Conservation of Ecological Integrity in B.C. Parks and Protected Areas
Report 3 August 2010:
British Columbia’s parks and protected areas – about 1,000 in all – are integral to the quality of life in this province. These areas help purify the water, provide habitat to rare and endangered species, regulate climate, and contribute to British Columbians’ physical, mental, economic, social and spiritual well-being.
See the full report at:OAGBC_Parks Report_OUT2
A key aim for the majority of our provincial parks and protected areas is the conservation of their ecological integrity and the Parks and Protected Areas Division (BC Parks), within the Ministry of Environment, is the agency responsible for this. Since1993, ecological integrity has featured prominently in BC Parks planning. Today, the goal in the BC Parks Program Plan (2007–2012) is that “BC Parks is recognized for its leadership in the proactive stewardship of ecological and cultural integrity.”
To assess whether the Ministry of Environment is meeting the goal of ecological integrity, we examined whether: the ministry has a vision, plans and operational policies in place for the conservation of ecological integrity; the ministry is ensuring that ecological integrity is being conserved in Class A parks and ecological reserves; and the ministry is reporting on the state of ecological integrity in parks and protected areas.
Despite its declared intentions and clear vision to conserve the ecological integrity in British Columbia’s parks and protected areas, the Ministry of Environment is not successfully meeting this goal. Specifically,
program plans are incomplete and lack adequate performance measures;
conservation policies are not being consistently upheld; the parks and protected area system has not been designed to
ensure ecological integrity;
management plans are dated and incomplete; and
little action has been taken to ensure the conservation of ecological integrity.
We also found that the ministry is not publicly reporting on its progress in conserving ecological integrity in the province’s parks and protected areas system.