Topic 1: Principles for the protection of species at risk



Protecting species at risk is complex and involves many considerations. The Province of British Columbia intends to improve the protection for species and ecosystems at risk using sound science and conservation and public policy principles. We propose the following principles to guide the protection of species at risk in BC:

  1. Positive conservation outcomes – BC’s policy and legislative framework for species at risk will support positive conservation outcomes for species at risk.
  1. Socio-economics – Protection and recovery of species at risk will take into account the social and economic interests of BC’s communities.
  1. Flexibility – BC’s approach to protection and recovery of species at risk will be flexible and appropriate to the sector, land tenure, species and level of threat.
  1. Shared responsibility – Programs will be designed to promote the shared responsibilities of all levels of government, First Nations, neighboring jurisdictions, land managers, land owners, resource users and communities to protecting species at risk.
  1. Consultation and engagement – Effective protection of species at risk requires consultation and engagement with other levels of government, First Nations, conservation partners and stakeholders.
  1. Best available information – Decisions related to the management of species at risk will be supported by the best available information and will not be hampered by lack of scientific certainty.
  1. Proceed on a priority basis – Actions to protect and recover species at risk will be prioritized and will consider return on investment to ensure resources are allocated in an efficient manner.
  1. Transparency and openness – The protection of species at risk will operate under a model of transparency and openness, clearly distinguishing between science advice and decision-making.
  1. Voluntary conservation actions – BC’s legislation and policy framework for species at risk will enable and support voluntary conservation action, where possible, to support protection of species at risk.

 

Please provide your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you agree with these principles for the protection of species at risk?
  • Are there any key principles that you would add?

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188 responses to “Topic 1: Principles for the protection of species at risk

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    [-] Nesa7

    Don’t agree with 2, 3 and 7.

    Needs to address specific impacts causing species to become at risk. Needs to acknowledge role of biodiversity in species richness and address increase/sustainability of biodiversity.

    Need to include industry and accountability principle. Must be made clear who is accountable…not just responsible.

    Must promote value of biodiversity….as a sociology economic if going to include that even though it really does not belong in principles.

    Overall very weak principles and no way to measure success….and no real concrete commitment to change the situation by changing our behaviour. Needs major work to be effective.

    Much needed engagement with indigenous because their knowledge will help to reverse the decline in species and conservation efforts.

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    [-] Alex

    For the most part the above nine guiding principles for the protection of species at risk as proposed by the province of BC, look reasonable. However, if we think real progress can be made in slowing the downward spiral of habitat loss and degradation which is driving the species at risk problems, items 2 “Socio-economics” and 3 “Flexibility” will surely continue to derail the protection of species at risk in BC.

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    [-] Krista

    I am concerned with the wording of principle #2 socio-economics because I feel that protecting some species at risk will have socio-economic implications that cannot easily be avoided. We must find a way to overcome socio-economic barriers to protecting species at risk. I am also concerned with the wording of principle #6 and I think it would be appropriate to reference the precautionary principle. I support voluntary action as identified in principle #9, but recognize that voluntary action is sometimes not sufficient and there need to be other tools when voluntary action fails and species declines continue.

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    [-] Juliet

    The socio-economic principle, listed as second on this list, is concerning. The “return on investment” principle determines the prioritization for allocating resources. I am not clear if a species will be valued socio-economically to determine it’s conservation priority, or if this principle means that an economic project (such as development) would take priority over species at risk recovery.

    There are two principles I would add:

    Communication: Species at risk recovery, particularly on private land and particularly on a voluntary basis, requires strong communication about activities that threaten/impact SAR, regulations, mitigation strategies, and the importance of biodiversity.

    Demonstrated leadership: Many organizations and particularly local governments require leadership to demonstrate to planners and others how to incorporate species at risk protection and recovery into their strategies and policies.

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    [-] Bevan

    I do not agree with socio-economic factors being the second principle of species at risk protection. These factors can be addressed at a higher level and weighed against species at risk values, but should not be a primary principle. The importance of recognizing the influence of socio-economic factors can be suitably addressed by the next principle of flexibility, which recognizes that there will be a range of factors that will influence the extent of management actions that can be applied. I think a principle that is missing is enforceability/accountability. There is no mention of any mechanisms to ensure an obligation for species at risk values to be addressed, and consequences for activities that impact populations of species at risk.

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    [-] David

    I agree with all the principles listed but would recommend that Principle 2 include taking into account the impacts on individual stakeholders as the impacts may be quite different than on the overall community or a larger stakeholder group. It will come down to the implementation on individual parcels or land units and the impacts and costs of the recommended BMPs in the action and implementation phases. That requires some level of cost-benefit analysis that provides for the positive outcomes but recognizes that long-term engagement, maintenance and recognition are all paramount to success. Also this should be developed in cooperation with associated and impacted stakeholders and their representatives from the onset not just the NGO community or community groups. On principle 7, this must be weighed against collective benefits. Example would be that instead of focusing BMP strategies to individual priority species that initiatives that can combine a ranking of priority species under a series of select BMPs benefit from a consolidation and simplifying of expectations and actions. There may have a range of positive outcomes for individual species but the likelihood of implementation and stakeholder commitment is much higher. Essentially simplify the process to facilitate stakeholder commitment.

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    [-] MARION

    I am interested in long- term, objectively measurable goals. These principles need to be clearly worded and defined if one is to take them seriously at all. Industrial interests (logging/mining/commercial hunting) should not outweigh ecological and ethical concerns. Wildlife habitat has inherent value and it is time for a cultural shift to acknowledge this fact. BC needs serious and strong provincial species protection legislation- a few catch words won’t be sufficient. A precautinary principle is required to prevent any decision that is not based on sound scientific understanding. At all levels, neutral parties (scientific community) that is -independent from the commercial sector- should be involved in decision making.

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    [-] Debbie

    Although I live in Manitoba, I don’t recognize lines on a map when it comes to the animals and if the wild spaces and inhabitants “belong” to anyone, then they “belong” to everyone. While I would like to leave Chief Seattle’s address in its entirety as my comment, I give you this: “What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts are gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beast, soon happens to the man. All things are connected.” And, the line I quote most often: “Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.”

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    [-] Nancy

    If the species are at risk, then their ecological/species survival needs should take precedence over (not be ‘balanced with’) economic and social values.

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    [-] Tanis

    The Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program would like to offer several considerations for the numbered Principles:
    1) “Positive outcome” is ill defined… we suggest including stronger wording like “protect existing populations from declining, and working to increase populations”.
    2) Socio-economic concerns should be weighted MUCH less than the considerations needed to keep the given species from declining further.
    4) Shared responsibility: as I understand it, besides the 4 species protected under the Wildlife Act, and migratory birds, most At Risk species have little legislative protection if they are not on Federal lands. All species on the BC Red List need to have enhanced provincial protection. Local governments can partner on these initiatives, but they have little expertise, mandate, or capacity to establish regulations for protecting specific species, and they will need provincial guidance and legislative support to help improve their actions. There also needs to be enhanced collaboration across jurisdictional borders to support ecosystem connectivity initiatives that will have a positive effect on At Risk species.
    6) We are concerned that this wording supports the situation that when information is not available, it can be construed as evidence that there is no problem (i.e., if there is a lack of information for an area, it can be interpreted as if there is nothing of concern in this area, and the lack of information can then be used as evidence that a development can proceed, when this may not be true). A lack of information/certainly should trigger decision -makers to err on the side of caution, and result in actions that assume the worst case scenario or result in the greatest protection for the species. A lack of info should also trigger a process to fill the information gaps. It should never be used as evidence for not needing to be concerned.
    9) Voluntary conservation actions are often hampered by the expense and time it takes to go through permitting processes (i.e., pulling invasive weeds and planting native species in riparian zones needs a Section 11 permit, and the funding/time needed for this is often prohibitive). Assistance from the Province to streamline/waive application fees for restoration initiatives would be greatly appreciated.

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    [-] Jeff

    “Principles” without corresponding behaviour(s), that is actions, to support them are anything but ‘principled’.
    “Best science” has declared the Holocene Extinction and Anthropogenic climate change, while this Government pushes a fossil fuel (LNG/methane) ‘economic’ agenda; announces that the Great Bear Rainforest is “protected” whilst supporting and perpetuating ‘trophy’ killing of grizzlies, black bears carrying the “Spirit” (Kermode/white) bear recessive gene ( ‘trophy’ killing – a blatant behavioural symptom of abusive empowerment psyches i.e ‘rape’ culture); promotes open-pen (read tidal water) salmon farms; enables a conflict ensuring BC Wildlife Act and Conservation Officers Service that forgoes proactive ‘enforcement’ of Section 33.1 regarding offences & attractants for a grotesque, reactive “shoot to kill”, ‘legal’ Shoot, Shovel, Shut Up ideology toward any mammal with canines; not to mention radio-collared “Judas” war on wolves in lieu of addressing/curtailing/stopping habitat loss for mountain caribou, etc. to human ‘resource extraction (see clear cut logging effects & loss of Winter feeding range to deer/Roosevelt elk populations Vancouver Is. or Vancouver Island marmot).
    Other species (incl. homo sapiens sapiens) require an immediate ecological “awakening” from this destructive, anthropocentric “socio-economic” cognitive dissonance. Self-absorbed, speciesist greed – the reason all ‘species are at risk’.
    Example: BC homeowner/property taxes i.e. money – 20 acres of critically endangered interior douglas fir ecosystem (prime grizzly bear/ Pacific salmon riparian zone habitat) kept intact – “stewarded”, ensuring the protection of its ecological integrity requires payment of absolute top dollar assessment figures to the BC Government.
    In contrast, to profit from logging off every stick of old growth douglas fir and red cedar on same 20 acres, then covering it with cows & unprotected fruit trees, while shooting every grizzly, wolf, cougar, wolverine, fox, pack rat deemed a “threat to our family” gets one a Free pass avoiding Court & the tax ($) breaks of “farm status”.
    However, this BC Government paid exercise, or process, seeking “feedback” looks good… in ‘principle’.

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    [-] Susan

    Regarding proposed principles for the protect of species at risk in BC:
    If the goal is to protect species, then surely economic interests of a community might have to come second, or depending on what that economic interest is, be moved to a different location to save habitat for a species at risk, for example. I don’t like the phrase “return on investment” when speaking about protecting a species at risk. A species at risk is not something to be bought and sold, it is life, which we have a moral obligation to protect.

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    [-] Archie

    Overall I found the principles to be very broad and general. As they are drafted, they are open to a wide interpretation, debate and subsequent criticism. The inclusion of greater clarity as well as performance measures will ensure a much greater understanding of government’s intent, priorities and ultimately performance on the ground.
    I support the creation of a stand alone provincial Species at Risk Act .
    With regard to the principles themselves, I recommend:
    – the inclusion of the need to balance objectives across the landscape consistent with the broader provincial social, economic and environmental values. These impacts need to assessed both in terms of short term and long term impacts. Adopting a more wholistic review will reduce the likelihood of unforeseen impacts or unintended consequences
    – the inclusion of socio-economic analyses to ensure that citizens of BC understand the true costs of actions and any subsequent impacts, especially where very difficult decisions need to be made;
    – the inclusion of realistic, practical tests to ensure that the citizens understand what is required and the likelihood of success of such actions. Such information could also be used to establish priorities for action;
    – Ongoing monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of species at risks actions
    – “Best available information” needs to be qualified to ensure minimum standards are met to avoid decisions being made based on very limited to no information. In such cases, further information must be collected to ensure science based decisions
    – Multi-species assessments and management must be adopted wherever possible to minimize the current single species approach current in place

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    [-] Julie

    Principles #2 and #3 raise a red flag for me. Although I agree that the economics of communities is very important, I still believe a higher priority is to avoid extirpation and extinction of species. For example, the spotted owl is at the brink of extirpation in BC if not elsewhere as well. This species should still take priority over industry in the specific areas they still survive. Extinction and extirpation should take priority of financial economics. I’m sure if you were to look at the environmental economics of extirpation and extinction it would cost more in the long term over the financial economics.

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    [-] South

    Do you agree with these principles for the protection of species at risk?
    The South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) supports the intent of the principles as laudable and desirable objectives. However the language still leaves room for loopholes, confusion and inaction. Principles 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 are in potential conflict with one another. The SCCP is committed to employing the most recent science and best practices for species at risk recovery. If the province is truly committed to doing the same (undertaking decision making that applies the most up to date information) then it needs to demonstrate more explicitly how it plans to do this. What exactly is meant by “distinguishing between science advice and decision-making?” Does this principal mean if the science dictates a specific course of action but it is not politically palatable the province is off the hook for taking recovery action?

    In some instances there cannot be a balance between species recovery and socio economic considerations. There is a need to clarify exactly what balancing socio-economic considerations and “flexibility” implies. As an example, many species at risk in Canada only occur in BC and only in specific areas of the province. These same areas are under direct pressure from oil, gas and mining, as well as urban and rural development. So if we follow the intent of what the province is proposing then when it comes to a multi-million dollar shopping mall versus an endangered snail, shrew or plant that does not provide any economic value in traditional terms, it seems the shopping mall would win? What this reflects is that conflicts inherent between the principles could result in status quo and actions needed to protect and recover a given species or suite of species may not be achievable because of that.

    What is meant by “priority basis” based on “return on investment?” If one looks at many of the recovery strategies, some species require extensive effort, often in concert with other species at risk. There are significant data gaps and constraints to recovery. Many species will require significant investment for recovery to be deemed successful. Does this mean effort to recover a species will not be undertaken or invested in if it is not profitable to do so? Some regions such as the South Okanagan, South Coast and southeast Vancouver Island bear the majority of species at risk and critical habitat found in BC. Will the weight of costs to be accountable for fulfilling recovery responsibilities mean that budgets and staff in these regions will finally be balanced against this burden of responsibility? If not, then how does the province plan to demonstrate diligent, effective, protection around species at risk and critical habitat protection to the people of these regions? To the citizens of this province? How are these priorities being determined internally and across regions?

    Are there any key principles that you would add?

    1. Demonstrate leadership – Many if not most local land use authorities such as local governments and regional districts are unsure, unwilling or lack capacity to directly address species at risk recovery and critical habitat effective protection on private land. The Province will provide direct and improved guidance to local governments and regional districts on implementation and application of conserving and protecting species at risk.
    2. Take a multi-species, landscape approach – Conservation and recovery of species at risk cannot be done in isolation. Many species share a need for well-connected intact landscape features that cover multiple ecological communities or ecosystems. Many populations and areas of defined or candidate critical habitat cover multiple jurisdictions and legal boundaries.
    3. Consider the long-term view – the recovery of species at risk must take into consideration the issues of long-term changes to the environment due to stressors and cumulative effects such as climate change, natural succession within and across landscapes and the impacts of introduced (exotic, alien, invasive) species.

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    [-] Anne

    #6. “will not be hampered by lack of scientific certainty” I note this important phrase–we must indeed use the Precautionary Principle and take action to preserve species at risk even if the most definitive data is not yet available. Waiting too long to take action will not save these species from extinction.

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    [-] Anne

    Principles are comprehensive; acknowledge the complexity of ecosystems, species & societies. They recognize positive outcomes will only ever be achieved through collaboration, cooperation & a collective responsibility.

    Add a principle around commitment to science & long- term monitoring of SAR & their habitats. Species adaption to changing environments is complex & dynamic; limits of our knowledge/understanding will limit success in protection of SAR.

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    [-] Eva

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the
    environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives
    industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’
    habitat.
    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best
    available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management
    plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional
    ecological knowledge to present an objective view.
    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of
    species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is
    necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm
    may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a
    resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of
    individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Sean

    (1) The inclusion of socio-economics as a prerequisite condition of a species listing makes an implicit value judgement that the extinction of a species is acceptable on the condition of cost. Perhaps this is indeed the way the public feels but it brings up many deep questions regarding the value of biodiversity and life on this planet that should be an explicit conversation in the public sector before it is implemented. Furthermore, if socioeconomic analysis is included it needs to be the best quantitative analysis possible. The analysis which has been included to date in SARA is pathetic in its level of rigour. For instance, many of the less intangible benefits of species (e.g., the intrinsic value of knowing they are around) are not included but is a whole field of economics that deals with placing quantitative dollar value on these sorts of things.
    (2) There should be explicit discussion of habitat protection as a key component of species protection.

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    [-] Kelby

    Species at risk should be a matter informed by science from sound and un-biased sources. The approach should be firm and founded on best practices. The approach should not be unduly influenced by socio-economic needs.

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    [-] Marjorie

    These ground rules seem reasonable.

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    [-] isinipit

    Key principles to add:
    Climate change and its impact to suitable habitat – ecology is changing…
    Human population and cumulative impact – population is increasing and demands on resources are following
    Habitat restoration – promote more restoration

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    [-] David

    These principles all sound OK. As most literature on such matters do. They also seem to miss out on more ecological guiding principles that may be needed.

    We have to make biodiversity a priority in our changing climate, shifting social landscape, and ongoing industrial revolution. Perhaps a principle is needed that the Gov assesses species at risk in context of climate change, and the ecological connections that the species is intertwined in. Too often are species at risk looked at in isolation rather than in their spatial, temporal, and ecological context. Be explicit in your role to protect species within changing climates and ecosystems.

    I would also hesitate and seriously assesses your job to “take into account” Social and economic interests (principle #2). What does that even mean? Social and economic interests are embedded in SAR but should not sway the conservation effort. What degree of lobbying can influence your sector?

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    [-] Haley

    regarding item #6 about Best Available Information – this is all well and good only if governments act on the side of caution and using the precautionary principle. If we don’t have scientific certainty, but there is concern and doubt that available statistics are accurate or complete, then protective action should be the result and open and independant scientific investigation should be supported by government. This is the exact opposite of what has happened with the grizzly bear trophy hunt decisions, and this statement without clear and detailed qualifications would allow such poor decisions to occur.

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    [-] Gillian

    Will socio-economic factors take precedence over the needs of species at risk? The needs of the species must come first.

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    [-] Bronwen

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the
    environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives
    industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’
    habitat.
    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best
    available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management
    plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional
    ecological knowledge to present an objective view.
    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of
    species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is
    necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm
    may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a
    resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of
    individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Bronwen

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the
    environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives
    industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’
    habitat.
    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best
    available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management
    plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional
    ecological knowledge to present an objective view.
    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of
    species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is
    necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm
    may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a
    resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of
    individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized

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    [-] Juliet

    I would add the need for communications about species at risk. In order to get public buy-in, communications about the species, requirements for protection/recovery, and individual actions need to occur.

    I have some concerns about making socio-economics a fundamental principle for protecting species at risk. It is often socio-economic factors that put species at risk. I would not include socio-economic considerations as a key principle for protecting species at risk.

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    [-] Cate

    1) Socio-economics – doesn’t sound like putting conservation first. There are times when we must protect our children, our safety, when threatened even at a cost to our pocket book. The same for species at risk.
    2) Flexibility – sounds like it can be used as excuses for not acting in some cases.
    3) Priority Basis – hmmm, this child can be saved, but my other can’t? How about prioritizing spending to save species and environment over government waste and wooing corporate donations to the party in power?
    Am I angry at governments’ low priority on saving our planet and our future? Definitely frustrated, feeling it’s futile, expecting little from the Liberal government any longer.

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    [-] Terita

    We need to take this seriously because at this rate species-at-risk will become endangered and then either extirpated from an area or worst extinct. We are an expanding economy that also has to remember and keep in mind, flora and fauna species. If the provincial government does not allow these species to have a refuge from industry, they will never be able to survive and reproduce. There NEEDS to be a stronger piece of legislation in BC for these species. There are only 3 species that are considered endangered in BC, the burrowing owl, American white pelican and Vancouver Island marmot. What about the spotted owl? There are <12 breeding pairs in BC. I think that is an endangered species. These species-at-risk play such crucial roles in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Create more jobs in conservation, that is just the direction our world is going in. Jobs in industry is not sustainable for the future of people, wildlife and plant species.

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    [-] Terita

    We need to take this seriously because at this rate species-at-risk will become endangered and then either extirpated from an area or worst extinct. We are an expanding economy that also has to remember and keep in mind, flora and fauna species. If the provincial government does allow these species to have a refuge from industry, they will never be able to survive and reproduce. There NEEDS to be a stronger piece of legislation in BC for these species. There are only 3 species that considered endangered in BC, the burrowing owl, American white pelican and Vancouver Island marmot. What about the spotted owl? There are <12 breeding pairs in BC. I think that is an endangered species. These species-at-risk play such crucial roles in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Create more jobs in conservation, that is just the direction our world is going in. Jobs in industry is not sustainable for the future of people, wildlife and plant species.

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    [-] Islands_Trust

    We generally agree with the proposed principles.
    We note that socio-economic interests for communities are included as a principle for the protection of species at risk. We commend this principle but suggest that it be limited to a recognition that compensation may be required in some instances to ensure fairness when species at risk values are being protected. For clarity, we recommend that the protection of species at risk should be the highest priority but that it should be carried out fairly.

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    [-] Byron

    The so-called “balance” of economic and environmental issues clearly has not worked, and will not work. We on this planet have past the point where the environment can be “last” no matter what the outcome. Individuals and corporations getting rich by destroying our home is deplorable, but that is how such people think and it is the responsibility of government to put the citizens in their entirety ahead of private gain. A clean environment means healthier human beings. The fact that commercial interests lose is just too bad. Making profit at the expense of our home and health cannot ever be justified.

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    [-] joe

    Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk has been a disaster. Industrial interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.

    For example, restrictions have been put in place by the BC government to limit the amount of forest that can be set aside to protect endangered species, like the spotted owl. Changes to forest protection rules are to result in zero loss of timber to the logging industry. This is no way to save an endangered species – and consequently BC’s spotted owls have declined to less than a dozen remaining in the wild. Shameful.

    The BC government has given it’s go-ahead to Taseko’s New Prosperity mine project, even though this mine would impact the at-risk population of South Chilcotin grizzly bears.

    From marbled murrelets to mountain caribou to goshawks the story has been the same – industries that donate generously to government re-election campaigns get to continue to push BC species towards extinction.

    BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits, or political donations. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC. BC is one of two provinces in Canada that does not have an endangered species law, even though BC has more species and habitats than any other province. Such a law would allow citizens to take the government to court when they refuse to act.

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    [-] Zoe

    Decrease our countries’ dependency on Fossil Fuels. Period.

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    [-] Mariko

    I think these principles are far too broad and instead of focusing on ways in which species at risk will be helped, I think it opens the door to exactly the opposite.

    Habitat is the biggest threat to any species at risk… that goal should be expressed in these principles, as should overall ecosystem health as the two go hand in hand.

    Honestly, this reminds me of the amendment to the Parks Act… which was basically opening the door to make it easier to change park boundaries.

    “support positive conservation outcomes” … Shouldn’t the goal ultimately be to reach healthy sustainable populations of species at risk?

    By taking into account the socio-economic interests of BC’s communities you are opening the door to industry… really unpopular industries. I think what you mean to say is that the the ecological, economic, and inherent value of a species at risk will be taken into consideration when determining a course of action.

    Ix-nay number three. It’s stupid.

    “lack of scientific certainty”…. How about we do everything we can to ensure that the science is certain. If the available information denotes uncertainty…. maybe we should get more information.

    Transparency and openness I agree on… nice!

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    [-] Julie

    No more trophy hunting of our precious wildlife. No more wolf culling. No more pipelines or tankers. No LNG. Protect us from these known hazards thank you!

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    [-] Carrie

    At the rate we are going, all habitat and the animals within them are at risk. All lives matter, not just the “at risk” species. In protecting one you will protect many others but this is not the answer. A total preservation of the animals welfare and their environment needs to be implemented NOW!!!!!
    BC is world renowned for its beauty, let’s keep it that way. Let’s be proactive and save and protect what we still have left. Let’s NOT become known for not doing enough to preserve it, all of it, right now while we still have the opportunity to do so.

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    [-] Joan

    A positive outcome for species at risk cannot be achieved unless unbiased research is utilized to obtain data. It seems that non-profit environmental organizations are doing the work government should be carrying out. For example, the government statistics in relation to bear, wolf and moose do not appear to be valid or reliable. This is a government that allows the wholesale slaughter of black bears and that supports killing for fun – particularly grizzly bears and other species such as goats. In 2005 only 2% of the BC population were hunters: http://bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/BusinessIndustry/FisheriesAquacultureHuntingTrapping.aspx .

    While this number may have risen, in a total population approaching 5 M, surely the government should be placing more emphasis on the protection of habitat and the need to respect wildfire and the value that sensitive ecosystems can bring to the overall quality of life in BC. This is borne out by studies that show bear viewing brings more value to the economy that killing bears.
    Past consultation has been poor – for example comments on increased limits on bear hunting and the wolf cull did not function property. Even this opportunity to comment is awkward and not particularly user-friendly.

    What is meant by voluntary conservation? Conservation officers have essentially become large animal pest control. No point in calling them unless you want an animal killed. How does that foster conservation? How is it that vast tracts of land, such as the Peace, are left with so few officers to patrol and enforce compliance? Leaving conservation up to individuals would be a complete abdication of responsibility and only confirm that government is moving away from protecting wildlife and ecosystems at risk/ What limits will be placed on municipalities to meet minimum standards for protecting species at risk. Langford is an example where there has been wholesale development without any evidence of a solid response to environmental degradation. BC appears to be moving to a model where industry rules and species at risk come second.

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    [-] Zoe

    Yes!!

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    [-] Renata

    Too broad not specific enough. And why are your enraged animals not including I’m surprised wolves are not in the list what about kermode bears beavers killer whales beluga whales

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    [-] Sharon

    I don’t agree with these principles. Species at risk don’t get a second chance when their habitat is destroyed due to social and economic priorities. Once a species is gone, they’re gone. The flexibility principle is flawed because it already places land tenure above the species, which, unfortunately is not that flexible when threatened with extinction.

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    [-] Myrna

    We are concerned for the future of endangered /at risk southern killer whales (orca). We want Salish Sea habitat and Orca food –salmon–to be protected. We expect sewage treatment for Victoria (hopefully started soon), and no more bitumen-loaded tankers and condensate from Vancouver. Aquaculture –fish farms along wild salmon migration routes are a risk to wild salmon.

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    [-] Jennifer

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the environment and species at risk.

    Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’ habitat.

    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management plan.

    Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science
    and traditional ecological knowledge to present an objective view.

    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of species a higher priority than corporate profits.

    Adopting a “precautionary principle” is necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur. Respecting wild animals
    and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a resource for people, is currently lacking within policy.
    Further recognizing the importance of individual animals within their population
    is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Sue

    I am all for any protection for species especially those “at risk” as well as protecting their habitats. I would also like to see specifically a complete ban on “Trophy Hunting” of all our magnificent creatures including Bears, grizzly – as well as a complete ban on wolf culls… Here is my reference http://www.yellowstonepark.com/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem/

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    [-] TM

    The nine principles do not go far enough in their language.
    1. ‘Will provide positive conservation outcomes for all native species whether they are at risk or not. Using a numbers game to manage at risk species is counter-productive because ecosystems work in harmony.
    2. This principle as it is written, undermines the first principle. There is always a positive social and economic benefit to protecting and recovering all native species whether they are at risk or not. Studies have shown a direction correlation between good mental and phyiscal health and people spending time in nature. Nature provides clean air and water.
    3. This principle does not go far enough and should exclude sector and land tenure. It also should include appropriate to scientific knowledge of the ecosystem supporting the species at risk.
    5. This principle does not go far enough in that education should be included. The BC government can take a role in educating the public about how to protect species at risk, what species need protection etc. Tax dollars could be better spent on this important education instead of advertising for the BC Ferry Corporation , for an example. We all know how to travel between the islands and the mainland.
    6. Best available information is very important but management is the wrong word to use and should be replaced with protection of species at risk and include prevention of further species becoming at risk.
    7. This principle is flawed in protecting a species at risk because to use a return on investment as a rule of measure is only effective when the species has been given a monetary value. Actions should be prioritized based on scientific knowledge of the species and the ecosystem which supports it. If more resources are needed to accomplish the protection and recovery then tax dollars should be allocated. As there is more destruction of natural habitat from development, agriculture, industry, etc. more resources will be needed. Educating the public may lessen the cost.
    8. This principle does not go far enough. The model of transparency should be a partnership between scientists and government or independent panels assigned by government.
    In the end more funding for research at post secondary and non- profit organizations and educating the public is going to go a long way in protection of species at risk.

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    [-] Chloe

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the
    environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives
    industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’
    habitat.
    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best
    available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management
    plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional
    ecological knowledge to present an objective view.
    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of
    species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is
    necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm
    may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a
    resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of
    individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] John

    The principles laid out are very broad and do not deal meaningfully with the need to recover species at risk. BC needs a stand alone Species at Risk Act that is enforceable and not subject to case specific interventions by the politics of the day.
    1) The “positive outcomes” must be clearly stated as recovery of species and include scientifically rigorous population targets (minimum viable population) where feasible. Species should be determined as are the federal species through use of COSEWIC listing. Mapping and protection of critical habitats must be mandatory. Best Management Practices(BMPs) for each species should be developed and made mandatory for operations on all lands and waterways. Significant penalties for actions that impede species recovery should be legislated.
    2) Socio-economic factors must NOT be the determining factor in regard to recovery of species. These factors are transitory whereas loss of species is not. Best Management Practices should be enforceable. Mandatory reporting of SAR should be included in all industrial permitting. Recreational impacts on SAR should be addressed through education and enforceable regulation (The failure to date of voluntary regulation of motorized access in mountain caribou habitat is a case in point.)
    3) Flexibility should be focussed on enhancing the opportunity for recovery, not on finding ways to limit recovery actions to accommodate development.
    4) The responsibility ultimately rests with the province. Appropriate authority must be given to provincial representatives to enforce habitat protections and BMPs. Land owners, managers, users and communities must be held responsible by the province.
    5) Consultation must be open and transparent with recognition that species recovery must remain the primary objective.
    6) Best available information should be made use of, but the precautionary principle should always be invoked where questions arise.
    7) Significant work needs to go into a prioritization framework. Resources need to be allocated in an efficient manner based on recovery priorities, not on socio-economic demands.
    8) An open record on information and decision making must be fully available to the public.
    9) A policy framework based on voluntary action is doomed to failure. BMPs and critical habitat must be enshrined in policies that are enforceable.

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    [-] Lynn

    I agree that we can do much better to protect species at risk and every other species

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    [-] Dr.

    Protecting eco-systems is a vast topic. We believe in a sound approach where impact from economic lobbies are understood and not under-estimated.

    As an example, I live in Sunshine Valley, a beautiful wetlands past the mountains around Hope that serves as a beautiful and most needed eco-system for many species that migrate by and reproduce there.
    However, in the last few years, due to the lack of regulations or surveillance by enforcing authorities, the place has been trashed and ruined by a growing number of ATVs whose owners coming from Vancouver and its suburbs have shown no consideration nor ethics regarding the damage their cause by allowing themselves to roam anywhere they wish, including running in delicate streams (which I believed is forbidden).
    This should be addressed.

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    [-] Greg

    Hi Dr. you may have reported your concerns to the province. If not or even if you have, I’d recommend you contact the following about the issues you’ve described and also take photos and/or a video of the current situation and any ‘at the time’ infractions you witness. I’d also suggest some images that track changes overtime (e.g., track key areas overtime as evidence). All off road vehicles should clearly display an ICBC number plate or sticker so one can identify who they are. If you can get this identification (pictures worth a thousand words) then the authorities can take action.

    “Anyone who witnesses a contravention of the Off-Road Vehicle Act is encouraged to call the Natural Resource Violations hotline at 1 844 NRO-TIPS (1 844 676-8477)” (source: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/orv/)

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    [-] Vincent

    Yes, I agree with these principles for the protection of species at risk.

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    [-] Warren

    This isn’t so complicated! Just adopt the COSEWIC recommendations and be done with it! And please, don’t make this process voluntary. You know that results in omissions, recalcitrance, and lip-service. Hopefully those are not outcomes you wish?!

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    [-] Pia

    A cohesive protection of wildlife and habitat is crucial and must be our primary consideration rather than corporate profit.

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    [-] Onni

    Adopting a “precautionary principle” is vital to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur. ‘Consultation and engagement’ are public relations con games to give the appearance of doing so while ignoring citizen and First Nations concerns. The grizzly bear trophy hunt and shooting wolves from helicopters because government approval for roads endangered caribou are reprehensible examples that wild animals have no protection in a province governed for corporate interests.

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    [-] Carol

    Principle 2 is very problematic. The protection of species at risk and their habitats should be based on ecological principles and the inherent value of wildlife and their habitats. Economic interests of forestry, mining, oil and gas exploration, and other industrial, commercial and residential developments can have too much influence over decision makers and the results are a negative outcome for species.
    I would add in the precautionary principle approach. Humans should not presume that we can mitigate the effects of species loss or that we can recreate habitats and ecosystems. Ecosystems are complex and the best approach is to use caution when there is the potential for harm, especially when scientific evidence is lacking. The burden of scientific proof that there will be no negative effects of their activities should fall on industry, otherwise, the precautionary principle must apply. The precautionary principle promotes a preventive approach to protection of species. Protection activities should take place before species become blue-listed, red-listed or listed as at-risk or endangered.
    There is no mention of taking an ecosystem approach to protecting habitats of species at risk. Species are best protected when we protect the integrity and balance of their habitats.
    It is unclear how actions to protect will be prioritized. On what basis will the government make such decisions and what is meant by return on investment?
    Finally, the government should not rely on voluntary conservation actions. Industry and developers cannot be relied upon to voluntarily protect species. Strong legislation is required. BC needs a provincial endangered species legislation.

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    [-] Judith

    BC needs to provide long-term, stable funding to protect species at risk and support proper enforcement and monitoring of a provincial endangered species law. As BC citizens, fortunate enough to live in this amazing province, it is our responsibility to act as stewards for the land and all the species that inhabit it. We need to consider the long-term effects of protecting and nurturing this essential part of our environment. All species need and deserve our ongoing support.

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    [-] Judy

    Socio-economic considerations need to be secondary to preserving the environment and species at risk! These things are irreplaceable.

    Industrial interests like logging and mining should not have power to negatively impact species’ habitat. Long term assessment, not short-term goals based on the best available information , is needed for sound management.

    We need a super strong provincial endangered species legislation that prioritizes survival of the species over corporate profits!

    Tradicitonal ecological knowledge and evidence-based science should be the basis for long term decision making.

    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur.

    Policy should reflect that we recognize wild animals and their environment as having value on their own, not just as a resource for people. Recognizing
    individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups.
    The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Steven

    World-wide, animal species have been going extinct at 500-times the natural rate over the last millennium, and this has dramatically accelerated over the last century with the rapid expansion of the human population and the number of domestic animals and farming to service this growth. British Columbia has been rather uniquely blessed with an incredible diversity of fauna and flora due to its vast size and wide range of habitats. This has also been, in part, due to the ruggedness of most of the province, which has acted as a barrier to human incursion. However, with plans for further urbanization of the province and creation of delivery routes and port expansions, this will further endanger the wildlife in the interior and on our coast. The wildlife in B.C. is one of the greatest national treasures in our country, so I am surprised to learn that the BC Government does not actually have a well-conceived wildlife protection plan, but I welcome actions to develop better protection guidelines and laws.

    From a political standpoint, it is not hard to fathom why social-economics considerations have been included high on the agenda of principles for formulating Species at Risk policies. However, the wildlife in B.C. has just as much moral right to flourish as humans, and as a just society, this should be the principal guiding factor for sustainable development of our shared land. This should triumph over any short-term economic gains that benefit a small portion of our population. This should also be true regardless of whether private or public lands are involved. While it important to encourage ecological practices by our population through public education, this will only be taken seriously by more ambivalent individuals with laws that have severe penalties.

    Choosing which of the endangered plants and animals are at greatest risk and prioritizing their protection seems sensible. However, more scientific research to identify these creatures and understand why they are so sensitive to going extinct is sorely needed. Therefore, while we should develop wildlife protection policies based on the best available information, we should also have a plan to get better information by more actively supporting scientific research in this regard. Ideally, any actions should be evidence-based.

    Mining, forestry, fishing and agriculture have traditionally been the most important industries in B.C. and have provided many jobs. However, these types of harvesting activities are of decreasing economic return as the world becomes increasingly automated and technologically advanced as well as globalized for food production. Moreover, forestry, the meat industry and fishing have already had a devastating effect on wildlife here and abroad, especially in the oceans where more than 5% of all known fish species are considered as endangered. A complete collapse of the wildlife fishing industry world-wide has been predicted by 2048 with current fishing practices.

    While B.C. might actually benefit from global warming, this is predicted to have a much greater negative impact in the most densely populated countries in the world, where the local wildlife is under even greater threat. Plans to produce pipeline for oil and natural gas and routes for delivery of coal from B.C. will ultimately produce more CO2 emissions and greater risks for environmental disasters. Already, B.C. coal produces more green-house gas emissions than the Alberta tar-sands. Therefore, a B.C. policy for wildlife protection should consider not only how private- and government-funding energy, silvaculture, agriculture and fishing activities affect animal and plant life in our province, but also country-wide and world-wide. It is critical to consider the impact of these traditional industries on the sustainability of the natural environment into the far future for human generations to come and the health of all animals that have a moral right to co-exist with us.

    Finally, I wonder if singling out particular species as endangered and affording them special protections is really the best strategy. The fact that some animal species are observed to be at risk for extinction is probably a sign for a much greater problem. Large, interconnected parks and land reserves of relatively undisturbed forests and grasslands should be planned that allows for the unfettered movement of wildlife for their livelihood. In this way, even those species that are endangered that we have little knowledge of can be afforded some added protection.

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    [-] Michael

    I completely agree with the principles stated here. I wish to add just one environmental principle. British Columbia’s environment and ecosystems take priority above all. On a personal note, I am most pleasantly surprised to discover this website, given this current government’s absolutely abysmal record on the environment and protecting and saving our most beautiful, ancient and critically ill Mother Earth! As far as I and any truly intelligent British Columbian, Canadian and world citizen is concerned, this government is one freaking disaster from the get go, in bed as it is with Big Oil and huge multinational planet killing corporations that do not care about anything except money! Thank you.

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    [-] Dr.

    Beautifully expressed. But how many of our neighbor citizen share this vision. Just look around you in any RV camp to witness the zillions of stupid (pardon me) ATV owners who trash every unspoiled earth around them, pollute with smell, noise and dust, instead of riding a bike, which would be better for their health and the planet.
    I was explained regulations would be hard to pass because of the very profitable booming ATV business in Canada and the power of the lobbies who represent this industry.

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    [-] Monique

    It seems as if Principle #1 stands alone. If subsequent principles were expected to be supportive, they do not; the complete policy is destined to fail. What contradicting ideas! Phrases such as “social and economic interests”; “will be flexible”; “shared responsibilities”; “return on investment”; imply that protection of endangered species remains a juggling act. Enough! Species at risk need commitment. Period.

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    [-] Monique

    This is Monique again, after the rant. The province must look at every angles of an issue, we expect nothing less. As a humble resident of the northern part of our province, I treasure that my environment is mostly unspoiled, yet am aware of the debates and confrontations that arise in our communities when issues arise that will bring about land use.
    Decision-making must continue to be a dynamic process of review and action, each step allowing for a realistic analysis of the ‘worst case scenario” at both end of spectrum: from the perspective of those who seek to assault the environment and from the perspective of Nature itself, its species at risk.
    There is no “one size fits all” solution. Each project must be evaluated on its own. Therefore we must elaborate on #7. Perhaps those discussions relating to the impact of decisions at both end of the spectrum must be public events. With an s.

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    [-] Ian

    Landowners are “responsible” parties in some senses. There needs to be care taken to ensure that regulations are not imposed on landowners in individual cases without consultation or the opportunity for a response on the part of the landowner. Well meaning comments by those with no real responsibility or investment can impose unrealistic requirements on land owners, who, by and large, are supportive of species at risk actions. Having requirements imposed on one does little to engender the cooperation that is necessary to make sure such initiatives succeed.

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    [-] Des

    Do not overweight socio-economic factors. any company or pro development gov’t can say the project is too important for economic reasons, so bye bye endangered species. We need to value other species as much as we do our own. Scientific evidence even if it only points to likelihoods or probabilities needs to be heavily relied on. It should trump “flexibility” and “voluntary” conservation action. Species at risk laws need teeth — fines and enforcement; the previous terms suggest typical non committed, gutless, Canadian environmental regulations and laws.

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    [-] Judy

    Must have a base line of we will not allow species to go extinct/extirpated. This means principle 1 is way too weak; principles 2, 7 have undue emphasises on economics. FRPA needs to be changed to ensure harvesting development will not unduly impact red or blue listed species and that on identified critical red and blue listed habitat, sufficient connectivity and OGMAs WHAs are put in to ensure we don’t hurt habitat. Fixing up problems is currently the only tool we have in FRPA besides the scarce use of GAR orders. We need more preventive measures in legislation, especially FRPA . “Adequately manage and conserve’ comes to mind. As well as the ability to refuse cutting permits.

    Also bring back ‘green up’ requirements. Its crazy we are worried about moose–once thought the most resilient species out there. Green up makes defacto connectivity.
    Principle 9 appears off base. Government is the land holder and needs to take concrete actions on public land to ensure public good of adequate population levels. Then private helps.
    Yes principle 7 proceed on priority basis. But we need more govt staffing on this. Too many species are declining even beyond species at risk–goshawk, moose, fisher, caribou.

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    [-] Ann

    I do agree with these principles. I would add that economic factors are not to be viewed as a primary objective or consideration when determining principles for the protection of species at risk. Species at risk should include habitat and plants as well as animals and birds.

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    [-] Frances

    I received an email from the BC SPCA regarding their comments to this matter regarding the provincial endangered species. Their submission is very insightful, I expect. As a resident of BC and a citizen who is very concerned about this issue, I would like to express a support for the SPCA’s submission. We cannot be thoroughly knowledgeable in everything, and as a person who is not an expert in this area, I wish to refrain from offering any commentary that may jeopardize this initiative to help and protect those species at risk. However, I do want want to be counted! I endorse the BC SPCA.

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    [-] Sonia

    Need to define the terms used, e.g. does “return on investment” include wildlife or habitat restoration? Principles must include value statement that prioritizes wildlife at risk and the environment ABOVE resource exploitation. Also strict comittment to evidence-based decision making, which means investing in evidence-gathering and consideration PRIOR to making a decision. Last, need to add strong language to hold individuals and corporations accountable for any harm or negligent actions that could potentially harm species at risk, even indirectly. This will necessarily entail adding a principle that pledges to ensure adequate funding to research, monitor and enforce protection measures.

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    [-] Steeve

    Socioeconomic priorities should not take over the long term preservation of species. The long term viability of our ecosystems is a lot more important than any short term economic goals. We should always remember that nature is providing us with whatever we need to live and all the rest of what we create and fabricate too!! Nature can live without us but not us without nature. It’s an uncomfortable truth but a truth nonetheless!

    Consultation is nothing more than lip service if there is no REAL input in the final plan and decision. There has to be some sort of mechanism for representing the ordinary people and their interests. Most people want the environment healthy and they should be given a voice in deciding what to do to get there.

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    [-] Joanne

    Providing a high level of priority to socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk really leads to the consideration that protective measures are in many cases not actually managing the species at risk, but rather managing their impact on the economic resources they may be affecting. That is not to say that socio-economic considerations should not be relevant, but need to be more equitably deployed.
    BC does need a strong endangered species law. In light of being transparent, we should also acknowledge when we cannot do something, or measures are unlikely to succeed due to other pressures. Cumulative effects assessments need to be honest. If effects or risk to a SAR are only measured in light of what is currently legal, then if that legal tool is broken (like say, some FRPA biodiversity objectives), then we are likely to end up with a broken assessment outcome.

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    [-] Norine

    The short-term goals and action plan process founded upon the proposed principles is deeply flawed. What is needed is a process that is long term and that puts the protection of endangered species before short-term economic gains.

    At present, the provincial government considers industrial projects on a one-by-one basis and refuses to consider what the cumulative effects of numerous industries and other human activities have on a given environment. Furthermore, the notion of making decisions based on best available information is ludicrous, lazy, and short-sighted to say the least. Decisions should be made on the side of caution, rather than expediency. Science should not be cast aside because industrial lobbyists desire to push their jaded interests through without due diligence by those entrusted to safeguard the rights and needs of all human and non- human species that rely upon a given ecosystem.

    One of the proposed principles suggests that the BC government would share responsibility for the protection of endangered species with special interest groups, such as First Nations and affected community organizations. What would this shared responsibility look like in action? Does this mean that all involved parties would have equal voice and voting rights in decisions? Or does it simply mean that the government seeks to legislate blame on other parties when things go awry, after denying them the democratic rights that the concept of shared responsibility is founded upon.

    An Act written on the proposed principles obviously seeks to protect the interests of those with power and influence over the rights and freedoms of the citizens of this province and the very species such an Act should seek to protect!

    I sincerely hope that this hard-to-find forum is not considered to be the sole reflection of public input into this critical piece of legislation. I am not sure when the invitation for input was first opened up, nor do I know the extent to which the Ministry went to in order to seek our input. What I do know is that today is the first time I heard of this opportunity to speak up – 5 short days before the forum is closed! My post barely scratches the surface of the concerns that I, and no doubt thousands of other British Columbians have. In the spirit of transparency, please post when and through what media sources your Ministry sought public consultation on this topic. Please post your response here so that others may read it as well. Thank you.

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    [-] Moderator

    Thanks for your comment and feedback. This consultation was launched on October 19, 2016. To publicize the consultation, the Ministry issued a News Release province-wide (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016ENV0055-002024) and distributed information through social media including Twitter (#BCSpeciesatRisk) and the Government’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment). On November 23, we published an information bulletin as a reminder (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016ENV0063-002477). On launch day and over the last 5 weeks, we have also contacted Stakeholder groups directly asking them to join the online discussion and promote to their membership. This, and all other government consultations, are also listed on govTogetherBC (https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/) From govTogetherBC, you can search for additional consultations that might interest you and view the results of previous consultations. We do our best to get the word out about all consultations, but after all the above activities, we still rely on news outlets to pick up new launches and word of mouth to build awareness.

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    [-] Christine

    Clear management options and actions: Identify a suite of management options and conservation and or mitigation options for proponents and decision makers keeping available the proposal of unique actions.

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    [-] Jody

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’ habitat.
    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional ecological knowledge to present an objective view.
    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups. The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Christina

    I agree with all of these. Conservation of species at risk should be a top priority.
    The thing that I would add to this list is spreading the word, launch advertising campaigns so that people are informed.

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    [-] P

    I am all in favour of protecting species at risk whether on private or public land and especially in parks and preserves. I think that human activity is the most dangerous obstacle to saving our planet. We are overpopulating our planet and crowding out innocent creatures!

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    [-] Phyllis

    I believe we should protect all endangered species in B.C. & if this is to be accomplished you need to have support from a large contingent of people from everywhere not only in B.C. Why don’t you have a simple way to allow people to show their support as they do with Friends of the Earth or Change.org, or Dr. without Borders, Well.org, Greenpeace, etc. You will only accomplish change in protection with numbers. Your format is too complicated to encourage response from people.

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    [-] Lynda

    Socio-economic equity needs to not only take the welfare of current generations into account, but that of future generations. The extinction of species threatens the viability of the planet as a home for humanity and ethics requires that we value all life forms.
    Best available information should be replaced by the precautionary principle.

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    [-] Jana

    I do not believe that leaving conservation to be a voluntary act and to the discretion of economic interest is sufficient. We need strong legislative protections of habitat and species.

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    [-] Peter

    I agree with these principles as a guide in decision making. I have a real concern about the trend towards wildlife exclusion fencing to mitigate, wildlife-human interactions . This is a quick fix solution with long term consequences that impact biodiversity. One more principle that could be added is that we must understand that biodiversity is in constant flux, and we have to understand that human intervention to maintain the status quo results in wasted resources. However we have to always consider if human actions are negatively impacting biodiversity. I would have to agree its very complicated.

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    [-] Lenore

    As a longtime government employee, natural resource technician, I witnessed many attempts to play god with the environment. When we expressed doubts and worry about new treaments, we were assured they were scientific and needed and would be a benefit. Then just a few years later, that thinking would be thrown out and some new idea would be the latest and best. One example – scarification became site degradation in a blink.

    In my area, bike trails and golf course fences have all but decimated critical badger habitat and corridors. I believe that unless we care for animals as individuals, we are pretty much doomed. The cruel killing of wolves and destruction of family groups to save caribou is wrong. The idea we can “protect” a species by destroying other animals is unethical.
    The current version of “consultation and engagement” with stakeholders has a critical flaw – all citizens are stakeholders,
    People who work in animal rescue, rehabilitation, culture-based tourism, non-consumptive users like photographers, children, walkers, readers and people who appreciate and value the natural world are never considered stakeholders. Individual animals will suffer by this traditional approach to conservation. And, most of all, individual animals are stakeholders.
    We need to move toward the new science of “compassionate conservation”.
    As an introduction, read this page on the BC SPCA website.
    http://www.spca.bc.ca/animal-issues/wildlife/issues/compassionate-conservation.html?referrer=https://www.google.ca/
    “The principles of Compassionate Conservation include respecting wild animals for their inherent value not just as a resource for people and recognizing the importance of individual animals within their population as they provide stability for groups.”
    UBC has an Animal Welfare program and they are part of the Compassionate Conservation
    http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/centre-compassionate-conservation/about-us/what-compassionate
    Compassionate conservation considers animals as individuals, not merely as objects or metrics to be traded off for the good of populations, species or biodiversity.
    A paradigm shift in our approach to other animals is vital because of what we now know about the cognitive and emotional capacities of other animals and their ability to suffer (sentience).
    No more killing in the name of conservation.

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    [-] Trevor

    I agree with these principles, but only if they’re not listed in order of priorty. If otherwise, then items 2 and 3 should be near the bottom, particularly in cases where BC has the sole or complete jurisdictional repsonsibility for the welfare of the species in question. On that note, you should in my view add two additional principles: first to the effect that recovery plans should be prioritized according to demonstrated urgency; and second that positive outcomes should be positive outcomes only insofar as they are long-term fixes, and not mere temporary bandaids that postpone the day of reckoning to the indefinite future. Obviously by long-term, I don’t mean ‘forever’ – climate change makes that impossible – but rather in intervals measured in human generations.

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    [-] Jenefer

    Number 6 is an important point. Up until now management decisions in regards to culls of animals (Grey Wolves) rather than protecting habitat for Mountain Caribou have been haphazard and immoral, as well as a serious lack of considering science in the fisheries department to protect habitat (public waters) for fish safe passage i.e., (allowing Fish Farms to devastate our wild fish populations) etc, etc.

    These and many more fish, and or wildlife issues have lacked scientific certainty, and this is extremely irresponsible management on the Provincial Governments part. Protecting old archaic, dirty energy industries with vested interests at the expense of our iconic wildlife needs to be balanced, and must follow the unbiased science, not dirty energy interests.

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    [-] Susan

    There seems to be a a lot of ‘loopholes’ here that would facilitate whatever business interest you deem to be more important than the species at risk. That is very disappointing.

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    [-] Norine

    You are so right!

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    [-] Gillian

    I agree with all the principles. Please put them into practice as soon as possible. The World Wildlife Fund released an alarming report last month predicting that the planet will lose two thirds of it’s bio-diversity by 2020. Humans are part of that bio-diversity. We are part of nature. If we take care of it, it will take care of us. PLEASE ACT NOW!

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    [-] Ron

    Many of our remarkable species are disappearing at an alarming rate. The principals set out above are a great beginning to slowing this heartbreaking trend. It is not necessary that the principals are perfect. They are balanced, well considered and something British Columbians will be proud of. Let’s get this process moving to protect species at risk. You have the support of tens of thousands of taxpayers, our children and grandchildren. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

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    [-] Mariah

    Biodiversity and species (other than humans) have inherent value and should be protected even if there is a cost to the economy and jobs. Species should be seen as being part of an ecosystem and not an individual issue that can be ignored if it does not align with economic goals. I do not agree with point #2. And Point #4 sounds like the government is passing off it’s responsibility. It’s important to engage others, but the government should take full responsibility for ensuring species at risk are protected. I would like to see another principle added that states that species at risk are important and they their interests and habitat will be protected.

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    [-] Elaine

    One of the principles of the policies should be to provide protection for incidental take of a species or accidental damage of critical habitat. By removing the threat of penalties and fines, we can create a positive atmosphere for landowners to learn about the species rather than fear the identification of one on their property. Providing programs and support for adoption of beneficial management practices may also encourage landowner involvement in the species/habitat protection.

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    [-] David

    I fully support maintenance of and recovery of species at risk in BC, which may require economic hardships for resource extraction, and economic costs to industry. Climate change is already a reality, and where possible, we need to maintain plants and animals in a way that helps to enable us to survive on earth during the next 1000 years. I worked for 25 years as a habitat biologist for the Province of BC. I am encouraged to see that this issue is still considered important.

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    [-] Patty

    Protection of habitat for species at risk has to be considered before economic interests. People can adapt, and industry has no right to destroy habitat and special is that will never recover.

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    [-] Judy

    The number of Black Bears which have to be destroyed by B.C. Conservation Officers each year on private land, and within town limits, is sickening. This legislation we are discussing needs to include all species, not just those “at risk”. Every species deserves protection. There needs to be more research put in to ways to re-locate Black Bears effectively, and a greater budget put in to Wildlife Conservation & Biology programs. We all have to learn how to co-exist. Electric fencing around gardens, orchards, and even entire municipalities, needs to become common. More Conservation Officers need to be hired to assist the public with the shift toward co-existence, rather than the current model which simply destroys Bears.

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    [-] Norine

    Greater numbers of conservation officers in the field and other water/ground/aerial environmental monitoring systems in non-urban areas are essential. The current Ministry is too top heavy. Most of those making decisions that impact our entire province live in Vancouver or Victoria, where they remain well-insulated against the burgeoning cumulative devastation caused by the (mostly foreign) industries that they perpetually give the green flag to.

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    [-] Juniper

    Why is conservation voluntary? Shouldn’t it be required?

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    [-] Judy

    Broader Wildlife Act Enforcement in our beautiful wilderness is needed! As an artist, teacher and mother of three, I watch environmental issues and worry about the future immensely. B.C. needs to preserve more habitat for our precious wildlife, slow down on industrial/resource extraction/development, live greener lives within our cities, and stop trying to keep up with the power and water demands from our southern neighbours. We are a unique province with some of the last true and huge wilderness areas in the world. We must be forward-thinking and tough enough to withstand the usual pressures of a growing population. B.C people know this deep in their hearts, and yes, of course they want jobs, but they also want to protect their awesome and dwindling wild life and wild places. Create more tax breaks and incentives for people to live simpler, environmentally friendly lives. The jobs and lifestyles of the future lie in sustainable living, not resource extraction.

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    [-] Linda

    Yes, I agree with the principles for the protection of all species at risk. BC needs a strong endangered species law – one that is based on science and will protect critical habitat.

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    [-] Judy

    Principle 1 is a no-brainer, but it should be followed by principle 6–action needs to be determined by scientifically defined needs, with more money being allocated to improve the levels of cernatinty. Transparency is important. We must ensure the habitat that is necessary regardless of ownership.

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    [-] Rod

    My comments and feedback about principles are not in order of principles stated above in web site, nor does it reflect order of priority.

    1. Legislation still seems voluntary or weak from a regulatory perspective. More regulatory teeth required by Province in SARA legislation to ensure minimum compliance on the ground by competing agencies, sectors, private land owners and other stakeholders. What is the minimum level of effort required on the ground by private landowners and what is Province doing to lead by example? Don’t expect local government to ask or demand additional protection for SARA above and beyond existing municipal regulations if Provincial regulations not clear or don’t have sufficient teeth to provide clear direction

    What discussion has occurred with local governments to determine appropriate protection or level of effort will likely have a lot to do with historical land uses, available natural space remaining, remaining developable areas on site, context of health of eosystems on adjacent sites, etc. What does this discussion look like so far?

    All stakeholders should demonstrate a minimum level of effort with respect to protection of critical habitat, but consider including variety of incentives for private property owners and local governments to complement regulatory approach. Ensure appropriate enforcement language in place and regulations to bring sufficient stick and carrot to the table.

    2. Lead by example. How and where can the Province identify priority conservation areas on its own lands and work with Crown Land stakeholders (First Nations claims) to promote sustainable management plans for these critical habitat areas. How are other Provincial ministries especially resource extraction sectors going to demonstrate a leadership role in this initiative on the ground.

    3. Resources and Operating Capacity. More resources and capacity required by Provincial staff to administer, review, assist, monitor, and enforce SARA legislation on ground. How is this going to be coordinated with FLNRO requirements and staff reviews? Want to minimize unnecessary delays and additional costs to land owners, local governments, and developers where possible.

    Also need capacity to assist stakeholders with technical assistance, stewardship opportunities for enhancement and restoration opportunities. Capacity to include data/info sharing and research projects, ongoing stewardship outreach/ education and training programs with local government and public.

    4. Identify and prioritize where is highest value SARA conservation areas are located across the Province, within regions, watersheds, local governments, etc. What opportunities are there for protection and management on Provincial Crown Lands and possibly federal lands at this time. Once these priority areas have been identified, then focus on potential coordination of stakeholders and resources to develop suitable conservation management strategies for these priority areas as a whole. Doesn’t always have to be protection measures, could be development guidelines, sustainable management plans, best management practices that are required. Focus on priority areas already in hands of Province, proverbial ‘low hanging fruit’ rather than starting or putting all of Provinces energy into working with private property owners. For conservation purposes – perhaps the Province could also begin the discussion by identifying high priority areas at risk and provide number of viable solutions for consideration i.e. combination of protection hubs and corridors, acquisition strategies, sustainable management plans for larger resource extraction areas, BMPs for private land owners, and partnership opportunities with various levels of government to facilitate planning for larger ecological hubs and corridors network.

    5. Integration of Provincial Tools and Big Picture Thinking. How to coordinate SARA and SEAR objectives with existing and future proposed Provincial legislation to maximize common ground, share overlapping resources, and encourage mutually beneficial outcomes for number of Provincial legislative requirements, Provincial agency programs and best practices, etc. with other levels of government. How can the Province provide better communications and public messaging with respect to mutually beneficial integrated environmental solutions whereby there are multiple overlapping positive outcomes from Provincial environmental regulatory initiatives and programs. For example, emphasizing the importance of looking and planning ahead beyond short term thinking to deal with larger concerns related to bio-diversity conservation, cumulative impacts, ecological health, climate change impact abatement, etc. What can the Province do to emphasize the importance of holistic smarter approach to dealing with these issues/opportunities with respect to stream protection, watershed health strategies, natural capital and green infrastructure approach along with Species at Risk critical habitat objectives so they can work together to achieve multiple objectives and benefits. How can Province emphasize the potential cost savings and quantitative services that nature provides to citizens when citizens are looking after the health of their watersheds? i.e. working with numerous free services provided by natural assets, consider cost savings and risk reduction to various levels of government and tax payers, and raise awareness of thinking from an ecological perspective – consider numerous economic, social, and environmental benefits of a holistic approach to working with nature. What about providing financial assistance to Local Governments with respect to Green Infrastructure grants vs. Physical Infrastructure grants.

    6. Ensure appropriate flexibility and fair approach for landowners so it isn’t a one size fits all approach with respect to different land uses (urban built out vs. new urban, suburban, rural, agricultural, and resource extraction areas), parcel sizes, historical land uses & consider reasonable impacts for land owners with respect to remaining developable areas.

    Consider local governments that already have progressive environmental regulations that provide significant protection of critical habitat. Consider cost to local governments and land owners that have kept a lot their natural lands intact vs. local governments that have already built out and eliminated their critical habitat areas.

    What is fair distribution of regulations and responsibilities for built out urban areas? Ensure appropriate incentives in place for generous land owners.

    More clarity is required to determine what minimum standards might look like on the ground depending on economic, legal, social, topographic, institutional, and land use constraints.
    Probably need similar approach to SPR stream setbacks which was a combination of working with variety of experts & stakeholder to consider scientific views with respect to minimum SARA protection requirements, along with socio/economic factors for consideration to determine whether smaller or larger buffers are feasible to create healthy wildlife corridors, hubs.

    Consider land trust fund for new potential developments or building sites with critical habitat whereby percentage of profits goes towards collective green fund if they cannot provide protection on site?

    7. Leverage partnership opportunities where possible with various levels of government, NGO’s, stewardship groups, private property owners. How to leverage fiscal resources in most effective way amongst stakeholders? Where are common priorities and resources available to help ensure success stories with respect to protection of high priority critical habitat?

    8. Education and Outreach. Emphasize the relevance/significance of the larger vision, goals and objectives associated with SARA initiative with status quo visions, objectives and needs of current and future generations. Continue to emphasize the relevance of species at risk to people’s well being, to overall cost savings for taxpayers, to the larger ecological health & future of our remaining ecosystems, and to emphasize that the vision of the SARA initiative is part of something much greater in scope & importance than the value of protection of individual species. What is the Province trying to achieve for its citizens in the short, moderate, and long term and how can each person contribute to the larger vision. How can the Province facilitate importance of this initiative, and encourage discussion and outreach with local government decision makers?

    9. Top down and bottom up approach. What opportunities or efforts have been made to get feedback and enter into the fierce conversations from other stakeholders in this process, other than environmental advocates? Is this input necessary or critical to the long term success of this program? I would be interested to hear what the developers, land owners, representatives from other economic sectors, and other provincial ministries think and whether there is any room to get them on board? How to enroll these other stakeholders? Perhaps we start with the Province demonstrating leadership on its own lands first before expecting the general public to buy in?

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    [-] Sue

    Please ensure that preserving the species is the top focus, not the socio-economic impacts which have too often been used as an excuse to do nothing. In the grand scheme of things, extinction is permanent while socio-economics vary with many factors. If we consider that eradication of a species is likely an indicator of many other problems (likely due to an unsustainable way of doing things) then making the change sooner than later will likely have many co-benefits.

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    [-] Matt

    8. Transparency and openness – “The protection of species at risk will operate under a model of transparency and openness, clearly distinguishing between science advice and decision-making.” Currently, the house of commons is the last player in listing a species as “at risk” “endangered” etc. Regardless of biological findings and actual species densities it is the commons decision to place a species at risk in regards to economic implications associated with industry. Transparency is needed and current research needs to be taken into considered and publicized. The government still neglects an ecosystem based approach when it comes to species at risk. For example, the caribou recovery management plan was created by government personnel and major forestry sector stakeholders. As no scientific research exists on wolves being the primary cause of mortality-the government accepted non-accredited research to satisfy industry.

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    [-] Tina

    Questions for clarification in the document:
    – Are First Nations considered to be a level of government?
    – #6 above (best available information): suggest adding “and a precautionary approach will be taken in the case of scientific uncertainty.”
    – Do we want to suggest recognition of the value of natural capital aka eco-assets accounted for in asset mapping?
    – #8 above (transparency & openness) – Shouldn’t science guide decision-making?
    – #9 above (voluntary conservation actions) – Unclear. Does this include that local governments can voluntarily enact legislation to require protection of SEAR? Or does this mean that both levels of government will just promote voluntary protection, without legislation?

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    [-] Mark

    I’m concerned about item #2 Socio-economic and #6. Best available information. The issue in #2 is about economics, but will this also include the value of nature in terms of natural capital and ecosystem services? If we put a dollar value onto nature, then it is apparent that not enough is being done to protect the services and functions that biodiversity offers. I would like to see an explicit statement that the services and functions stemming from biodiversity will be included in the accounting of actions.

    I am very concerned about the implications of the sentence in #6. It is very disturbing to suggest that we can ever have certainty in science in the first place. We can never achieve absolute certainty in science, because that ends the inquiry. This is the problem of induction that philosophers of science have worked on for over a century, which lead to the method and understanding of fallibilism and/or falsification, which is a cornerstone of modern science:
    “fal·li·bi·lism
    noun PHILOSOPHY
    the principle that propositions concerning empirical knowledge can be accepted even though they cannot be proved with certainty.”

    Science is always open to question. What is posted here is known as the fallacy of perfection. It is also problematic, because it suggests that that the scientific process can hamper action, which is not correct. Science needs to be at the forefront of action and it needs to be robust. The real concern here is that a back-door is being left open so that corporations are not held to pay for the type of research that is needed to answer a question under the clause – “we don’t need certainty”. If you don’t fund the science properly, then you end up with garbage and poor decision making. This sentence needs to be deleted or transformed into something more appropriate like inference to the best explanation (abduction), which is based on logic an reason.

    The preceding concern relates to point #8, because I would like to know how you can distinguish between science advise and decision-making? This is a false dichotomy and spreads additional misinformation about science.

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    [-] Michelle

    I hope that this comment is not considered to be part of a “meaningful conversation”, as, after reading these, I have too many questions to really participate here. How about ” Conservation of species at risk and their habitats is the highest priority”?

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    [-] Keith

    Extinction is forever! One principle that is missing is any recognition of the moral imperative that arises from our actions that threaten the existence of other species.

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    [-] Bernadette

    Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk has been a disaster. Industrial interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.
    BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits.
    Let’s get environmental assessments that take into account the cumulative impact of all development on endangered species rather than piecemeal. Also if there are endangered species like the Pacific Water Shrew stop the development to protect the habitat.

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    [-] Judith

    Most of these are too generic and vague. For example – what does it mean to “be flexible and appropriate to the sector, land tenure, species and level of threat.” ? I can be flexible about deciding whether to protect species at risk (or not) depending on the land tenure?

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    [-] Matthew

    Principle 6 is admirable; however, in many cases I have low confidence that the provincial listing of species and ecosystems at risk is informed by sufficient data to support their current conservation status. I believe there are large knowledge gaps regarding the abundance, distribution, trends and threats to provincially-listed species and communities. This is due to the vast geography and diversity of the Province and challenge to fund sufficient baseline studies of this nature for the sheer number of provincially-listed species. I suggest the Province undertake substantial investment to fill these knowledge gaps by funding status and recovery planning research for all red- or blue-listed species. A starting point would be to fully populate the BC Conservation Data Centre’s Conservation Status Reports for all red- or blue-listed species and commencing research to fill gaps in those reports where data is unknown.

    Despite current FAQs and links to resources at Nature Serve, the guidance provided by the BC Conservation Data Centre regarding what constitutes an element occurrence is not clear; if subsequent policy, regulation, or statute,, are crafted, then it would be essential to improve the quality of the guidance identifying what constitutes and element occurrence and under what (ecological) condition such an occurrence warrants explicit protection, avoidance, replacement, mitigation, etc.

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    [-] Jennifer

    We need BC’s socio-economic interests to take species at risk in consideration, and protection of habitat need to come first. Species at risk have been losing out to resource development for too long. There are better ways of doing things, it is time to put nature first. We will all benefit in the end.

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    [-] Huguette

    BC is one of the last places where there are still wolves and grizzlies and where the ocean is home to many species who need protection – this government has been very cruel to wild animals, allowing the wolf cull, trophy hunting and deforestation – We NEED large tracks of untouched forests and a strong endangered species law – PLEASE delay no more.

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    [-] Jan

    The government needs to act immediately to put in place an endangered species act that will safeguard all species of animals and plants presently considered at risk or endangered. This law needs to have the power to protect against habitat degradation in areas needed for species survival.

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    [-] Sarah

    •Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk has been a disaster. Industrial interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.
    •BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits.

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    [-] Michael

    The determination of species at risk needs vast improvement. We have only been measuring bird populations since the 50’s and that is nothing in the timespan of birds. Consequently, determination of species at risk is often determined by funding to do the work and the outcome determining future funding. I raise my eyebrows at the definition of species at risk. Often they are no more than ‘normal fluctuations’ which will ‘recover’. Often populations of a species may be lower than when they were last measured but that does not mean that they are at risk since inevitably the species adapts to changing conditions, the gene pool changes and species ‘recover’ without any interference by man.
    That is not to say that there may be species at risk but it is often that if X decline continues then there will be no birds. Seldom happens just like so called man made global warming.
    One example: in the UK at the time of the DDT fiasco, Peregrines all but disappeared, certainly there were great declines due to lack of productivity. DDT can be recovered from every continent on earth and is still used on some. The Peregrines in the UK are now at the highest level in living memory – yes! DDT was banned; no other measures were taken. The Sparrowhawk followed a similar pattern. Both genuine cause for concern. Nowadays, few causes have been determined and we are only viewing populations that were higher hitherto. They were infinitely higher during medieval times when agricultural practices favoured them – eg Skylark. Canada was not occupied by white man in medieval times – except possibly the Vikings so we have no clue as to the density of birds at the at that time. The UK population of Common Whitethroat lost 70% in one winter due to losses in the Sahara region. It took years but is back to good levels now. There is little we can do about such migrants or the Sahara. The danger of extinction of the species currently viewed as ‘at risk’ in BC is remote.

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    [-] BCSPCA

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’ habitat.

    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional ecological knowledge to present an objective view.

    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups. The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] BC

    Pursuing short-term economic gains should not come at the cost of long-term benefits for the environment and species at risk. Taking socio-economic considerations into account gives industrial interests like logging and mining too much power to negatively impact species’ habitat.

    Often, political decision-making is based only on short-term goals, and using only the best available information limits the ability for long-term assessments and a sound management plan. Long-term decisions should be informed by evidence-based science and traditional ecological knowledge to present an objective view.

    BC needs to create strong provincial endangered species legislation to give the survival of species a higher priority than corporate profits. Adopting a “precautionary principle” is necessary to avoid making decisions where extensive scientific knowledge is lacking and harm may occur. Respecting wild animals and their habitat for their inherent value, not just as a resource for people, is currently lacking within policy. Further recognizing the importance of individual animals within their population is important, as they provide stability for groups. The role of wild animals to provide ecosystem benefits should also be recognized.

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    [-] Noah

    I am worried that a number of these principles will create watered down legislation that will not ensure species protection, but instead favour resource and industrial development and weak enforcement. As such, there should NOT be explicit mention of ‘socio-economics’ as a factor, or it should be relegated to a secondary role in terms of choosing between alternative means of ensuring species protection. Likewise, ‘voluntary conservation actions’ seems to be a way of allowing the government to ignore its duties and refuse to back up legislation with budgets and enforcement. Extinction is forever and species protection is a moral duty and international obligation. Treat it as such!

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    [-] Vivian

    Please do more to protect species at risk. Many tourist and international visitors come to bc to appreciate our wilderness. It would be extremely poor management on our part if a species went extinct, especially when we can do so much to protect them. I would like my children and everyone else to be able to appreciate the natural beauty of our province for years to come.

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    [-] Kris

    The best interests of ecology should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits. Economic growth and jobs are extremely flexible and have changed due to many other factors. The pressures on them are rarely primarily anything to do with environmental preservation. So let’s place a healthy ecosystem first and let the other factors flow from there. Let us be clear that there is no going backward. Once we lose biodiversity, it is incredibly difficult to go back.

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    [-] Virginia

    I think that as long as corporate profits are put before habitat for species at risk, then we will not save endangered species. I agree with the other principles, but I think that the economic principle has been favoured in an unbalanced way at the expense of the ecosystems which are at risk such as the inland temperate rainforests – there are 4 more after the one and a half which are protected, and at the expense of species at risk. Mining and logging have been favoured over ecosystems and species at risk in this province.
    We need provincial species at risk legislation to replace the patchwork we have now so that a unified approach can be made to save endangered species and ecosystems.

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    [-] Alanah

    Tangible enforcement – the destruction of endangered species’ and their habitat should be monitored and repercussions for their destruction and loss be actively enforced. If habitat is altered there should be requirements to make up for this loss either through restoration, permanent protection of equally valuable habitat, or a fine with funds towards conservation/restoration of species at risk.

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    [-] Fran

    #2 We cannot continue to give industry priority over species!
    #3 The species should be the priority, not “land tenure”. Deals can be made.
    #7 “return on investment”? Why not evaluate effectiveness??
    #9 Not sure what “voluntary” means. If it is the law, how can it be voluntary? Clarify please.
    Scott has some good ideas but I refer you to ebird Canada http://ebird.org/content/canada/ and similar sites (can’t find them atm).

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    [-] Scott

    I agree with Aqam, Ian, and Helen’s comment that the province could improve the inventory count of species.
    In today’s world, the general public and school system can be helpful to record sightings by utilizing a tool like this
    https://www.BlackholeCollections.org/google/general/demo?bcs
    which could be quite an effective way to allow a layperson to identify one species from another, as Ian suggested, he had no idea how to identify a painted turtle.
    It would be easy to visualize a similar technique being used for all other animals.
    The people who have built this technology are also located in BC so there is a benefit to the economic ecosystem as well.

    Engaging citizen Scientists in this manner might also be considered a funding source because they are doing work that would otherwise need to be paid.

    Imagine all of the private backyards that could be improved to support SAR if only they had the knowledge to identify that one is living on their property or using their pond.
    Or that a particular insect is a food source for bats and birds at risk.

    This seems like an easy actionable item to come out of this consultation effort.

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    [-] Jotham

    #2. socio-economics….. This concern will trump (take it as a pun if you want) all others. The protection of species at risk cannot be concerned with the very thing that put it at risk in the first place.

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    [-] Dan

    Weighing economics against the existence of a species is inappropriate. If we have so intensively modified our planet such that a species is on the brink of existence, then we’ve already likely made lots of money at this species expense, and it’s long past time that the species take priority. Pursuing profit at the expense of existence is counter the point of a species at risk act, and leaves the act potentially impotent as some economic rationale for continued exploitation can always be articulated.

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    [-] Terri

    Should it species and ecosystems at risk?
    For socio-economics please add long term “…take into account the long term social and economic…” Long term is the critical piece. Over the short term many of us have reaped huge socio-economic benefit from the over-use of nature in the short term but this has resulted in huge intergenerational inequity. It is this long-term view that this is the crux of the matter.
    With respect to transparency and openness, I like the piece that distinguishes between science and advice: this should allow us to speak openly about ecological carrying capacity and limits to growth — if the political will of the day says no, well then at least we have had the opportunity to get the science based concept out there.

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    [-] Mark

    It is critical to fully understand the working of the ecosystem and the ecosystem requirements of a species at risk. Case in point: the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone park has actually improved some of the prey species as well as reduced erosion and loss of fodder for those species. The wolves keep the ungulates moving preventing them from over browsing some forage allowing the forage to recover and actually provide more forage when the ungulates return at a later time (other season). The predator also removes sickly animals reducing the spread of sickness in the herds. Consequently poisoning wolves to protect the mountain caribou may not be a successful approach to species at risk protection

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    [-] Marg

    Numbers 2 & 7 concern me. “taking into account social and economic interests” says to me that exceptions are going to be made NOT in consideration of the species habitat loss or threats, but whether a logging company gets its quota from that habitat, a mine’s needs to unload waste into a watershed or heli-skiing business takes priority over the species at risk.

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    [-] John

    Topic 1: Principles for the protection of species at risk
    Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk has been a disaster. Industrial interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.
    BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits.

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    [-] Wendy

    We will never make any significant impact on preserving endangered species without legal grounds. We need strong legislation that puts the protection of species, not corporate profits, first.

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    [-] Renee

    I do not agree with number 2. If so called business interests trump the protection of species and habitat, then then the species remsin at risk.

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    [-] Anne

    I am very concerned that including “economic considerations” will allow profit to undermine any legislation to protect endangered species.

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    [-] Mark

    I would like to see principles that prioritize the protection and enhancement of species at risk as the first and overriding principle. These species are at risk and require extraordinary measures to ensure they are not lost. As such, other considerations, such as economic impacts to communities needs to be given a lower level of consideration.

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    [-] E.

    Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk has been a disaster. Industrial interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.
    BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits.

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    [-] Gregory

    I think there is concerning wording in several of these principals. The “flexible, voluntary, prioritizing, and even shared responsibility” all have connecting elements. I think that we need to decide what species are in danger, and then determine what is required to protect them, allowing for sustainable populations. If you instead start with an approach that has a lot of leeway, it still make it far too easy to back down from protecting a species when it is “inconvenient”. This makes the legislation ineffective and useless.

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    [-] Chris

    I agree with these ideals. I would like to see accountability written into law for any damage to any species of environment that supports the species on a dedicated “at risk” list

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    [-] Roy

    1)social and economic interests will over-ride every instance of protecting a SAR. That condition guarantees there will be no protection for SAR.
    2)Flexibility means nothing. That term guarantees that every instance of an endangered species will be discounted.
    3)proceed on a priority basis. Return on investment is stated in the language of economics. Species at risk have been suffering at the convenience of the economy since white man arrived on these lands. this just means business as usual.
    4)Some of this is bureaucratic double-speak, the old “white man speaks with forked tongue”

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    [-] Karl

    If socio-economic considerations are included, they should have a limited priority. Socio-economic considerations are relative and change constantly, whereas the interest of a species at risk in survival is constant and permanent. BC needs a strong endangered species law that gives species survival and biodiversity top priority.

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    [-] Jennifer

    Yes. Protection of species at risk is badly needed as legislation in BC.

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    [-] Jeremy

    If you do not protect BY LAW species at risk, what hope have they got?
    Not only will they disappear entirely, but you will be to blame.

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    [-] Roberta

    • Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk will NOT work; interests such as logging and mining are already given far too much power to destroy species’ habitat in the pursuit of short term profit.
    • BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC – not corporate profits.

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    [-] Patricia

    Socio-economic factors? If this includes the mining and logging industry being consulted I do not believe there would be a willingness to forego any profit margin in the interests of preserving endangered species or protecting their habitat.

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    [-] Jim

    I disagree with 6, in particular; … and will not be hampered by lack of scientific
    certainty.
    I believe decision makers should take into account the uncertainty of scientific evidence

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    [-] Karl

    ‘Science’ driven discussion should be emphasized more, perhaps in Principle #8. Also some statement as to the moral and ethical obligation to conserve populations of all species, not just those we deem important for socio-economic reasons.

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    [-] Steve

    We need better protection for at risk and endangered species. It is an outrage that we have no real protection for these at risk species. Profits and viability of industry always seem to come first. This is wrong and everyone knows it. Please show some leadership and speak for those that cannot speak for themselves. It is not only in their best interest, but in the long run , it is in ours and future generations best interests to protect them while we still can. A great example is unfolding in the southern Orca populations. Female Orcas and their calves are are dying directly as a result of our activities. We need to make changes now to ensure there survival for the future. No Tankers, less toxins seeping into the marine environment from all sources, doing what we can to stop and revers global warming, cutting back on our commercial fishing so stocks can recover, non harassment policy, and of course listing them as an endangered at risk spices.

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    [-] Krysta

    Principle 2 should not be included as a principle for the protection of species at risk. Allowing BC to take into account socio-economic considerations when planning for species at risk is incompatable with the basic idea of conservation for species at risk.
    BC needs a strong endangered species law that puts species survival first and foremost, regardless of impacts to corporate profits. Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge should be first and foremost when it comes to protecting species at risk in BC.
    Principle 4 is good as long as it does not mean that no-one is responsible in the end.

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    [-] Judy

    I do NOT believe that conservation actions should be voluntary. We have seen over and over again that resource extraction is never done with conservation in mind but only profit. These people will NOT self regulate. Just look at the clearcuts, the cutting right to stream edges and roads, failure of tailings barriers, contamination of ground water, etc. This legislation must be just that – legislation – not another call for “playing nice” that industry will not heed.

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    [-] Sally

    Put species at risk your first and foremost priority. Not corporate or private interests

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    [-] Paul

    This Province needs proactive over site for ALL species at risk. This requires Political will as well as an ACTIVE hand in enforcement. That will require more people in the field and in the office overseeing the various activities of development resource extraction

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    [-] Julie

    Protection of species at Risk is an ambiguous statement, endangered species protection legislation is specific and holds accountability. we must ensure our planet is taken care of and has an opportunity to heal from the past; our ancestors were not stewards of the earth; they were driven and programmed by the capitalist plague that continues to destroy our ethereal well-being and existence. Please do the right thing and make everyone accountable for the only planet we have .

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    [-] Helen

    Principle #2 means that we will never actually protect a species at risk in the province…
    Principle #6 best available information: the province does very, very little inventory of any species and thus is not working from good information. Large amounts of money have been spent on species believed to be at risk but aren’t really (e.g., marbled murrelets). The province needs to increase inventory on ALL wildlife species.
    Interesting that one principle is “7. Proceed on a priority basis – Actions to protect and recover species at risk will be prioritized and will consider return on investment to ensure resources are allocated in an efficient manner.”… the provincial government spent a great deal of resources on the Conservation Framework that would have helped with this principle but since it was created in 2010 there has been no updates to it and it is now relatively useless and out of date.

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    [-] Susan

    Overall these are good principles to stand by.

    There are a couple that need to be reworded, and there need to be strict enforcement to ensure that the government follows these principles. I do not want to see organizations having to sue the government in order to follow this principle as it happened in 2014 with the federal government and the Species At Risk Act.

    I believe that principle 2 needs to be re-worded. While social and economic interests of BC communities are important, they can often bulldoze conservation efforts. The most current example of this is the proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline, which will put Resident Orca along with the entire west coast marine ecosystem in serious jeopardy. I believe that there are ways to continue socio-economic growth while putting conservation at the top of the list. The problem of socio-economic growth coupled with conservation is not unique to BC. There are success cases around the world were the government put conservation first and as a consequence socio-economic growth followed.
    Hawkins, D. E. A Protected Areas Ecotourism Competitive Cluster Approach to Catalyse Biodiversity Conservation and Economic Growth in Bulgaria. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 12, 219–244 (2004).
    Eriksson, B. Fins, gills and fishermen : The socio-economic impacts of marine conservation in southern Indonesia. (2016).
    Many of these approaches involve eco-tourism, which British Columbia has plenty of potential for. Places like the Pacific Rim National Park is one of the most visited parks in Canada, and there is so much more potential to increase revenue through eco-tourism. If socio-economic development is put ahead of conservation we lose all those potential sources of increased revenue. Government supported eco-tourism would also be able to boast the support of locally owned small businesses and job creation.

    I believe #3 also needs to be reworded. Flexibility is something that can move in both directions, and I believe the wording of this principle could provide a loophole for not doing our best when it comes to conservation. I think dynamic might be a more appropriate term. I agree there needs to be different approaches to different ecosystem and species, but I do not support language that could provide loopholes.

    I think that First Nations are a wealth of information and a great ally to have in conservation efforts. I don’t feel like the provincial government is doing enough to listen to First Nation concerns, or respect their rights as a people. There is an untapped resource within First Nations communities, but the government needs to do a better job of supporting them and listening to them.

    I absolutely agree that conservation should be based on the best information available. I believe that we should have independent science reports and reviews, and that the government should listen to these reports. It would also be helpful to have the people working on policy to have a background in wildlife ecology, biology, environmental studies, or conservation biology. I think it is important that we listen to our scientists, and follow through with their recommendations.

    # 7 – Priority basis dependent on “return of investment” is not the best way forward. Return on investment will be different for different stakeholders, and there is no objective way to classify conservation based on a return of investment. The energy sector as it currently stands would see a much different return on investment than someone in the eco-tourism sector. I believe there should be a priority basis, but that it should be based off of scientific recommendations.

    I feel the most strongly about #8, and believe that it is imperative to be open and transparent throughout this process.

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    [-] Ursula

    The first principle should not just “support” positive outcomes, but create a legislative framework that would ENSURE positive outcomes. There is no provision for real action or enforcement, without which failure is a real possibility. And once a species is extinct, there is no recourse, no going back.

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    [-] Margaret

    Don’t agree with socio-economic point. As number two, this shows a high-priority for this principle. Species protection becomes watered down if socio-economic interests get priority.
    Needs a point about performance measures, reporting and evaluation.

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    [-] Rick

    Principle 2 – I am concerned that economic considerations may take precedence over social considerations. As an example, suppose a town wants to use some land for a water treatment plant but the land is home to plant species at risk. How do the considerations bet compared?

    Principle 7 – “return on investment” is not necessarily the right way to go. How do you measure it anyways? Does preservation of a large species have a higher ROI than preservation of a small species?

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    [-] Doug

    Re: Principles 1 through 3: These are worded so vaguely that it is unclear how or if positive conservation outcomes for species at risk will be achieved. Taken together, this basically states “we support at-risk species conservation in general, but the degree of commitment and specific actions all depends an a whole host of tradeoffs”.

    Principle 6: Best available information. While invoking the precautionary principle, Principle 6 as states creates an over-reliance on existing information and does not address those many instances where better conservation will require new surveys and other scientific studies. An accessory principle is needed to advance scientific studies where there are high priority and potentially impactful knowledge gaps that hinder clear management decisions. This is especially important in light of the enshrined importance of socio-economic issues and sector-specific flexibility.

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    [-] Bill

    Principles 2 and 3: Not strong enough. A Government of the day will consider the wording “take into account the social and economic interests of BC ‘s communities” in principle 2 as paramount over all other considerations–in particular where there is push back from voters. A common theme from government both local and provincial is that the environment is important but….we hear or at least I hear this constantly. I take this to mean that the environment and species at risk are a low priority and therefore a lack of initiative and minimal allocation of funds.
    Principle 6: I am not certain what “not be hampered by a lack of scientific certainty” means.
    Principle 7: Priority: full transparency as to the process–what are the principles.
    Principle 8: Transparency and openness– I am skeptical that government will be transparent. There need to be “teeth” to make that happen. In other words when a decision overrides science the government should say so.
    Principle 9: Voluntary conservation actions: That would be wonderful but there needs to be money. At this time there is little or no money to assist ENGO’s from any level of government. The government has the responsibility on behalf of the people of this province to protect species at risk.

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    [-] Jillian

    There’s a few things we need in this:
    1) The province and federal government need to be more collaborative to ensure those contravening our laws are held to account.
    2) Hire more conservation/fisheries officers to be present to enforce these laws
    3) Put tougher penalties in the Acts so that our environmental laws actually have teeth to them
    4) Encourage the public to get involved and contribute on matters like these (gathering feedback in this forum is definitely a step in the right direction!)

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    [-] Ian

    I wondered if the consultation and engagement portion should include the public rather than just with other levels of government, First Nations, conservation partners and stakeholders.

    I also wondered if there shouldn’t be more of an educational focus to sharing more about species at risk for regular citizens who might be interested or could change their behaviours or take action. One example is where I saw some property roped off for the Painted Turtle near the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary but I wasn’t sure the turtle was a species at risk and how I could help as a nearby property owner in the neighbourhood. It would have been a good opportunity to teach me how to protect species at risk in my neighbourhood.

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    [-] James

    One more: Better to prevent a species from becoming at risk in the first place than to allow it to decline to the point where it is threatened, thinking that you can recover it later.

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    [-] James

    It is important that Positive Conservation Outcomes be #1.

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    [-] ʔaq̓am

    ʔaq̓am, a First Nation Community in the Southeastern corner of British Columbia would like to specifically comment on the principle of ̓’Best Available Information’. We think that there needs to be more resources allocated to obtain the best information available with respect to Species-at-Risk, on both a Provincial and Federal level. For a Land Code Community that routinely deals with species-at-risk on-reserve, there often appears to be gaps in the known sightings and data for provincially and federally listed species at risk. In some cases, the information may not be there. In other cases, a historic or distant sighting results in large polygons being created that would not even contain habitat to support the particular species at risk, for example. More field work/field-truthing would be beneficial to improve the accuracy of SAR information throughout BC. This work would certainly assist First Nations land stewards/managers in making the most appropriate decisions to protect and mitigate impacts to SAR. Thank you.

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    [-] Sharon

    Probably if dogs were contained instead of left to run at large at Valley of the Sun on the west side of Okanagan Lake the western painted turtle, ducks and other wildlife would be safer, but the Regional District of Central Okanagan Dog Control Function does not work at night and the dogs have been chasing wildlife at night for 7 years now. I tried to report to conservation but they tell me I need to see the dogs in the dark and I also need to know who owns the dogs or Conservation can’t do anything. I thought maybe Conservation could come out one night and ask the dog owner where their dogs are but that seems to be an impossible task for Conservation, the RCMP and for my Regional District of Central Okanagan dog control who do not work at 3am – 4am when the dogs are out chasing wildlife. I tried to report the barking dogs to the RCMP several times and they tell me there is only two officers on and they are understaffed and can’t come out to catch these dogs. If Conservation had Trail Cameras to catch these dogs chasing wildlife, the people could be fined and they would be compelled to contain their dog from chasing wildlife. I caught two dogs on my security camera last week chasing a deer through my property. I have to do the governments job and I feel my government is pathetic. I doubt this reporting system is going to change my government and compel Conservation to buy some trail cameras so that Conservation can control these at large dogs that bark and chase wildlife at night most nights, and save the western painted turtle that live in the 3 ponds here at Valley of the Sun out Westside Road in Kelowna BC

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    [-] Paul

    socio-economics is the reason we have 19oo species at risk in BC and no Endangered Species Legislation this Liberal government is all about the money and species get in the way of making money!

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    [-] Robyn

    Is there going to be a ‘BC legislation and policy framework’ or in general when policy or legislation are developed they will take into account principles 1 and 9? Also, what happens if 1 and 9 conflict, if positive conservation outcomes are not possible with voluntary measures.
    Also, under 4, will there be new programs designed related to sharing responsibilities or is this referring to again in general if there happen to be new programs designed?

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    [-] Donald

    The protection of species at risk must take priority over socio-economic decisions. The cumulative effects of timber harvesting is putting even more species in the blue list. In addition, we need to find more effective methods to reduce the numbers of predators, especially bears and wolves.
    Weather change is also a factor. Milder winters with less snow is allowing predators more opportunity to survive thus increasing numbers.
    All decisions must be based on science rather than the ranting of so called environmentalists.

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    [-] David

    The Government of British Columbia should apply the following principles:
    (a) Polluter-pays principle
    Any individual, private enterprise, or public entity that damages the environment is responsible for paying for the full costs of restoring, rehabilitating, or paying compensation for damages inflicted, including human health costs.
    (b) Precautionary principle
    Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.
    (c) Intergenerational equity
    Each generation has an obligation to future generations to pass on the natural and cultural resources of the planet in no worse condition than received and to provide reasonable access to the legacy for the present generation.
    (d) Non-regression
    Existing environmental laws, standards, and policies represent a baseline that can only be strengthened in the future, and only weakened where necessary to respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    (e) Intrinsic value
    Intrinsic value means that the environment and its constituent elements have value in their own right
    (f) Recognition of limits to ecological capacity
    Human activities must ensure the long-term health of biodiversity and ecosystems by acknowledging and respecting the fact that these systems have both productive and assimilative limits.
    (g) World-class standards
    British Columbians should enjoy a level of protection from environmental hazards that is at least as strong as, if not stronger than, the highest standard enjoyed by the citizens of other provinces and/or nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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    [-] Dave

    I agree with the principles. But I don’t agree with others who suggest that we must choose between protection of species-at-risk and the economy. if we’re going to succeed, we need to integrate those into well-crafted, long-term plans that involve resource users – industrial, commercial and public, along with science and ENGO’s. But government needs to play its part as well.

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    [-] Dave

    For example of how flexible, voluntary protection and economically-driven, industry directed protection works, look at the endangered mountain caribou situation. It does not work. We either get serious about protection of HABITAT, LEGAL protection of habitat without industry-dictated limitations on elevations, forest types, planned extraction efforts, etc, with stiff penalties and a clear path forward, or what is the point?

    Broad scale consultation is good, but this requires clear boundaries and legislated outcomes.

    Flexibility is ok at a certain level, as long as it relates only to the means of habitat protection, not what the outcome will be. Habitat protection for endangered species is critical for all land tenures, etc.

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    [-] Margie

    Species at risk is a critically important step for the government to pursue. One huge concern is that in taking in the socio-economic issues the time line must be far longer than the next election. This strategy needs to be very long lived, long supported and long visioned.

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    [-] Dana

    The core principle should be to ensure resilient and healthy ecological systems.
    Principle 2 gives consideration to socio and economic values but we should have more mention of environmental (and perhaps non human) values.
    Principle 6 should include wording on decision making being science based, Traditional Ecological Knowledge based, and/or based on best practices. It is unclear what ‘not being hampered by lack of scientific certainty’ means.
    Principle 7 how are things prioritized?

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    [-] Thomas

    I agree with the principles, especially Principle 4 – Shared Responsibility.
    SAR are found on all types of land tenure, and all tenure holders should take responsibility for SAR protection.
    Principle 2 – Socio-economics – could lead to taking decisions to NOT protect SAR if economic interests are going to be affected. This is a dangerous route, as SAR have intrinsic and societal values that should trump the economic interests of land holders.

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    [-] Margaret

    Yes, these are fine.

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    [-] Lawrie

    I agree that these principles will work wsell

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    [-] Ellen

    The legally binding protection of species at risk or of concern must supersede other interests, even if this results in temporary social inconveniences. However, using the excuse of protecting a species at risk by wholesale killing of predators is never acceptable practice. Instead, close the roads, stop the intrusions of motorized vehicles and clear cut logging

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    [-] Wendy

    Yes I agree with these principles for the protection of species at risk.

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    [-] John

    My experience with Species at Risk:

    Here in the East Kootenay we’ve tried to augment our caribou ‘herd’ to completely laughable outcomes. We’ve effectively had snowmobile closures and restrictions to logging and mining activities in huge areas of mountain caribou ‘habitat’ ie areas where caribou could potentially live if there were any. Of course the problem is we have one small population of caribou (6-13 animals) which are in one area and don’t range from this small area. So by the incredible foresight of government a huge land base was set aside for a phantom population of caribou that by all accounts was never even in existence.

    People talk about letting ‘science’ dictate policy but it only works when ‘science’ is in favour of their opinions. For exampl we’ve all heard that climate change is going to drastically alter our ecosystem. Climate models predict that here in the East Kootenay we may have wetter/milder conditions, or warmer and drier, either way climate change will supposedly further disrupt caribou ‘habitat’. At what point do we decide that trying to save a group of animals, that by all accounts has been progressively on the decline for years prior to European influence, is really only trying to maintain our own romantic ideals of a ‘natural’ North America.

    Things change, the world is changing, it is never static. I’d like to see some pragmatic government policy for a change. Every time that a ‘problem’ is identified and a ‘fix’ is determined the outcomes are never successful. Maybe the government should be more concerned with keeping the roads maintained and providing healthcare/education instead of pursuing these wasteful endeavours.

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    [-] Trevor

    It’s true, the world really is changing. Best, however, not to be too smug. What goes down for endangered species today could well go down for you and your loved ones tomorrow.

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    [-] PBell

    I like the principles, but they’re all weak. I would like to see the wording strengthened for each one.
    It seems that everything that is mentioned becomes secondary when industry interests and political expediency come into the discussion.
    Protecting the species that are at risk today means that governments didn’t do a good job in past, so what will the “species at risk” list look like in future…..wolves, grizzly bears, various sea creatures?
    We’re talking species at risk as well as food security. The species at risk are the canaries in the coal mine….indicating to us what is happening in the environment.
    I would love it if governments actually listened to people involved in the engagement and consultation processes. What part of this is not understood? Finding science to support bad decisions is what it looks like. Not standing up to industry and basing those decisions on economics is what it looks like. Ignoring First Nations and others interests in food security is what it looks like.
    I’ve seen the devastation and disasters caused by polluting industries. Did they get off with no responsibility because of government ties? That’s what it looks like.
    I sincerely pray that government is paying attention to conservation, ALL socio-economic interests, consultation and engagement and scientific decision making. Because….if it isn’t then what it looks like is that government is not being consultative and transparent nor making decisions based on the best priorities and socio-economic interests.
    I would like to come back to make comments on this page that illustrate how happy I am about decisions around conservation and protection of the environment and species at risk.
    I have to say that today I am not!

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    [-] John

    The reason why socio-economic issues, ie the economy, are central to conserving anything is because without a strong economy we will have a ruined environment. Look to countries with poor economies and think of what the environment is like there. It’s our economy that has allowed us to focus on these issues. Without a high-standard of living and free-time (thanks to our economy) our environment would go to the trash heap. It’s high-time that we all recognize and accept responsibilty for the role we play in this. We are all consumers and have all gotten fat off of our resources, there is no free lunch.

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    [-] Andrea

    Yes.

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    [-] Nature

    In many instances if not all, economic and social interests need to come second to protecting species at risk. We need to be steadfast in the approach and not allow for a disclaimer. This needs to be of the utmost priority.

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    [-] Sadie

    I think that the list is incomplete without including and in fact being built upon a foundation of ethics.

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    [-] Karen

    1. Positive conservation outcomes. Things like the wolf slaughter are sacrificing the outcome of the entire environment.
    2. Socio Economics? So basically you’ll consider protecting a species unless someone somewhere may not make a profit because that’s more important.
    3. Flexibility-there is nothing flexible about BC’s animal policies. So ensuring animal livelihood is important in one area but not another because that area is slated for development?
    4. Consultation-the province ignores any consultation that takes place. 91% of British Columbians oppose the trophy hunting of grizzles but the government ignores this. First Nations prohibit this on their lands and this is ignored as well. First Nations wishes are ignored but te approval of a giant pipeline through the sensitive Great Bear Rainforest. Why consult people if you ignore their wishes?
    5. Shared Responsibility- most BC communities have no money to purchase even basic items to prevent needless animal deaths. The province offers no assistance to these municipalities! Why isn’t the province kicking money in for bear bins at the very least?!
    6. Best Available Information-the province silences any science that goes against animal protection strategies that may hinder private profits. Scientific experts are screaming to be heard and are being ignored. The best available information should come from the leading scientist as chosen by the scientific community not what fits with the governments business plan.
    7. Priority Basis-why can’t we help all the species? Waiting until the species has no hope of recovery like the caribou and then mudering wolves from a helicopter which leads only to more wolves is what happens when species habitats are destroyed before the government decides to pay attention.
    8. Transparency and Openness-there is none of this! How many people need to oppose things like the grizzly hunt and Site C with no acknowledgment from the government let alone consideration of the merit of these concerns?
    Distinguishing between science advice and decision making? Scientific advice is ignored while the government proceeds with the decision that makes the most profit.
    9. Voluntary conservation action-supported? Conservationists are muzzled, bullied off of their land and threatened with lawsuits.

    None of the above principles are being practised. Opening up this discussion to the public is nothing more than offering people a chance to make their voices heard and then ignoring them completely. As an animal activist, I pray for a future government that will actually respect our wildlife and listen to its citizens. Clearly this one does not.

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    [-] Gwen

    Karen October 20, 2016 has it right. I couldn’t have said it better. We the people of BC have not seen any will on the part of the provincial government to do what it is elected to do in terms of protection of vulnerable species. This protection must include experts ‘in the field’ and ‘out in the field’ and disregard any economic benefits to the province in terms mining, dams or logging.

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    [-] Mike

    Regarding Mountain Cariboo, I have witnessed significant closure of traditional snowmobile riding areas because of the natural Cariboo decline. After following this issue for some 25 years I am of the opinion that they were naturally displaced by Moose and the changing enviroment due to local logging and land clearing. I also don’t believe Wolves follow snowmobile tracks to access Mountain Cariboo. I believe our provincial government has used snowmobilers as a “scapegoat” to justify closing snowmobile areas which are still accessed by Heli-Ski operations and other areas made into parks to omit snowmobiling

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    [-] Lee

    I am not familiar with the other species at risk, but I can say I have had about as much experience as I could stand with the process that led to the species at risk protection framework around the Mountain Caribou.
    From my experience in that process, I assume the protection efforts for the other species are driven by political expediency and a witch hunt as well.
    As you may have guessed by now I am an avid visitor to the mountains by snowmobile. Over the last 15 years I have taken a keen interest in following the results on the caribou population, from the ban on snowmobiling in BC mountains.
    As it turned out, the political expediency of going after recreational snowmobiling was a disaster for the caribou. The only remaining stable caribou population is in the Hart Range, an area that still allows snowmobiling. All other areas of the province that banned snowmobiling from caribou areas saw a huge crash in caribou populations.
    From a scientific stand point someone really got it wrong, and the caribou paid the price.
    The facts speak for themselves.
    I have also observed that areas no longer open to snowmobiles are being used for hell-skiing. When helicopters show up, caribou run. I have been on enough helicopter survey flights to see that, and this is true for the Barren Land and Woodland caribou as well. Oddly enough, the disappearance of caribou from heli-ski areas is also blamed on snowmobiles.
    The complete failure of the snowmobile ban to recover caribou populations, doesn’t bother anyone. And so many people have their reputations at stake, and the eco politics is so silly, that no one really cares beans about the Mountain Caribou situation enough to ask why?
    Really, it is all politics first, caribou second.
    Why not ban all private aircraft from the mountains? No one really cares about private aircraft, and the politics is great. Banning private aircraft would also have about the same effect on caribou recovery as the ban on snowmobiling, nil to none.

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    [-] Wendy

    I have a fundamental issue with Principle #2. All too often the reason we have species-at-risk in the first place is because of socio-economic factors. Conservation and ecological values take a backseat. Principle #2 needs to be reworded. There may be times when the intrinsic value of a species is more important that socio-economic values.

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    [-] Nora

    Based on what I’m reading here, I’m concerned that business considerations will ultimately trump conservation issues. I realize that business is important, but without our environment, everything else is moot.

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