discovery Islands are vital.

Terry Lake, BC Minister of Environment [addressed to MLA Claire Trevena, Dec 21, 2011]

As you note in your letter, SEI mapping can provide valuable information for resource decisions in areas with ecosystems at risk. The Ministry of Environment uses SEI mapping to identify and assess ecosystems at risk. SEI mapping projects are typically funded by proponents with resources external to the ministry of Environment… Ministry staff would be able to provide [assistance] for SEI mapping… should the community gain access to the resources necessary to conducting such a project.