project journal

A Legacy for BCMCA

from June 12th, 2013

The British Columbia Marine Conservation Analysis project spanned 2006 through 2013, and is now complete.

The BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF) have agreed to continue hosting the BCMCA website content through May 2016, keeping the data, atlas pages and analysis available. These resources can help inform decision making for years to come about Canada’s Pacific.

If you have any questions about the BCMCA data or products please contact the BCMCA data custodian at

Also, to help people spread the word, we’ve created a printed promotional flier, which will start being distributed this week. Feel free to download the email-optimized PDF of the flier and share it with anyone whom you feel could benefit from BCMCA’s resources.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we hope you make excellent use of this suite of products!

BCMCA Interactive Atlas Now Available!

from June 12th, 2013

The BCMCA has developed a BCMCA interactive online atlas. The interactive atlas displays all the familiar BCMCA marine feature data and allows you to overlay different features. Zoom into your specific area of interest and see how ecological features and human uses actually overlap.

The new atlas will not enable data downloads, but does facilitate viewing multiple datasets simultaneously and exploring the data the way you want to. There is a quick link from each layer to the corresponding BCMCA website feature page full of information and often you can download the data from there. The interactive atlas also lets you compose maps and save screen shots.

Find the atlas on the BCMCA website on the Community Mapping Network. Have fun exploring!

Features Updated and New Atlas Pages Available

from May 30th, 2013

The BCMCA has obtained updated data for a number of features over the last few months. The following Ecological features atlas pages have been updated: At-sea marine bird density, At-sea listed marine bird density, At-sea Marbled Murrelet density, Cassin’s Auklet foraging habitat, Rhinoceros Auklet foraging habitat, Bull kelp and giant kelp, Rare algae, Selected invertebrates (corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs, segmented worms, sponges), Oceanographic Regions, now called Upper Ocean Sub Regions (Methods to derive these regions were reviewed, our new facing page is much more informative, and a full report on methods is now available with the feature data download.).

There have also been Human use features alas pages updated: Commercial halibut fishing, Ferry terminals and routes, Renewable energy tenures, Tenures (aquaculture, commercial and industrial uses, commercial recreation, log handling and storage, residential marine, utilities), Tourism (environmental conservation and recreation), Vessel traffic (fishing vessels, government vessels, merchant vessels, passenger and cruise vessels, pleasure crafts and yachts, research vessels, tankers, and tugs).

In addition, we have gathered data for a few new features and atlas pages. You can now access pdf atlas pages and GIS compatible data (in shapefile format) for these new features: Common Murre foraging habitat, Disposal-at-sea sites, Shipwrecks, Maritime zones and jurisdictions, Pollutant spill locations.

While we have not updated or rerun any of the BCMCA example Marxan scenarios, we’d like to note that the spatial files for these results continue to be available for download at our Analysis page.

BCMCA Wrapping Up with Products Remaining Online

from May 28th, 2013

The British Columbia Marine Conservation Analysis (BCMCA) project is wrapping up phase two of our work and coming to a close. Believe it or not, it’s been almost two years since we published the Marine Atlas of Pacific Canada!

We’ve been busy since then… We have published our example Marxan Scenarios for Pacific Canada report. We held a series of presentations and provided many data sets to numerous government agencies, academic projects, and other organizations to assist in marine planning activities. We have also updated some atlas pages, drafted a few new ones, and assisted West Coast Aquatic and the Marine Planning Partnership with Marxan analyses to inform their planning initiatives.

We are working on one more new tool, an interactive atlas that will be hosted on the Community Mapping Network website. We’ll notify you with a posting when this new tool is completed and available for browsing!

The BCMCA is completing its work this spring – as of May 31 2013. However, the BCMCA website will remain active and supported for a minimum of three years. Please continue to find the BCMCA marine atlas and data information and all of our products here at

Any Interest in Marxan Training?

from December 15th, 2012

Are you interested in learning how to use the BCMCA features with Marxan?

The Project Team is considering hosting a free public webinar or developing a series of videos to demonstrate how the BCMCA features can be used in Marxan scenarios for marine planning decision support.

If you need help to access features that are not currently available for download on the BCMCA website or wonder how to prepare datasets for Marxan, this may be for you!


BCMCA Manuscript Accepted for Publication

from December 10th, 2012

The BCMCA is celebrating another success. A manuscript about the BCMCA that was co-authored and submitted for peer review by several project team members was recently published in the journal Marine Policy. The authors include: Natalie Ban, David Nicolson, Karin Bodtker, Carrie Robb, Krista Royle and Charlie Short.

The paper, Setting the stage for marine spatial planning: Ecological and social data collection and analyses in Canada’s Pacific waters, gives a comprehensive overview of the methods the BCMCA used for data collation and analyses and discusses several lessons learned during the process. The paper is available for download on the BCMCA website (a 2.4 MB PDF, available here) and is also available online with open access at:

Congratulations to the authors!

New BCMCA Video

from November 20th, 2012

Check out this new video of the BCMCA. Project Team member and environmental non-governmental representative, Karin Bodtker, describes aspects of the BCMCA and the products. Please take a look!


More Data Packages Ready for Download

from November 10th, 2012

If you are interested in downloading the data or atlas pages for numerous features that are available on the BCMCA website, it can take some time. To make the process easier, the BCMCA has made available packages of the ecological features and we have now added packages for the human use features.

Four categories of data packages are available. The first category contains all of the atlas pages. The second category contains the atlas pages as well as the available feature data and metadata. The feature data are the GIS/spatial data for a feature delivered in shapefile format. The third category includes the atlas pages and available Marxan-ready data and metadata. The Marxan-ready data are the GIS/spatial data for a feature quantified into the BCMCA’s 2 km x 2 km planning units. The fourth category includes atlas pages, feature data and metadata, and Marxan-ready data and metadata.

Packages of the spatial data containing the Marxan scenario results are also available on the analysis page.

Marxan Report Updated

from October 15th, 2012

Our report on a series of Marxan scenarios (13 MB PDF) features the results of some human use Marxan analyses.  The report describes how the BCMCA used Marxan to identify areas of high conservation value (using ecological data) and to identify areas important to human use (using human use data only).

Publication of these results follows a series of web hosted presentations designed to engage representatives from each human use sector in a review of Marxan methods and a discussion of the validity of scenario results for their sector. Two sectors approved publication of scenario results alongside several caveats and the report now includes 10 results maps for commercial fisheries and shipping and transportation, illustrating areas important to those sectors in the marine environment. The remaining four sectors (recreational fisheries, ocean energy, tourism and recreation, and tenures) requested that the Marxan results not be made public. Further information is provided on page 46 of the report.

Spatial data for the human use Marxan results of the approved scenarios are now available for download, along with detailed metadata. Please visit the the analysis page of the website for more information.


Revised Website Focuses on Results

from August 28th, 2012

The BC Marine Conservation Analysis (BCMCA) recently redesigned our website to allow for better access to the results of the BCMCA. The website is one of the main tools the BCMCA uses to offer marine planning initiatives in British Columbia access and use to the products in order to support decision makers.

Our aim was to bring the focus more directly to our atlas and analysis products and to simplify the user interface, thereby providing better access to BCMCA products. In particular, the data and maps are more prominent, the latest data updates and journal posts are highlighted on the home page, and we have greatly improved the way we deliver and share data custodian information.

In addition, we provide you with the means to comment directly on any of the features through a comment tab on each feature page (e.g., check out the comments related to the high rugosity feature). Your comment or question will be reviewed, posted, and answered. Please let us know what you think!