From the lowland floodplains of the Fraser River, to the cliffs of Sumas Mountain, Abbotsford has a diversity of habitats that support many wildlife species.
Management of wildlife, including species at risk, is primarily under the jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments. While the City does not have direct jurisdiction for wildlife or species at risk, the City has an interest in ensuring development/activities are consistent with senior government legislation, best management practices (BMPs), guidelines, expectations etc., as this ensures development/activities align with the City's Community Sustainability Strategy and Official Community Plan (OCP).
A number of areas within the City are designated by the OCP as Natural Environmental Development Permit (NEDP) areas. No site clearing, re-grading or other land disturbance is permitted until either a NEDP is issued or an exemption is granted. The intent of the NEDP is to protect the natural environment, including environmentally sensitive habitats, significant stands of vegetation, species at risk, and fish habitat. As part of a NEDP, the City requires Wildlife Assessment Reports be completed by development applicants as per the Wildlife Assessment Report Guidelines. More information on the NEDP is available on the Environmental Regulations page.
The City recommends that nesting birds are considered during tree removal, as outlined in the Bird Nesting Information Bulletin.
Ecosystem mapping has been completed throughout the City:
- McKee Peak Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping (2006)
- Sumas Mountain Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory - excluding McKee Peak (2010)
- Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory conducted by Metro Vancouver and is available to view in their GIS web-app.
Species at Risk
There is an abundance of wildlife in the City of Abbotsford and many endangered species of plants and animals are found here, including over 40 species classified as at-risk with 22 species currently listed on the federal Species at Risk Act. Over 30 of these species-at-risk are located on Sumas Mountain which is well-known both regionally and provincially as a biodiversity hotspot.
A species is defined as being “at risk” if it is:
- extirpated (no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere in the wild);
- endangered (faces imminent extirpation or extinction);
- threatened (likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors, leading to its extirpation or extinction); or
- of special concern (may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats).
The City is known to provide habitat for many species at risk including:
- birds such as the Peregrine Falcon, Barn Owl and Western Screech Owl;
- mammals such as the Mountain Beaver and Pacific Water Shrew;
- amphibians such as the Red-legged Frog and Oregon Spotted Frog;
- molluscs such as the Oregon Forest snail;
- fish such as the Nooksack Dace and Salish Sucker; and
- plants such as the Phantom Orchid and Tall Bugbane.
More information on species at risk is available from:
- BC Ministry of Environment - Species and Ecosystems at Risk
- Species at Risk Public Registry
- Species at Risk: a primer for BC
Reporting a Dangerous Wildlife Sighting
As a public safety provider, the Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer Service is focused on responding to human wildlife conflicts. If you observe dangerous wildlife (bear, cougar or coyote) in an urban area involved in any of the following, please report the incident to the Conservation Officer Service 24 hour toll free line at 1-877-952-7277:
- Accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
- Instances where wildlife cannot be easily scared off
- Dangerous wildlife is in a public location like a city park or school during daylight hours
- When a cougar is seen in a urban area
Observing dangerous wildlife in the woods, back country, forested areas or a wildlife interface is normal. We recommend that anyone spending time in these areas should ensure that they are familiar with how to react should they encounter dangerous wildlife. The BC Ministry of Environment's website provides conservation information and best practices for interacting with wildlife. The Wildsafe BC website hosts an interactive map with all current sightings.