Environment & Sustainability

The Squamish Environment: Unique and Valuable

Squamish is located at the north end of Howe Sound, where the Squamish and Stawamus rivers meet the sea. This estuarine fjord provides important habitat for a rich and diverse variety of plants and animals. Encompassing the site of the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area, the area is also designated an important bird area by Birdlife International and provides habitat for over 200 species of local and migratory birds.

With its many streams and watercourses, riparian areas make up part of the fabric of the Squamish landscape. Riparian areas constitute fish habitat by providing nutrients, leaf and insect drop, shade and temperature regulation to watercourses. Generally, a more complex riparian area enhances the quality of the fish habitat. Riparian areas also improve stormwater infiltration capacity. Wetlands are also scattered throughout Squamish and provide many functions such as amphibian habitat, water retention capacity, and improving water quality.  Many of our local wetlands are ephemeral, drying out in the summer and retaining water in the winter.

In addition to providing an important natural habitat for flora and fauna, the Squamish estuary also provides opportunities for recreation, trails, wind sports, industry and economic development


Fast Facts: 
  • The Squamish River is the source of 90% of the fresh water in Howe Sound.
  • A fjord estuary is a long, narrow arm of the sea, bordered by steep cliffs, usually formed by glaciation, such as the Squamish River estuary.
  • A delta estuary is a triangular mass of sediment, especially silt or sand, deposited at the mouth of a river, such as the Fraser River delta in Vancouver.
  • The Squamish River Watershed is comprised of 4 main rivers; the Mamquam River, Cheakamus River, the Squamish River, and the Stawamus River.
  • A watershed (also known as a drainage basin or a catchment area) is an area of land where all the water drains into one body of water.  It usually contains a network of rivers and streams that progressively drain into larger water areas. 
  • Riparian means the land next to freshwaters, such as streams and creeks.  These upland riparian areas are an important part of fish habitat.

Environmental Protection & Bylaws

Riparian & Aquatic Protection

Invasive Species

Pesticides and Herbicides

Climate Action Charter

Rivers and Estuary