Guidelines and Best Management Practices (BMPs)


Guidelines and Best Management Practices (BMPs) are approaches based on known science that, if followed, should allow the client to meet the required standard(s) or achieve the desired objective(s). BMP and Guideline documents exist to help you act as a steward of the environment. The information in these documents will help to ensure that your proposed development activities are planned and carried out in compliance with the various legislation, regulations, and policies that apply to your activity. By understanding the standards activities must meet, you can choose an appropriate set of guidelines and best practices to help carry out your activities to achieve the required standards and objectives. BMPs and Guideline documents can have a provincial and/or regional context. Provincial documents apply to the entire province but may contain region specific sections. Regional documents have been developed for a specific purpose and may not be applicable to other regions.


Provincial Guidelines and BMPs

  • Develop with Care 2014NOTE: Develop with Care 2014: Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia replaces the 2012 version of Develop with Care. This document has been prepared for use by local governments, the development community, landowners and environmental organizations as a comprehensive guide to maintaining environmental values during the development of urban and rural lands. It sets out the program priorities of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Environment, and other provincial and federal agencies, promoting ways to retain and create environmental function and resilience as communities grow. It features information on ‘green’ alternatives to standard urban development practices, riparian protection, climate change, waste management, the protection of Environmentally Valuable Resources, a Terms of Reference for conducting biological inventories, Checklists for streamlining review processes, species and land use based Fact Sheets, and much more.

    Complementary documents:

  • NEW ! Best Management Practices for Bats in British Columbia (2016)
    –The British Columbia Ministry of Environment has developed this document to provide development proponents, researchers, consultants and British Columbia ministry staff with information about the potential impacts of resource development and other human activities on the bats and their habitats in British Columbia. These documents also provide guidelines on how to minimize those impacts. Chapter 1 presents a biological and ecological review of the bats of British Columbia. Chapters 2–9 present Best Management Practices that are specific to each of eight development sectors that have potential effects on bats and their habitats: mining, cave and crevice use, wind energy development, forestry, hydroelectric power generation, oil and gas development, agriculture, and urban development. All activities related to assessing the quality of bat habitat or the impact of activities on bats should involve an experienced bat biologist, and these guidelines are not meant to replace site and project specific guidance that can only be provided by a qualified professional.  These documents were prepared by experienced bat biologists, with input from user groups, industry, biological consultants, ministry staff, researchers and members of the BC Bat Action Team. Some of the issues discussed in these documents are subject to ongoing research and therefore may change as more information becomes available.
  • Guidelines for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation during Urban and Rural Development in British Columbia (2014) (PDF 48.1MB) –This document was developed to provide additional background information in support of Develop with Care 2014. It sets out guidelines designed to help maintain the viability of native amphibian and reptile populations in urban and rural areas of British Columbia subject to land development activities. Its primary purpose is to provide developers, consultants, landscape architects, local and regional governments, urban planners, land use managers and the public with the practical, cost-effective tools and supporting scientific information necessary for mitigating development activity impacts on amphibian and reptile populations in the province. Although often highly modified, urban and rural habitats can still provide important habitat for reptile species and amphibians. Measures to help maintain the viability of these native wildlife species are described in this report.
  • Best Management Practices for Amphibian and Reptile Salvages in British Columbia NEW
    – All native amphibians and reptiles are designated as “Wildlife” in B.C., giving them full protection under the Wildlife Act. In cases where impacts to occupied habitats cannot be avoided,  a permit must be obtained to capture, hold, and relocate  animals to a safe location (a "salvage operation").  Amphibians and reptiles often require salvage operations, and are also susceptible to impacts related to this activity. The purpose of this document is to provide standard guidance on how to plan and implement salvage operations that minimize impacts to both translocated and recipient wildlife populations.
  • Guidelines for Raptor Conservation during Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia (2013) (151pp. PDF 2.75MB) –This document was developed to provide additional background information in support of Develop with Care 2012. It is also the companion document to the Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles Conservation during Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia 2012. The document provides general information on raptors, including life history and habitat requirements, for those species whose ranges overlap with urban and rural development in British Columbia, and provides guidelines for activities undertaken within those ranges. It also incorporates the Raptor Webcam Guidelines. These guidelines provide guidance on how to install and use webcams at raptor nests in BC in an effective, ethical and biologically sound way. These guidelines were created to address issues regarding webcam installation; however, they may be adapted and applied to other forms of audiovisual wildlife surveillance equipment as they are deployed. The placement of a webcam at a raptor nest has the potential to disturb the birds during the actual installation and/or during ongoing webcam maintenance. In the case of webcam installation, the concern is not so much the presence of the webcam itself, but rather the potential disturbance to the birds from human activity at or above the nest. BCMoE has created these guidelines to address ministry responsibilities under the Wildlife Act to protect the birds, their young and nests, and at the same time not applying unnecessary legislative requirements.

  • Guidelines for Translocation of Plant Species at Risk in British Columbia (PDF 1.2MB). Translocation is the deliberate moving of propagules and/or plants from one location to another location in the wild in order to mitigate threats and assist in the recovery of the species. There are increasing recommendations for translocations to be part of recovery planning for plant species at risk in B.C., and translocations of some species at risk have already occurred in the province. However, there are significant risks associated with translocations, in particular those that are poorly planned. Translocations have the potential to cause inadvertent harm to natural ecosystems and species at risk. Translocations often have low success rates, may be expensive, and may use significant amounts of the limited resources available for species at risk recovery. These guidelines were developed to assist with the decision of whether translocations are necessary, and if necessary, to provide general advice for the development of specific translocation plans, and to outline basic questions to guide the development of translocation methodology and techniques.

  • Instream Works - Provincial agencies, working in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have developed guidelines related to the evaluation of instream flow needs for fish as they relate to proposals to develop small hydroelectric projects. Access the interactive instream works website. See also Standards and Best Management Practices for Instream Works, March 2004 (174 pp, PDF 2.8MB)

  • Wetland Stewardship Partnership
    Wetland Ways: Interim Guidelines for Wetland Protection and Conservation in British Columbia July, 2009. Developed by the Wetland Stewardship Partnership (WSP), Wetland Ways is a series of guidelines and best practices to help build a comprehensive model for wetland conservation in B.C. These guidelines are intended to avoid and minimize impacts on wetlands on both private and public lands. The document provides general and sector-specific guidelines for wetland protection addressing the unique needs and impacts, as well as management and regulatory considerations, of various industries and groups. Wetland Ways is intended for people involved in some form of planning activity or development near wetlands, as well as those looking for guidance on the best ways to maintain the high ecological values in these areas.

    These interim guidelines were prepared with input from many experienced reviewers and will be updated using feedback and experience from pilot user groups over the next two years. We encourage and welcome comments on these guidelines. For more details and links to the document...

  • Wildlife Guidelines for Backcountry Tourism/Commercial – These guidelines were developed to ensure that backcountry recreation activities are conducted in a manner that does not compromise the current distribution of wildlife, the sustainability of their populations, or the integrity of their habitats. These guidelines define results, desired behaviours, indicators, and limits for backcountry activities in relation to wildlife and their habitats. These guidelines are intended for use by commercial tourism operators tenured under the Land Act when conducting activities on Crown land, including water-based activities. However, it is anticipated that the guidelines will provide useful guidance for all backcountry recreational users. (These guidelines replace the first version which was published in 2002 as the Interim wildlife guidelines for commercial backcountry recreation in British Columbia.)
    For more detail and links to documents . . .

Region-specific Guidelines and BMPs

"" Regions:

1.Vancouver Island
2.Lower Mainland

Vancouver Island Region

Lower Mainland Region

Thompson & Okanagan Regions

Top of page.

Kootenay Region

Cariboo Region

Skeena Region

Omineca & Peace Region


Other Guidelines and BMPs