Cumulative effects of development like Site C could be detrimental to some wildlife

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Dr. Apps is appearing on behalf of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservative Initiative, along with Y2Y Program Director Wendy L. Francis. In his report, Dr. Apps looked at human influence on caribou, grizzly bear, gray wolf, lynx, wolverine, and a type of weasel called fisher, as well as bull trout and Arctic grayling. 

“In the near future, the regional landscape is likely to be reduced to about one-half of its potential to support certain wide-ranging species, like wolverine,” says Dr. Apps. “Site C will exacerbate this loss and will further erode our ability to conserve and recover some  species.  This in turn would fracture wildlife populations that are otherwise mostly continuous along the Rockies.”

Based on Apps’ research, it’s expected the landscape effectiveness for wolves is expected to be reduced by 22 per cent, while locally it’s expected to be reduced 10 per cent for lynx, 46 per cent for wolverines, up to 44 per cent for grizzlies, and 31 to 37 per cent for caribout.

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“We’re very concerned about these results,” adds Wendy Francis. “The ability of grizzly bears, caribou and other sensitive large mammals to live in the Peace region is already severely constrained by industrial development. Site C will make the problem worse, and we feel some species eventually could be extirpated.”

Dr. Apps is recommending habitat enhancement and management, and making the landscape directly east of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam that’s not subject to flooding a high conservation priority zone. 

In its Environmental Impact Statement, B.C. Hydro proposes mitigation measures for wildlife resources that include establishing environmental protection zones and new wetland habitat areas, as well as artificial dens for animals like fishers. 

The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative is set to present this afternoon following speakers from Treaty 8 Tribal Association and Saulteau First Nations.

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