Two draft agreements on B.C. Caribou protection ‘historic,’ says minister

Public meetings to start in April

Public meetings will begin in April on two new draft agreements that focus on protecting B.C.’s southern mountain Caribou.

The first agreement, between the B.C. and federal government and the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, proposes an interim moratorium area and a caribou recovery review area in northeastern B.C. to help the dwindling Pine, Narraway and Quintette herds. No existing mining operations will be affected, but forestry and others would be.

The draft agreements are meant to minimize the risk of an emergency order that would unilaterally close off Caribou habitats and could result in billions of dollars in economic loss, according to the ministry.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson also announced a section 11 agreement under the Species at Risk Act for broad recovery in a larger portion of the province and access to federal funding. It does not include prescribed protected areas, but the development of herd plans through a collaborative process with Indigenous people and stakeholders could identify habitat in need of protection or restoration.

RELATED: VIDEO: Soon-to-be-extinct caribou moved to B.C. interior

Benefits include aligning B.C.’s Recovery Plan with federal goals, a collaborative approach to caribou recovery, could reduce the potential for a federal protection order that considers caribou habitat needs only and not communities and access to federal funding, according to the ministry.

Neither of the agreements sets snowmobile closures. Further consultation with snowmobilers will take place, according to the ministry.

The province is also commissioning an independent economic analysis with communities and local businesses.

“These draft agreements are historic in Canada and aim to protect an iconic species at risk that’s seen drastic population declines,” says Donaldson.

Chief Ken Cameron of the Saulteau First Nations calls it a powerful moment.

“It is a turning point for B.C., Canada and First Nations and people working together to save a species from extinction. This is real and we can do this.”

Wilderness Committee Conservation and Policy Campaigner Charlotte Dawe says West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations are the reason caribou in the central group have a future but was more critical of the Section 11 agreement.

“The bilateral agreements between the governments of B.C. and Canada miss the mark,” said Dawe. “I predict we’ll continue to see logging in critical habitat under this plan and caribou numbers will continue to dwindle ever closer to extinction.”

Those looking to provide immediate feedback can do so here.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Map of the proposed partnership agreement. Ministry of FLNRO files.

Section 11 agreement map.

Just Posted

KIJHL hires Jeff Dubois as new commissioner

Emanuel Sequeira Communications Manager, KIJHL Jeff Dubois has been hired as the… Continue reading

Sexual assault stories from treeplanting camps ‘shocking but not surprising’

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Kimberley Alpine Resorts hosts Jeep Junior Free Ski event

Young skiers had an opportunity to show off their skills at the… Continue reading

Registration open now for North Star Ski-Mo Race

It’s time once more for the annual North Star Ski-Mo Race, where… Continue reading

City of Kimberley receives financial reporting award

The City of Kimberley has once again been honoured with receipt of… Continue reading

WATCH: The week in review: Feb. 28

WATCH: Interior Health issues drug alert in Cranbrook Interior Health is warning… Continue reading

Piano Recital on Sunday at East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival

The East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival (EKPAF) presents a special treat: a… Continue reading

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

LETTER: Objections to proposed dirt bike trails

As a property owner in Ta Ta Creek we are very concerned… Continue reading

Notorious B.C. fugitive to be extradited from California on murder charge

Brandon Nathan Teixeira submitted to extradition during court proceedings Thursday in Sacramento

COLUMN: March is a great time to be on the slopes, but it’s also the deadliest

Longer, sunnier days are one of the reasons why March has the most avalanche fatalities

Most Read