IBA Greater Vancouver Watershed
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Site Summary
BC038 Latitude
49.443° N
123.050° W
300 - 1,200 m
317.49 km²
coniferous forest (temperate), rivers/streams, freshwater lake
Land Use:
Forestry, Water management
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Deforestation, Interactions with native species/disease
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status: Special Resource Management Zone (B.C. Spotted Owl sites)
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Site Description
This site encompasses the Seymour River, Capilano River and Lynn Creek watersheds, which are located north of the cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Habitat is characterized by temperate rainforest of Western Hemlock, Western Red-cedar and Douglas-fir grading into Amabilis Fir and Mountain Hemlock at higher elevations. Lower elevations (below 300m) are heavily urbanized (and are not part of the IBA), and significant portions of the area have been logged. A large reservoir (Capilano Lake), formed by the presence of the Cleveland Dam is located in one of the drainage basins.

The topography of the area consists of granitic mountains up to 1,500 m high and glacially carved U-shaped valleys. The climate features very wet but mild autumns and winters (annual precipitation is 3000 mm, half as snow), and drier but still cool springs and summers. The nationally endangered Tailed Frog, a species that requires cold mountain streams in unlogged areas is also found on-site.

The forests of the Greater Vancouver Watershed support several Northern Spotted Owls, a nationally endangered species. Five individuals are commonly found year round in this area; in total the Canadian population is estimated at a maximum of 100 pairs.

Forests of the area support a typical assemblage of British Columbia rainforest fauna including Northern Pygmy-Owl, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and Vaux's Swift.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Spotted Owl 1991 - 1992 SP 1
Spotted Owl 1991 - 1995 SU 1 - 5
Spotted Owl 1995 WI 5
Western Screech-Owl 1991 - 1996 SP 1
Western Screech-Owl 1998 SU 2
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
Extensive logging continues to threaten old-growth forests in the area, and thus Northern Spotted Owls. The provincial government, however, has created twenty-one Special Resource Management Zones (SRMZ) to help preserve Spotted Owl habitat by controlling forestry practices within these areas. SRMZ #8 (Coquitlam watershed) and #9 (Capilano and Seymour watersheds) are found within this IBA site. Resource management plans for these two zones have not been developed, but Spotted Owl Management Plan Objectives still direct forestry activities in these areas.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
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