South Coast

Regional Overview

The South Coast region is located in southwestern corner of British Columbia’s mainland. It is situated between the Thompson-Okanagan region to the east, the United States to the south, the West Coast region to the west, and the Cariboo region to the north.

The South Coast region covers an area of 46,553 km² and has an incredibly diverse geography and landscape. Special features of the region include the Fraser River delta, Pemberton ice fields, temperate rainforests, coastal mountain ranges, volcanic formations, and a network of coastal islands, fjords and inlets.

With this diverse geography and landscape, the South Coast Region has a high level of biodiversity. There are 342 species at risk within this region including endangered species such as Northern Spotted Owl and Oregon Spotted Frog. Protection for these and other species have been and continue to be advanced through the establishment of Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife Habitat Areas, Old Growth Management Areas and Ungulate Winter Ranges.

Activities and Trends

The South Coast region is the most heavily populated out of all the regions in BC. As of 2018, the region had a population of 2.7 million people, or 61% of BC’s total population. Some of the major cities and town centres in the region include Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Squamish, Whistler and Sechelt. Natural hazards including floods, landslides, wildfires and drought have been increasing in the South Coast region. Apart from the evolving weather patterns associated with climate change, historic management activities and increased development in the region have the potential to increase climate change hazards in the region.

Mining and forestry have historically been the most predominant industries in the South Coast region. In recent years, liquefied natural gas development, residential development, tourism, agriculture, transportation and recreational activities have been increasing within the region. 

With all of these activities and trends, multiple stewardship efforts are underway to manage the lands and resources within the South Coast region such as cumulative effects assessments including the Stewardship Baseline Objectives Tool

Cumulative Effects Assessments

The Howe Sound Cumulative Effects Project is currently the primary cumulative effects project in the South Coast region. The seven initial priority valued components are being assessed in this project include:

  1. Aquatic Ecosystems 
  2. Forest Biodiversity
  3. Old Growth
  4. Forest Visual Quality
  5. Grizzly Bear
  6. Roosevelt Elk
  7. Marbled Murrelet

For more information, visit the Howe Sound Cumulative Effects Project webpage

Regional Reports