RSVP here for your chance to be one of the first to experience the interactive Marine Reference Guide 

Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound is an ecologically rich coastal fjord located in the Salish Sea, just north of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s located within the traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw/Squamish Nation and borders the səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ/Tsleil-waututh, shíshálh/Sechelt and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm/Musqueam Nations’ territories. Historically, industrial activities and development in the Sound left the water polluted and the environment damaged; however, significant efforts have been taken, and the health of the fjord and local species has improved and started to recover. But the work isn’t over yet.  

On World Oceans Day, the Atl’kat7sem/Howe Sound Marine Reference Guide interactive map, which was 3 years in the making, will be officially launched. On June 7th at 7pm PDT, you’ll be able to get your first look at the Marine Reference Guide that contains hundreds of data layers that visualize and describe Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound’s biophysical environment, aquatic ecology, administrative boundaries, and human uses and values. 

By overlapping the 400 different data layers on the map, Fiona Beaty, Director of the Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound Marine Reference Guide and Ocean Wise’s Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound Research and Conservation PhD Candidate at UBC, says the map will help visualize how marine life, industry, and people use the area. On top of the value for understanding these aquatic spaces to support decision-making and marine social planning, the map will help support education and increase awareness on how ecological and human values interact.  

In 2017, Ocean Wise Research Institute released its first Ocean Watch Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound report that detailed the overall health of the coastal environment, including a detailed action plan. The very first action in this plan was the creation of the Marine Reference Guide. Since then, the Ocean Watch Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound 2020 Edition has been released to update the original report.

The Ocean Watch reports have helped inform the work the Marine Reference Guide is doing, along with the help of steering committee members from the Átl’ḵa7tsem/ Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative, David Suzuki Foundation, Sea to Sky Gondola, Sechelt Creek Contracting Ltd., University of Guelph, Squamish Nation, Squamish River Watershed Society, District of Squamish, Underwater Council of British Columbia, Sunshine Coast Conservation Association and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Join the celebration on June 7th and immerse yourself in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound’s ocean and community! There, you will hear stories from ocean champions and community leaders, and you will see firsthand how First Nations, youth, elected officials, industry, conservationists, recreationists, educators, and so many more have come together to strengthen decision-making in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound – from mountain top to seafloor. 

The Ocean Watch report was made possible by funding from the North Family Foundation and the Sitka Foundation. 

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