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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    User avatar
    [-] Vincent Atkins

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

    User avatar
    [-] Dr. Franck PORCHER

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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/)

    User avatar
    [-] Lynn

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

    User avatar
    [-] John Bergenske

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Chloe Annas

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] Sue Womersley

    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/

    User avatar
    [-] Jennifer I Sullivan

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Myrna Franke

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Sharon Cross

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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

    User avatar
    [-] Joan Hendrick

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Zoe

    Yes!!

    User avatar
    [-] Carrie Holland

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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!

    User avatar
    [-] 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!

    User avatar
    [-] Zoe

    Decrease our countries’ dependency on Fossil Fuels. Period.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] Byron Hosking

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] Cate Shields

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] Bronwen Evans

    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

    User avatar
    [-] Bronwen Evans

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Gillian Anderson

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

    User avatar
    [-] Haley Argen

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] David Norwell

    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?

    User avatar
    [-] 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

    User avatar
    [-] Marjorie Coey

    These ground rules seem reasonable.

    User avatar
    [-] Kelby MacNayr

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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.

    User avatar
    [-] Eva Gersbach

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Anne Skinner

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Anne Grube

    #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.

    User avatar
    [-] South Coast Conservation Program

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Julie Micksch

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] 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

    User avatar
    [-] Susan Courtemanche

    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.

    User avatar
    [-] Jeff Bray

    “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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    [-] Tanis Gieselman

    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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    [-] Nancy Gothard

    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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    [-] Debbie Wall

    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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    [-] MARION ACHOULIAS

    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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    [-] David Trotter

    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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    [-] 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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    [-] Juliet Craig

    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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    [-] 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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    [-] Alex Inselberg

    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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    [-] Nesa7 White

    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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