Larry Tooze file.

Province seeking comment on draft wildlife management plan

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has adopted a four-phase engagement process to develop a new wildlife management and habitat conservation strategy for British Columbia.

The ministry collaborated with Indigenous peoples, rural communities, wildlife organizations, natural resource development industry stakeholders, and the public to develop the draft strategy, called Together for Wildlife.

The Ministry proposes to establish a provincial Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council with representation from a wide range of stakeholders across the province. That will be formed this year. By 2021, the goal is to create Regional Wildlife Advisory Committees, to meet the unique needs of each region.

The Ministry plans to expand biological, social and economic data collection to fill critical gaps in wildlife monitoring.

They will support priority research for wildlife stewardship at post-secondary institutions to build partnerships between researchers and managers.

They plan to establish a citizen science framework to provide more opportunities for wildlife stewardship data collection and monitoring, and ensure that wildlife and habitat data is available to everyone.

The plan a comprehensive review of land designations, and make investments to manage existing Conservation Lands, and acquire new priority lands for wildlife stewardship.

The entire draft plan can be read here.

The environmental group Wildsight has taken a look at it, and say that there are important components missing in order to recover and sustain wildlife.

“Without added details, this map will take us down a road to a future without healthy wildlife populations or suitable habitat for those that are left,” says the Wildsight response.

Wildsight says there is imprecise data as to how many wild animals and how much habitat there is in B.C. in order to sustain healthy populations.

“We can’t talk about population and habitat goals, without having good baseline data to start from. Getting population and habitat inventories and then setting population and legislated habitat objectives will ensure decisions and actions are based on facts and clear objectives.

Hunting and trapping regulations need to be based on up-to-date inventories, made with wildlife sustainability at the top of the priority list.

Wildlife and habitat protections must be prioritized on crown lands with stand-alone legislation that guarantees the conservation of biodiversity values, Wildsight says. Such an approach is not possible within the current tenure system. No form of tenure (forest, mining, lands) should override the importance of wildlife and habitat protections.

Hunting and trapping regulations need to be based on up-to-date inventories, made with wildlife sustainability at the top of the priority list.

Wildlife and habitat protections must be prioritized on crown lands with stand-alone legislation that guarantees the conservation of biodiversity values. Such an approach is not possible within the current tenure system. No form of tenure (forest, mining, lands) should override the importance of wildlife and habitat protections.

Major investment needs to be put into enforcement and education, including sufficient funding for natural resource and conservation officers across the province.

A fund that assures long term investment into conservation and restoration of habitat around the province is desperately needed. The seed money the province has earmarked for inventory and monitoring is a start, but funding for wildlife must come from the full spectrum of resource users, all land use tenures and regular everyday British Columbians. If we all invest in the future of British Columbia’s wildlife, we all play a key role in its survival.

These are the pieces Wildsight says should be added to the government’s Together For Wildlife draft plan

Anyone can provide comment on the plan at

engage.gov.bc.ca/wildlifeandhabitat wildlifeandhabitat@gov.bc.ca

Information on applying to sit on a council can be found here

https://engage.gov.bc.ca/wildlifeandhabitat/advisory-council-membership-application/

Members of the Councils will be drawn from the general public, First Nations, local government, academia, natural resource and industry sectors, conversation organizations and the provincial government.

Information on applying to sit on a council can be found here

https://engage.gov.bc.ca/wildlifeandhabitat/advisory-council-membership-application/

The Bulletin will sit down with Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok next week for his reaction to the draft plan.



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

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