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Biodiversity Offsets in BC: Provincial Policy Success and Challenges

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Jennifer Psyllakis, Unit Head, Standards and Guidelines, BC Ministry of the Environment

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Biodiversity Offsets in BC: Provincial Policy Success and Challenges

  1. 1. Biodiversity Offsets in BC: Provincial Policy Success and Challenges  Environmental Mitigation Policy - Drivers and intent  General Principles: Offsets  Trial Application - Success - Challenges  Moving Forward Jennifer Psyllakis BC Ministry of Environment
  2. 2. Environmental Mitigation Policy: Drivers Lack of consistent standards leading to variation in the way environmental impacts are addressed Greater interest in, and lack of awareness of, financial & other tools to support environmental mitigation Need for greater consistency and transparency for mitigation planning 2
  3. 3. Environmental Mitigation Policy: Intent  Policy and Procedures to ensure consistent approach to the application of mitigation.  Fits within existing legislative framework & supports existing processes.  Voluntary application  Decision-support tool Avoid Minimize Restore On-Site Offset
  4. 4. General Principles: Offsets  Offsets deliver tangible, measurable, on-the-ground outcomes.  Outcomes are additional to what otherwise would be achieved through existing natural resource management programs or activities.  Amount of offsetting increases in accordance with the degree of uncertainty of the effectiveness of the offset measure(s), the risk to the environmental component or both.  Offsetting measures will be designed to obtain the best result for environmental component in the shortest timeframe practicable, considering the effort and resources expended.
  5. 5. General Principles: Offsets  Offsetting funds will include the full costs of implementation for the duration of the offset.  Offsetting measures will be designed to obtain the best result for environmental component in the shortest timeframe practicable, considering the effort and resources expended.  Offsets need to be legally secured for the duration of the offset commitment.  All offsetting-related costs are the responsibility of the proponent whose project or activity results in the adverse impact.
  6. 6. Trial Application: Successes  Greater transparency – Decision points (and gaps) clearly articulated – Mitigation, including offsets, directly linked to impacts – Clarified approaches to offsetting – Improved staff/proponent understanding, particularly for agreement on financial offsets – Overall approach to mitigation rationalized
  7. 7. Trial Application: Successes  Consistency – Mitigation plan template – Impact assessment workbook  Accountability – Specific commitments to outcomes – Clarified responsibilities for implementing  Resolved decision barriers – e.g., tool to support accommodation of FN treaty rights
  8. 8. Trial Application: Challenges  Legal authority to conduct mitigation measures off permitted areas.  Financial Agreements.  Clarifying additionality.  Lack of strategies and objectives.  Ensuring mitigation measures stay in place.  Definition of offset / ensuring links to intended outcomes
  9. 9. Moving Forward  Focus on challenges  Continued engagement with stakeholders and First Nations  Training and extension  Strategic approaches  Governance frameworks  Partnerships

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