Caribou engagement session added to Cranbrook
The provincial government has decided to include the East Kootenay in the public discussions around caribou recovery.
On April 8 the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced “Caribou conservation engagement scheduled for April 15-17 in Kootenays,” with two information sessions announced for the Central Kootenay (Nelson and Nakusp) and another in Revelstoke, which isn’t part of the Kootenays.
However, a fourth engagement session has now been added to Cranbrook, the ministry announced this morning (April 15) in a media release.
The public is invited to a community engagement session in Cranbrook on Tuesday, April 30, to provide feedback on two draft agreements to conserve southern mountain caribou populations.
The two draft agreements have been developed under Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act.
A draft Section 11 agreement between British Columbia and Canada sets a framework for co-operation between the two governments to recover southern mountain caribou.
A draft partnership agreement between B.C., Canada, West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations proposes specific habitat protection and restoration measures to recover the central group herds of southern mountain caribou.
Environmental, wildlife, industry and backcountry recreation/user groups are urging people to become engaged on the issue.
“This is an important and rare opportunity for people in the Columbia Basin to have their voices heard on caribou recovery,” said Candace Batycki, Nelson-based B.C. and Yukon program director with Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).
Mountain caribou are a species found nowhere else on the planet and are highly threatened due to loss of habitat, compounded by altered predator-prey relationships, intensive backcountry use, and climate change. Once found in abundance, herds across the Columbia Basin are in serious decline, with some herds, such as the South Selkirks and South Purcells, already locally extinct, she noted.
“A particularly concerning aspect of the draft Section 11 agreement is the weak approach to habitat protection, with no interim protections in place while recovery planning goes on for another two years. To effectively recover this species, we need interim habitat protections now. Really, we needed them a long time ago,” Batycki said.
Staff from the provincial and federal governments will April 30 share information about the draft agreements and will be available to answer questions.
To provide feedback that will help to inform the final agreements, the public is invited to attend the following session:
Tuesday, April 30 from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort.