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Environmental groups concerned after feds release report on caribou habitat

Photo Credit: Fish &  Wildlife Compensation
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A group of seven environmental organizations say they’re concerned after the federal Ministry of Environment released a report which found that provinces and territories are not doing enough to protect the habitat of the boreal caribou.

The seven organizations, among which are the David Suzuki Foundation, the Wilderness Committee, and Greenpeace Canada, issued a statement today expressing their concerns about recent actions by provincial governments in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. The group is calling on all provinces and territories to stop expansion of the industrial footprint in boreal caribou ranges that have exceeded 35 percent disturbance, and to take immediate steps to protect critical habitat. 

“We expect provinces and territories to do this in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, fully respecting their knowledge and rights including the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC),” said the statement.

The group did however point out that positive steps have been taken by several First Nations and other communities, including two in B.C. Peace Region. The Fort Nelson First Nation’s Boreal Caribou Recovery Plan for their territory called the Medzih Action Plan, and the Doig River First Nation’s idenntification of priority areas for caribou habitat restoration based on Indigenous knowledge and science, were two positive examples mentioned by the group.

The group added that it is calling on Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to fulfill her duties under SARA by continuing to issue timely section 63 reports for boreal caribou, to begin issuing them for other species, and also by issuing safety net orders for critical habitat that remains unprotected.

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