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

District residents split on Teacup property development

DOK survey indicates a close split in favour and against exclusion application

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read