Whistler is home to many animals, plants or plant communities that are increasingly rare and are in danger of disappearing from the wild.
Protecting species at risk is important in maintaining ecosystem health and biodiversity. Some of the threats to threatened species are:
- habitat loss,
- invasive species,
- unsustainable harvesting, and
- climate change.
To date, scientists have identified an impressive 80 species and ecosystems in Whistler which are currently considered at risk. These species include mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, plants and plant communities.
Here are a few ways in which the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is working to protect local species at risk:
Inventory and monitoring
- The RMOW works with the Whistler Biodiversity Project and the Province of British Columbia to maintain an inventory of potential and confirmed species at risk in Whistler.
- Through the Ecosystems Monitoring Program and other field programs, the RMOW monitors certain populations of species at risk in Whistler, including Western toads and Coastal tailed frogs.
Working with partners
- The RMOW actively participates in the provincial Species and Ecosystems at Risk Local Government Working Group.
- The RMOW collaborates with neighbouring local governments on species at risk initiatives.
- The RMOW works with the South Coast Conservation Program on identifying opportunities to further protect species at risk through local government activities.
Policy and planning
- The RMOW is working to integrate protection of species at risk and their habitat at a policy level, for example in the Official Community Plan.
- The RMOW considers species at risk habitat in relevant development proposals.
On the ground
The municipality implements species-specific programs to support the conservation of local species at risk such as with:
- Western toads: The RMOW supports the annual migration of western toadlets in Lost Lake Park through park, trail and road closures. The environmental technicians and volunteers monitor the migration and help the toads safely migrate from the lake to the surrounding forest area.
- Grizzly bears: Council recently passed a resolution to support grizzly bear population recovery in the Sea to Sky corridor. The RMOW collaborates with regional partners to support population monitoring and recovery efforts. The municipality also works to avoid important grizzly bear habitat when planning new recreation trails in backcountry areas.
How can you help?
It takes only a few simple steps to help protect species at risk in Whistler:
- Learn as much as you can about species at risk; explore the resources on this page.
- Remove all invasive species on your property and choose native plants to help support species at risk.
- Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions through smart transportation and energy choices.
- Download the BC Wildlife Federation's conservation app to your iPhone to report a concern about a species at risk.
- Whistler Biodiversity Project
- Species at Risk in British Columbia
- Critical Habitat Mapping for Species at Risk in British Columbia
- Canada's Species at Risk Registry
- British Columbia Species and Ecosystems Explorer
- South Coast Conservation Program
- Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative
- Western Toads