The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) Environment Commission prepared this inaugural State of the Environment Report to assess the status of a variety of environmental indicators and issues that signal the health of the environment within the regional district. Using the principle “if you don’t measure, you can’t manage,” this ground-breaking report identifies numerous reliable and repeatable measures of how the environment is doing.
The Report strives to answer questions such as:
- Are our ecosystems and species adequately protected?
- Are we living within natural ecological thresholds?
- Do the biodiversity and related ecological services that sustain the region have the resilience to respond to climate change and population growth?
- Are water resources adequately protected to safely provide for people, plants and animals?
- Is the air quality good?
- Are we making good use of available land and creating smart, flexible, and resilient communities?
- Are we producing enough local food?
- Are we proactively addressing the challenges of climate change?
Overall, this report identifies a number of areas where we face major challenges. We have dramatically changed the natural landscape, and in so doing have compromised natural ecosystems including native plants and animals. Many native species and ecosystems are at risk, and there are too many invasive species. Coho and chinook salmon stocks have crashed. Water is polluted and scarce in some places and at some times of the year. While the region’s air quality seems to be good, high hospital admission rates for children with respiratory problems may signal a problem. Climate change already creates challenges with floods and drought, and further stress on native species and ecosystems is imminent.