About the Department

Malahat Nation’s Environment Department focuses on promoting stewardship and sustainable practices throughout the marine and terrestrial environment in the Nation’s traditional territory. The Environment Department works on a variety of projects and initiatives related to Fisheries, Sustainable Development, and Marine Stewardship.


The Environment Department manages commercial crab, salmon and red urchin fishing licenses, as well as Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) permits.

Setting up crab traps aboard the Pride of Malahat

One of the Environment Department goals is to increase community access to the Marine territory and harvest. Food Fish distributions to the Malahat community are one way of increasing connection to marine harvest. Previous distributions include: Herring, Sockeye, Chinook, Crab.

Sustainable Development

The Environment Department staff consult on major projects that may affect Malahat Nation aboriginal rights and title, including Roberts Bank Terminal 2 and Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales in Saanich inlet (photo taken from a distance with a zoom lens and cropped).

Staff provide technical and scientific expertise for environmental assessments, local developments and Nation governance.

Recent projects include:

  • Proposed marine and foreshore developments
  • Soil import bylaws
  • Environmental Site Assessments
  • Providing meaningful feedback on proposed changes to Canadian legislation in order to safeguard Malahat interests.

Recent reviews include:

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
  • Fisheries Act: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Navigable Waters Act: Transport Canada
  • National Energy Board Act: Canadian National Energy Board

Marine Environmental Monitoring and Stewardship

The Environment Department oversees the monitoring and stewardship program for Malahat’s Marine territory. The Monitoring and Stewardship program includes deploying advanced technologies like drones, and supporting community members in long-term high value careers as stewards of the Salish Sea.

Savannah and Desiree place a reference target for mapping the shoreline by drone.

Monitoring and Stewardship activities include:

  • Monitoring Birds, crab, eelgrass, kelp, intertidal invertebrates (SSI program)
  • Mapping coastal erosion and marine vegetation using drone technology
  • Develops sustainability and stewardship initiatives such as smart homes, Saanich Inlet prawn and crab buoy surveys, and commercial boat charter services
  • Collaborates with Island Marine Aquatic Group to advance First Nation fisheries interests
  • Provides digital mapping and Geographic Information Systems support for Malahat Nation
  • Engages in developing Marine Response Plans in partnership with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and the Canadian Coastguard; oversees preparations for any potential oil spills.
  • Engages with local/municipal governments to coordinate response plan to air, soil and water pollution for the region.
Posted in Environment