Species lists are constantly updated on this site with the latest sightings. There is a lag between when sightings are made and when they are added to the list. This is usually because: (a) collating the data takes a lot of time; and (b) it takes a while to verify the exact identification and taxonomy (aka current scientific name) of many species. Lists evolve with each iteration. They get bigger due to additional records, plus names often change either due to taxonomic updates (scientists are constantly lumping and splitting within species groups). Please check back periodically if you want the latest list. You can also email Bob Brett for the latest list.

We also published a progress report in 2007 which provides the reasons why we started the Whistler Biodiversity Project, as well as an introduction and update to what’s known about various species groups. We intend to update this report shortly.

The 2007 Progress Report includes provisional checklists and species accounts current to June 2007.  Download the full report at: progress-report.

 

2007 Executive Summary

Protecting native species is a concern at both global and local levels. Concern at the global level coalesced in 1992 when 150 nations signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity. In 2002, the United Nations further intensified its efforts through the “Biodiversity 2010” initiative. Native biodiversity is threatened world-wide and Whistler is no exception. In Whistler, commitments to protect native species and their habitats are included in Whistler2020 – a long-term, multi-objective strategy involving community members, organizations, and local government. It became increasingly clear in the Whistler2020 process that biodiversity conservation must be guided by a knowledge of Whistler’s species and ecosystems, and that this data has often been lacking or incomplete. To address these knowledge gaps, the Whistler Biodiversity Project was created in 2005 to help protect Whistler’s native species through science-based research and public involvement. The Project began surveys of eight species groups in 2005 and 2006. Work to date has resulted in the following products:

* Amphibians: The first broad-scale, cross-valley surveys of occurrence, distribution, and habitat.
* Plants: The first comprehensive survey of plant diversity (420 native species plus 76 non-natives) and discovery of two previously unknown rare plants.
* Mushrooms: The first comprehensive survey of mushroom diversity (399 native species).
* Invasives: The first cross-valley effort to quantify the distribution, diversity, and threat of invasive plants.
* Bats, Lichens, Dragonflies, and Butterflies: Pilot projects and first tentative checklists.
* Cross-Analysis of Other Studies: Data from other studies were collated with this project’s results to produce the first attempt to catalogue all known about biodiversity in Whistler.
* Public Involvement: Twelve public events and presentations were organized for the first two years of the project. Future plans are to expand public involvement through: school events, BioBlitz (a 24-hour public event to highlight biodiversity), and expanded hard copy and web-based access to data.

A total of 901 native species and 76 non-native (mostly invasive) species have been confirmed to date by the project. A cross-analysis with other sources (primarily for birds and mammals) raises the confirmed total to 1117 native and 89 non-native species. This is a tentative, conservative total since many species groups (e.g., invertebrates and lichens) and habitat types are under-represented.

The project has helped clarify the status of rare species in Whistler. Two new rare plants were confirmed, neither of which were listed by the BC Conservation Data Centre as potential occurrences in Whistler. Coastal Tailed Frog research provided the first valley-wide quantification of their occurrence by stream and elevational range in the Whistler area. The status of up to 28 additional rare species needs to be clarified. Surveys in 2007 and beyond will target habitat types most likely to support these species.

Amphibian results stress the importance of small, ephemeral wetlands as habitat for a number of Whistler’s salamander and frog species. At present, these wetlands are not mapped nor afforded any protection. Future studies will further explore the role played by golf course ponds in local amphibian ecology, including as potential habitat for rare Red-legged Frogs and invasive Bullfrogs.

Amphibian studies are most advanced and are moving towards the establishment and testing of monitoring protocols. Expanded surveys of other native and non-native species groups will help clarify the status of rare and other species and help move these species groups towards the monitoring stage.

Species level data is much more powerful when linked to location and habitat conditions so all data is geo-referenced. Additional work in 2007 and beyond is needed to collate and map this data.

The natural environment is important to Whistler’s residents and a key draw for destination tourists. If initiatives such as the Whistler Biodiversity Project are successful, future generations will inherit a Whistler where rare species and habitats have been protected, and common species and habitats remain common.