Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke
Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke
Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

Conservation groups are calling on the provincial government to stop logging caribou habitat near Revelstoke.

Days ago, the B.C. government announced a new approach to old-growth forests, including to delay logging in the Incomappleux Valley east of Revelstoke.

READ MORE: B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

Yet, there are plans to log more than three square kilometres of intact rainforest north of Revelstoke in the Argonaut Valley.

“The B.C. government is taking two steps forward and three steps back by attempting to create habitat while also obliterating old-growth habitat that caribou have been known to use. It’s a net loss,” said Wilderness Committee conservation and policy campaigner Charlotte Dawe in a press release.

“The government is sabotaging itself and caribou, not to mention wasting taxpayer money, by logging right next door.”

Conservation groups said the proposed clear cuts fall within the 120-member North Columbia herd’s critical habitat and tracking data shows caribou use the area.

Studies suggest logging and other industrial activity is largely to blame for the severe decline of southern mountain caribou.

Between March 1, 2019 to July 2, 2020, the province approved 104 cut blocks, totaling 19 square kilometres of caribou habitat near Revelstoke, not including new roads built.

READ MORE: ‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

Wildsight, Echo Conservation Society and Wilderness Committee visited the Argonaut Valley last month. They said the planned area to be logged is primarily old-growth rainforest with cedars and hemlocks over 50 metres tall and hundreds of years old.

“The rainforest in the Argonaut Valley is an incredible place, with giant ancient cedars,” says Echo Conservation Society Executive Director Thomas Knowles. “B.C.’s interior rainforest is a hidden ecological jewel along the eastern edge of the province, but we’re letting it slip away to logging.”

Conservation groups said the area is critical habitat for endangered southern mountain caribou, which have recently disappeared from the southern part of their range in the Kootenays after two herds were lost in the Purcell and Selkirk mountains.

Parks Canada quietly announced earlier this month that a caribou herd had gone extinct in Jasper National Park.

“Mountain caribou have already been wiped off the map in southern B.C., mostly because of the destruction of their habitat through logging,” says Wildsight Conservation Specialist Eddie Petryshen. “The North Columbia herd is the southernmost herd left in B.C. with the best chance at survival but they won’t survive if we keep clear cutting the old-growth forest they need.”

The Canadian government estimates there to be approximately 6,000 Southern Mountain caribou in total, between 15 herds across the Columbia Mountains and parts of the western Rocky Mountains.

The cut blocks in the Argonaut Valley are to be auctioned off by BC Timber Sales, which is the provincial government’s own logging agency. Conservation groups are call on the government to cancel the auction and restore the five kilometres of already-constructed road.

READ MORE: U.S. protects already extinct caribou herd

“If B.C. won’t protect this critical caribou habitat, then federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson must use his powers under the Species at Risk Act and issue an emergency protection order to protect irreplaceable caribou habitat,” says Dawe.

With little more than one per cent of old growth in B.C. still standing, conservation groups are asking why the province is allowing any logging of the little old-growth that remains.

B.C.’s definition of old growth is 140 years old in the interior.

B.C. is working on provincial caribou recovery plans to help caribou. In February, the provincial and federal government unveiled an agreement to add two million acres to protected areas in northern B.C. to help the endangered animals.

READ MORE: Province says upcoming caribou plans for Revelstoke shouldn’t largely impact industry or recreation

B.C. has yet to release caribou plans for Revelstoke. The province is aiming to release them within the year.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EnvironmentWildlife

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

Just Posted

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
Despite additional death, COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional loss in last day

Two North Okanagan-Shuswap rural communities, including Lumby, will receive B.C. government grants to support new jobs and economic opportunities to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19. (Black Press file photo)
North Okanagan-Shuswap communities collect government grants

Lumby and Blind Bay to benefit to help recover from economic impact of COVID-19

Accelerate Okanagan has announced the six finalists for the 2021 OKGN Angel Summit. The remaining entrepreneurs will compete for a chance to receive a $145,000 investment in their business. (Eryca Stirling photo)
Finalists named for Okanagan entrepreneur summit

Accelerate Okanagan has named the final six competing entrepreneurs in the OKGN Angel Summit

A man was arrested after he refused to vacate Alexander’s Beach Pub in Coldstream while not adhering to the business’s COVID-19 mask-wearing policy Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Google Maps photo)
Man arrested for refusing to leave Coldstream store while not wearing mask

Store owner says man likely came in looking for an argument: ‘the fellow had a notepad’

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Penticton Speedway has been sold but the investment group who bought it is planning to create an enhanced racetrack and racing experience. (File photo)
Penticton Speedway sold and will remain a racetrack

Investment group that includes founder of Area 27 intends to buy the Speedway

The District of Sicamous announced plans to purchase and manage the Sicamous Medical Centre on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Colleen Anderson and Malcolm Makayev have been overseeing this and other health matters on behalf of the district’s council. (Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous to purchase retiring doctor’s business, take over management

Move intended to attract new doctors by allowing them to focus on patient care

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

(File photo)
‘Give me your stuff! Oh, hello, officer’: Man surprised by Kamloops Mountie

A man trying to enter a vehicle stopped in Kamloops was greeted by an off-duty Kamloops Mountie inside

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Project rendering of Hadgraft Wilson Place (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
68-unit affordable housing complex coming downtown Kelowna

The six-storey complex located on Fuller Ave is set to be completed by fall 2022

Most Read