VICTORIA, B.C. – The Provincial Government has released its draft plan with First Nations to recover Southern Mountain Caribou.
The Provincial Government shared they have been working from 2012- 2018 to help conserve caribou herds in B.C. as part of their reconciliation with First Nations as caribou have cultural significance to some First Nations.
With the Government mapping herds of caribou in B.C. and recognizing their decline in numbers and the space in which the animals require to thrive, the government says they need to take measures to help the caribou. By sharing that the resource sector in some areas has enabled the decline of the caribou due to new life cycles in the animal’s environments. With roadways and seismic lines and an increase of greater foliage, this increases numbers of moose and deer as well areas have been altered allowing predators to hunt with greater ease.
With the Species at Risk Act (SARA) The Government of Canada can intervene on the way these at-risk species are being protected which has the Provincial Government creating the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program and the Section 11 agreement.
The Provincial Government says Section 11 will be the opportunity to create agreements with herd by herd planning and designing the right approach with communities with a collaborative approach. Currently, this is a draft situation that needs to be worked upon.
In partnership with West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, the concern is for the Pine, Narraway and Quintette caribou populations found in Mackenzie, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge. By changing resource practices in this area should minimize the risk of a federal order. Ensuring caribou recovery, meeting indigenous and treaty rights as well as minimizing impacts on communities.
In the central group of caribou, the decline has gone from numbers of 800 animals in the early 2000s to now 220 animals today. The Province says if work is not done within communities to establish ways of supporting the needs of the caribou, to be able to regain their numbers. Having the Federal government step in and implementing an emergency order, could have unpredictable and economic loss. Whereas section 11 and the Partnership Agreements will minimize that risk.
Through public engagement and independent economic evaluation. The Government says they want to work with partners and local governments to understand economic impacts on communities.
The Government went on to share that public engagement will take place in the northeast and other key communities relevant to the Section 11 agreement. Through public engagement, conference calls with Indigenous communities and online.
No snowmobile closures were made in the agreements, the protected Partnership Areas only apply to resource development activities. An engagement process is being launched for snowmobile management and an independent, neutral third party with expertise in backcountry motorized recreation to lead the engagement process in May.
Results from the public engagement process will be used to inform the final agreements between B.C. and the Federal Government.
CLICK HERE, To submit your feedback to the Provincial Government regarding caribou recovery.
Below is a copy of the draft agreement.