Howe Sound forms a natural watershed system. Yet the area is fragmented into multiple overlapping governance structures, and there is no overall plan to protect the future sustainability and viability of its inhabitants (plant, animal, and human).
Rather than reacting to issues as they arise, we need to develop a strong vision together, and attract, inspire, and embrace sustainable development initiatives and innovations.
We urgently need a practical platform through which to collaboratively address region-wide issues, based on a collective vision of place.
Industrial fishing, forestry and mining throughout the 20th century, despoiled Howe Sound’s ecosystems. In the 1990s, a series of conservation efforts began and after 25+ years, these efforts have resulted in an unprecedented ecological recovery. Herring and salmon are returning again. Dolphins, orcas, grey and humpback whales have come home to the Sound after almost a century’s absence!
As a result, community and local government support for re-industrialization is declining and Howe Sound is increasingly valued for its exceptional environmental values and quality of life.
Demands for multiple uses of land and water resources will continue to threaten ecological recovery and growing tourism and recreation economies without mechanisms to collectively plan for, rather than react to, large scale development proposals.
The Howe Sound Biosphere Region will provide an innovative and evolving collaboration and communication hub to assist with advancing coordinated conservation strategies, integrated regional planning and monitoring, liaison between multi-level government, First Nations, corporate and community partnerships and link Howe Sound to a global sustainability network.