David Suzuki honoured by Howe Sound First Nations

By Theresa Beer, Communications Specialist. Reprinted from DavidSuzuki.org

With stunning Howe Sound as backdrop, David Suzuki was honoured by, and adopted into, the Squamish Nation during the Blue Dot Tour stop at Porteau Cove in November, 2014.

In a traditional Squamish welcoming ceremony, David and fellow canoe paddlers were called back to the shore to begin the day’s events. Chief Ian Campbell spoke of the Squamish Nation’s respect for David’s work on environmental stewardship and with First Nations. David, he said, shared an understanding with First Nations about nature and interconnectedness. Carleen Thomas, a Tsleil-Waututh Nation leader and member of the Sacred Trust Initiative, also honoured David and his long history protecting B.C.’s coastal waters.

The moving ceremony, which included a presentation to David of a traditional cedar cape and head band, marked the deepening relations the Foundation has with Howe Sound First Nations. Volunteer divers with Marine Life Sanctuaries Society gave families and children opportunities for close-up interactions with starfish and other marine treasures from Porteau Cove, a popular scuba diving destination.

As work to create a long-term vision and plan for the Howe Sound region gains momentum, the Squamish Nation’s commitment to take a marine planning leadership role is creating a way forward for conservation.

Communities in the Howe Sound region are joining local governments to protect the people and places they love. Squamish, Bowen Island and the Islands Trust B.C. are among the more than 50 local governments representing more than five million Canadians that have passed declarations for the right to a healthy environment. Nowhere is it more evident what could be lost without this right than in the centre of the marine and mountain majesty of the Howe Sound fjord.

Join us and speak up for Howe Sound.

Get inspired by Howe Sound with these amazing music videos

Listen closely. Gibsons-based musician Celso Machado and students at Emily Carr University of Art + Design weave stories of Howe Sound into original songs and music videos using unusual instruments: animal bones scraping together, underwater whale calls and whistles made from rocks, to name a few.

These EcoMUSICology videos, prepared for a course taught by Sarah Van Borek, feature interviews with Howe Sound residents who show the beauty of the region and the need to protect it through unique lenses. The David Suzuki Foundation partnered on this project to highlight our natural capital work in the region through visual stories.

Chad Hershler examines the nature of creativity and connections between people, self-expression and place. Donna Gibbs paints a passionate picture of what it’s like to be underwater in Howe Sound. Randall Lewis shares the Squamish Nation’s efforts to recover the Squamish estuary. Elaine Graham tells the story of the past, present and future of Lighthouse Park and the Howe Sound region.

Original songs and music videos were produced by the students in collaboration with Celso Machado and sound engineer Jeremy Therrien.

Watch the videos and get inspired by the beauty, people and possibility of B.C.’s Howe Sound.

Underwater Council of British Columbia Releases Results of Bioherm Diving Survey


The Underwater Council of British Columbia (UCBC) has posted the Summary Report for their Glass Sponge Bioherm Diving Survey.  The survey was conducted in regards to installation of a mooring buoy at the Halkett Point deep bioherm and sponge garden.  These glass sponge bioherms, a habitat and potential nursery for rockfish, are consistently damaged due to regular diving, where divers use weighted drop lines or are inadequately trained.

The survey found that majority of respondents support placement of a mooring buoy at Halkett Point deep reef bioherm.  However, potential hazards and sponge damage associated from increased diving are concerning.  Further consultation and site surveys will occur before a final decision is made.  UCBC has begun discussion with dive training centres, as results of the survey indicate training beyond Open Water certification should be required for diving in the area.

View the Summary Report for the Bioherm Diving Survey on the UCBC website.

Howe Sound Aquatic Forum Summary


Howe Sound Aquatic Forum ImageThe Howe Sound Community Forum brought together a diversity of voices including First Nations and representatives of ‘aquatic-focused’ community groups, businesses, institutions and individuals to share their planning visions for Howe Sound.  The purpose of the day was to explore planning options and identify priority actions related to the Howe Sound aquatic environment.  There were presentations in the morning, small focused working groups in the afternoon, and an activity at the end to coalesce key points and address next steps.  A witnessing ceremony was led by Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation, with four witnesses sharing their observations at the day’s conclusion.

The Aquatic Forum resulted in several important outcomes.  First, the Forum contributed to important relationship building, perspective sharing, and networking.  Second, the Forum produced a draft Howe Sound Vision and draft Goals to guide future planning efforts.  Third, participants were introduced to a variety of different planning approaches and discussions were facilitated to explore how these different approaches could help achieve overall goals in Howe Sound.  Finally, participants identified key aquatic-related issues in Howe Sound and worked in small groups to draft priority “Action Plans” to address these issues.  Summarizing this content provides an important foundation for future planning efforts in Howe Sound and provides some potential directions and initiatives to explore.  The draft Howe Sound Vision and Goals, and other Forum materials can be viewed in the Howe Sound Aquatic Forum Summary.

We would like to thank all of the Aquatic Forum participants, as well as those who expressed interest but were unable to attend.  Special thanks go to the David Suzuki Foundation for resourcing the event, with additional support from DFO’s local community advisor, Rob Bell-Irving.



Howe Sound Aquatic Forum Held


‘Wanaxws’ means ‘Respect’

On April 12, 2014 at Furry Creek, Howe Sound, we will meet to discuss the future of the aquatic environment of Howe Sound. Howe Sound is an incredible, unique ecosystem, home to a diversity of  aquatic species and habitat. It is also home to coastal communities and  the gateway to the Sea to Sky corridor. In addition to its rich cultural  and spiritual values, it has expanding economic development and is  internationally recognized for its recreation and tourism.  Local organizations, community leaders and members of the public  have been calling for a co-ordinated, comprehensive management  plan for Howe Sound.

These collective voices 1 have suggested that this  management plan should:

  • be stakeholder-driven, science-based,  sustainable and include all key players
  • partner with First Nations
  • involve industry, all levels of government and community groups, and
  • address both land and marine environments, cultural and social factors  and economic development

Local governments around Howe Sound are also discussing planning and  visions for the area. The Howe Sound Community Forum 2 held a meeting  in January and a webinar in March to discuss future planning directions,  including an opportunity to engage the B.C. provincial government in a  cumulative effects framework (CEF) for Howe Sound. This forum encourages a diversity of voices including First Nations and  representatives of aquatic-focused community groups, businesses,  institutions and individuals to share their planning visions for Howe  Sound. It is an opportunity to identify common values and set a direction  for marine planning and project activities in Howe Sound over the  coming year.

View the Howe Sound Aquatic Forum Brochure and Agenda – April 12, 2014

View support documents for the forum.

Howe Sound Aquatic Forum – background documents

"SIIYAMINTS" means 'stewardship"

“SIIYAMINTS” means ‘stewardship”

Below are links for documents related to the forum, its facilitator, the Cumulative Effects Framework, and comments from earlier related events.

Howe Sound Aquatic Forum

Howe Sound Aquatic Forum Brochure and Agenda – April 12, 2014
Pressing Issues in Howe Sound: Participant Responses
A Draft Vision for Howe Sound

Facilitator, Andrew Day

View a biography of Andrew Day

Background articles concerning Andrew’s work:
Regional Snapshots – MapOcean.org
Who is Conservation For?

Cumulative Effects Framework

A quick introduction to the Cumulative Effects Framework for BC
Addressing Cumulative Effects in Natural Resource Decision-Making
Questions and Answers about the potential value of applying a Cumulative Effects Assessment for Howe Sound
Howe Sound Community Forum webinar questions – February 21, 2014

Future of Howe Sound Forum

The Future of Howe Sound Forum – April 13, 2013

Howe Sound Community Forum

Eleven parties including Bowen Island and First Nations have signed on.
Howe Sound Community Forum – Principles For Cooperation


Resolution for Howe Sound Plan Passes at UBCM

September 20. 2013
Future of Howe Sound Society

The Sunshine Coast Regional District put forward the following emergency resolution to delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre this week. The resolution passed quickly by the delegates Friday September 20th, 2013. In meetings with Minister Thomson, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Minister Thomson said a moratorium on existing projects would not be supported, but he will commit staff resources to start discussions about planning for Howe Sound. Minister Thomson did state to the 18 Municipal and Regional District representatives present in the room, that he personally did not want to see the recovery of the marine life in Howe Sound go backwards. MLA Jordan Sturdy, West Vancouver, Sea to Sky was present in the room.

This is excellent news for Howe Sound. Municipal leaders around Howe Sound are meeting next on Wednesday September 25th for the Howe Sound Community Forum. Planning for Howe Sound will take up most of the day’s agenda. Over 50 people will be attending the meeting being held at the Gleneagles Community Centre hosted by the District of West Vancouver.

Howe Sound Management Plan – Sunshine Coast Regional District

WHEREAS all local governments around Howe Sound are currently dealing with recent multiple referrals and applications for gravel, liquid natural gas, coal and bitumen;

AND WHEREAS Howe Sound is a sensitive, ecologically significant area of unparalleled scenic beauty, and provides important ecosystem services for various First Nations, senior and local governments, and is without a land and marine use plan to facilitate a coordinated approach to land and marine use planning;

AND WHEREAS there has been no discussion between the local governments and the Squamish First Nation regarding the cumulative potential impacts;

AND WHEREAS there is a growing concern regarding the future of Howe Sound as commercial, industrial and recreational uses expand without an approach for assessing the cumulative impacts of those increased uses, thereby putting recent progress of significant ecosystem recovery at risk:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM urge the provincial government to support the development of a Comprehensive Management Plan for Howe Sound that facilitates a coordinated land and marine use planning process between First Nations, senior and local governments, and other local bodies to ensure ongoing recovery and responsible land use planning within Howe Sound.

Socio-Economic Baseline Study of the Howe Sound Area

Prepared by Lions Gate Consulting for Stephen Foster and the David Suzuki Foundation.
July 22, 2013

Cover of reportThis socio-economic baseline report is prepared in support of a proposed Howe Sound Protected Area. Its purpose is to provide information about community and economic conditions within the project footprint and in adjacent communities. The results would be used to inform and guide discussions with local and senior government, communities and industry about the costs and benefits of designation.

The content of the baseline was scoped to include those values most likely to be affected by protected area status. At this point in time, a legal pathway to protected status that would establish the land and marine use regime has not been identified. It is assumed that, as a protected area, conservation objectives would curb or perhaps prohibit some forms of industrial or public activity and enhance others, but what exactly those changes would be are unknown.

The baseline is structured according to the authors’ understanding of socio-economic issues and values most likely to be affected by the establishment and operation of a protected area. The focus is on general community conditions and activities linked to the land and marine base. Key parameters are as follows:

  • Demographics
  • Labour force
  • Economic activity
  • General land use
  • Tourism and recreation
  • Commercial fishing
  • Marine transportation
  • Forestry
  • Utilities and Energy
  • Aggregates

As the protected area concept is advanced, an update or expansion of the baseline may be needed to inform public engagement and decision making.
Download a PDF of the full report.