Recovery Planning in British Columbia

What is Recovery Planning?

Recovery planning is a process to identify and facilitate the implementation of priority actions to ensure the survival and recovery of species and ecosystems at risk. The goal of recovery planning is to help arrest or reverse the decline of a species, and/or reduce or remove the threats to its long-term persistence in the wild. Recovery of a species can range from maintenance of current population size and distribution (survival) to fully restoring the species as a viable, self-sustaining population (recovery).

Recovery planning is generally accomplished through a two stage process: 1. development of a recovery strategy; and in some cases, 2. development of one or more action plan(s).

Recovery Planning Documents (table)


How is Recovery Planning Accomplished in British Columbia?

Under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in Canada, and the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Species at Risk (PDF 1.46MB), the Government of British Columbia has agreed to engage in recovery planning for species at risk in cooperation with the federal government.

Responsibility for recovery planning for a species or ecosystem at risk is generally assigned to the agency with legal responsibility for management of a particular species or ecosystem and/or its habitat. Table 1 indicates how responsibility for recovery planning in British Columbia is typically determined.


Table 1: Agencies responsible for recovery planning in British Columbia

Species Type Lead Agency
Marine species Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Freshwater fish Fisheries and Oceans Canada &
B.C. Ministry of Environment
Most terrestrial species B.C. Ministry of Environment
Species predominantly on/in lands/waters administered by Parks Canada (National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas)

Parks Canada Agency
Migratory birds Environment Canada

When a federal agency is lead for recovery planning for a species in British Columbia, the recovery strategy is posted on the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) public registry. This may include recovery strategies co-led by the province.

When the Province of British Columbia is the lead, strategies are posted on the Recovery Planning Deocuments Table. webpage. These strategies will be available for adoption by the federal government and for subsequent posting on the SARA public registry.


What is a Recovery Strategy?

A recovery strategy is a strategic, science-based document that provides advice to government and others on whether recovery is biologically feasible, and if so, what is required to achieve recovery. A recovery strategy outlines what is and what is and is not known about a species or ecosystem, identifies threats to the species or ecosystem, and what should be done to mitigate those threats. Recovery strategies set recovery goals and objectives, and recommend approaches to recover the species or ecosystem.

Recovery strategies are usually prepared by a recovery team, with members from agencies responsible for the management of the species or ecosystem, experts from other agencies, universities, conservation groups, aboriginal groups, and stakeholder groups as appropriate.

The recovery strategy provides valuable information on threats to the species and their recovery needs that may be used by individuals, communities, land users, and conservationists interested in species at risk recovery.

Recovery Planning Documents (table)

What is a Management Plan?

A management plan identifies a set of coordinated conservation activities and land use measures needed to ensure, at a minimum, that target does not become threatened or endangered. A management plan summarizes the best available science based information on biology and threats to inform the development of a management framework. Management plans set goals and objectives, and recommend approaches appropriate for species or ecosystem conservation.

Recovery Planning Documents (table)

What is an Action Plan?

In some cases, one or more action plan(s) will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Action plans include more detailed information about what needs to be done to meet the goals and objectives of the recovery strategy.

Recovery Planning Documents (table)


British Columbia Guide to Recovery Planning for Species and Ecosystems

The British Columbia Guide to Recovery Planning for Species and Ecosystems contains information and direction on the recovery planning process for species and ecosystems in British Columbia. It is designed to inform interested parties who wish to understand the recovery process in B.C., and to provide direction and guidance to provincial recovery and management teams working towards species or ecosystem management and recovery. This document contains specific guidance and templates outlining the process and requirements for forming and maintaining a recovery team, as well as preparing and publishing recovery documents.

Download main document: British Columbia Guide to Recovery Planning for Species and Ecosystems v.1.0 (PDF 389KB) includes:
Chapter 1. Introduction to Recovery Planning
Chapter 2. Initiating a Recovery Planning Process
Chapter 3. Drafting a B.C.-led Recovery Document
Chapter 4. Reviewing and Publishing a Recovery Document
Chapter 5. Implementing a Recovery Plan

Download appendices separately: