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Howe Sound from Anvil Island

The Howe Sound Conservation Map

     Howe Sound, located on the South West coast of British Columbia and stretching from West Vancouver to Squamish, has long been one of Canada’s marine treasures and recreational playgrounds.  The Sound is home to an incredible variety of marine life, geographic spectacles, and panoramic ocean views, but it wasn’t always treated as the national wonder it is today. 

     Britannia Mine, located just outside Squamish at the North end of Howe Sound, operated as one of the world’s largest copper mines from 1904 through until 1974.  Unfortunately, acid rock drainage from the mine became a huge, toxic problem and ultimately decimated ecosystems and wildlife occurring in the Sound.   A huge recovery and rehabilitation effort was implemented in 1998, and now more than two decades later, marine wildlife is returning to the Sound in greater numbers every year. 

     Thanks to the immense cleanup efforts by Britannia Mine and the tenacity and determination of surrounding communities, orca, humpbacks, grey whales, herring and dozens of other species are reclaiming Howe Sound.  Combined with new ecological protection zones and strict commercial fishing regulations, locals and visitors alike are able to experience some of BC’s wildlife spectacles far more regularly. 

      If you’re interested in following some of the conservation efforts and ongoing restoration projects in Howe Sound, the David Suzuki Foundation has just released a detailed and incredibly informative conservation map of the Sound.  Operating much like Google Earth, you can apply different data layers, explore different ecological protection zones, and read about current rehabilitation projects.  LINK: