Interactive mapping tool tracks impact of industrial projects on B.C. species at risk

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      According to the Wilderness Committee, B.C. leads all provinces and territories in the number of species facing extinction.

      It has declared that 1,680 species are at risk in B.C. because government-enabled industries have been allowed to cause so much destruction.

      So in response, the Vancouver-based environmental organization has launched a new interactive mapping tool.

      This ArcGIS StoryMap is intended to link geographic information-system mapping technology withy species and habitat information, on-the-ground documentation, and images.

      “We’re living through the sixth extinction with one million species worldwide at risk of disappearing in the coming decades,” Wilderness Committee conservation and policy campaigner Charlotte Dawe said in a news release. “Meanwhile, the provincial government and industry have firmly planted their head in the sand as they continue business as usual in wild spaces. This mapping tool removes the veil on extinction-causing activities proposed in at-risk wildlife habitat.”

      It shows how industrial projects are leading to the destruction of habitat that's critical to the survival of certain species.

      For example, it's possible to see how spotted owl habitat in the Spuzzum Valley is being impacted by logging.

      Another image focuses on the destruction of migratory bird and chinook salmon habitat as a result of the Roberts Bank container shipping project in Delta.

      The tool also highlights how southern mountain caribou's habitat is being jeopardized from logging in Wells Gray.

      Other species' habitat that can be tracked include areas relied upon by southern resident orcas, northern leopard frogs, and marbled murrelets.

      “The lands and waters in British Columbia contain incredible ecosystems and remarkable biodiversity—we’re lucky to live in a place bursting with so much life,” Dawe said. “It’s absolutely shameful to see the level of disrespect in how the land, and species throughout, are treated by the government and industry.”