This past spring the provincial government invited comment on a new draft wildlife management plan, Together for Wildlife, which was developed in consultation with indigenous people, rural communities, wildlife organizations, industry stakeholders and the general public.
Part of the plan involved establishing a Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council, with representation from a wide range of stakeholders across the province.
This week it was announced that Wildsight’s Conservation Director John Bergenske has been appointed to the Council by Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development.
The council’s role will be to support the implementation of the Together for Wildlife strategy, as well as advise the minister on province-wide wildlife and habitat issues on an ongoing basis.
“Wildlife in British Columbia have continued to see their habitat disappear and have been on the bottom of the list of priorities in land use decisions. Wildlife populations are in trouble across the province. It’s time for a change. I hope that the Council can play a significant role in making wildlife stewardship a government priority,” said Bergenske in a press release from Wildsight.
As a Wildsight representative for more than 30 years, Bergenske is a trusted member of BC’s environmental community and has built strong partnerships with many non-governmental organizations through the years. His reach extends far beyond the Kootenays, with engagement with industry, communities and First Nations on wildlife and land use issues. Bergenske’s work has included a focus on incorporating wildlife values into forest and range planning with particular emphasis on mountain caribou, grizzly bears, wolverine and ungulate winter ranges. He has extensive on the ground experience in consulting with forestry planners and field staff, pushing to implement best management practices for wildlife. The ministry cited that Bergenske’s insight working with industry, ministry staff, wildlife professionals, a broad range of stakeholders, as well as First Nations on multiple land use and wildlife initiatives is a welcomed asset to the Council.
The Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council is scheduled to have their first meeting later in September.