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

Canadian businesses urged to complete survey on COVID-19 impacts

Chamber and Statistic Canada trying to understand what businesses are going through

COVID-19: Vernon Canadian Tire sees long lineups

Cashiers work quickly to ring through customers

Okanagan Indian Band asks visitors to ‘stay away’ during COVID-19

Chief and council asks non-residents not to visit OKIB reserve lands during the pandemic

West Kelowna man charged in relation to cannabis grow robbery in Sicamous

Two suspects remain at large; police believe they left the robbery scene in a white hatchback

COVID-19 cancels Funtastic 2020

The sports and music festival in Vernon, Enderby and Port Alberni was scheduled for late June

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Unemployment up, Kelowna loses 2,000 jobs in March: StatCan

March unemployment rate 5.9 per cent, highest in Kelowna since January 2018

Peachland residents living in lockdown in central Philippines

Kevin and Gracelyn Bennett have been in the Philippines since December

Kelowna toddler officially cancer-free

Elara Isagawa’s family is thanking the community for their support throughout her treatment

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Campfires still permitted in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Restrictions have been implemented elsewhere within valley

Summerland parks remain open for passive use

Users urged to maintain physical distancing to slow spread of COVID-19

Most Read