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A classification system for coastal zone management as applied to the Capital Regional District, British Columbia Hardy, Ruth Ellen

Abstract

Issues related to resource allocation and ecosystem management are becoming of increasing concern to Regional Districts in the coastal zone of south western British Columbia. An approach to land use planning and management of the coastal zone is developed in response to this concern. It combines a landscape analysis with classification of the coastal zone into management categories. Management guidelines within which local communities can plan for growth and protect and maintain the coastal ecological resources are developed. The approach is simple and adaptable to various situations and types of available information. The approach is developed through a literature review of coastal zone management programs and landscape analyses, and then applied in a case study of the Saanich Peninsula. The approach evaluates homogeneous biophysical mapping units for their attractiveness and vulnerability to particular uses. The homogeneous units are determined by a resource classification which divides the coastal zone into Regions, then Districts, Sections and finally Types at the most detailed level. At the Section level two major parallel subzones are delineated - upland and shore. The attractiveness and vulnerability evaluations, which are specific to a subzone, are calculated through a mathematical linear combination method which sums weighted ratings of relevant biophysical features and processes. The concepts of the different management categories follow from the attractiveness and vulnerability evaluations. Units with high attractiveness for use, and low vulnerability to the use, are assigned to a management category which encourages high intensity uses (i.e. industrial and commercial use). At the other extreme, areas with high vulnerability (i.e. high values and low tolerance to use) are assigned to a category which restricts most uses. The case study in the Saanich Peninsula, British Columbia, demonstrates the utility of the approach. Areas of potential for growth and environmental value are effectively identified. Models were kept simple to minimize biases resulting from interdependent factors. The approach analyzes the supply of natural resources, and suggests management policies. Used in conjunction with demand analyses and public participation processes it is a valuable tool for resolving resource allocation issues in the coastal zone.

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