5.3 Habitat Protection Legislation



British Columbia’s past strategy to protect caribou and other species has been to regulate land-use activities to reduce negative impacts. Canada’s Caribou Recovery Strategy under the Species at Risk Act expects that critical caribou habitat in B.C. be “effectively protected.” In general, this means all human activities must be controlled so that there is a high degree of certainty that caribou and caribou habitat will not be disturbed.

The Province has nearly 20 pieces of legislation that could affect land use, but these have a limited degree of effectiveness because they were not created with caribou protection in  mind.

Another challenge is that important areas of caribou habitat in B.C. have few or no regulations in place to mitigate the impacts from industrial activity.

Complete protection of caribou habitat would require new habitat protection rules under existing legislation, or a new legal conservation designation that would govern the full range of land-based activities in any given habitat. The endangered species legislation under development will help to address many of the needs of caribou.

23 responses to “5.3 Habitat Protection Legislation

    User avatar
    [-] Brett

    If the government is serious about saving the population of caribou they might want to re-think the land use tenure in effect in the kootenays that retallack is wanting year round heli access up the st Mary's valley (Purcell wilderness conservancy) which is one of the only truely wild places left in the southern region of BC meant to be a safe haven for all wildlife to go including caribou. People already do use this area for Rec use but to have 10 flights per day from helicopters year round would have a drastic effect on the stress of the animals especially considering this area is non-motorized access only.

    User avatar
    [-] Alexander

    Sounds like impacts from industrial activities should be regulated then.

    User avatar
    [-] Denise

    Higher level plan updates and orders are what is needed, as these must be implemented. This is legislated in FRPA.

    User avatar
    [-] Clinton

    Considerations need to be given to the ecological events that alter the landscape in each herd range. There is a false sense by many that forestry is the only force altering these landscapes, and that complete withdrawal from the landbase will result in pristine and undisturbed habitat . In northeast BC, the boreal forest is shaped by landscape level fire events. This has had more effect on the forested landbase than timber harvesting. These landscape level fires will continue to occur as part of the natural cycle despite our attempts at suppression. Has the government considered the effects of a landscape level fire hits these areas that are considered for complete protection? Forcing withdrawal from these area will also eliminate any ability to attempt fire suppression.

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    [-] Jennifer

    We live near the Ilgachuz Mountain Range. We are appalled that a highway is being put smack dab right through the caribou’s territory. In a region where you can’t hunt with motorized vehicles so it has less impact on the caribou, now paving the wilderness is an acceptable solution. Just can’t figure out the way the government thinks, the money that’s spent and how these ridiculous decisions get made.

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    [-] James

    This document makes it obvious that the provincial government is not serious about saving caribou, not serious about science-based decision-making, and not serious about cultural and political reconciliation.

    User avatar
    [-] James

    In fact, the provincial government already has regulatory tools that in combination can be used to effectively protect caribou habitat. But the provincial government refuses to use those tools, even in situations where their own provincial wildlife experts say that immediate protection could save a herd.

    User avatar
    [-] Tara

    Human activity in such areas should be NIL. Nada, none. No roads, no pipes, no electric lines etc. No reason for humans to go in and check on anything human related. No disturbing the area at all. Leave no footprints. We need ultimate protection of areas with no human activity so wild animals can survive

    User avatar
    [-] Bronwen

    Legislation should commit B.C. to recovery targets with clear, measurable objectives and
    implementation pathways. New legislative tools are likely needed, as current tools do not effectively
    protect habitat (see Critical Habitat Protection Assessment).
    Again, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue degrading caribou habitat while B.C. decides
    on a recovery strategy or makes plans for one.

    User avatar
    [-] Maryann

    Legislation should commit B.C. to recovery targets with clear, measurable objectives and implementation pathways. New legislative tools are likely needed, as current tools do not effectively protect habitat (see Critical Habitat Protection Assessment).
    Again, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue degrading caribou habitat while B.C. decides on a recovery strategy or makes plans for one.
    Legislation and protection objectives must be enforced. At present there is very little enforcement, if any, as forestry staff have been eliminated.

    User avatar
    [-] Shannon

    Legislation should commit B.C. to recovery targets with clear, measurable objectives and
    implementation pathways. New legislative tools are likely needed, as current tools do not effectively protect habitat (see Critical Habitat Protection Assessment).
    Again, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue degrading caribou habitat while B.C. decides on a recovery strategy or makes plans for one.

    So true, the caribou are here now. They deserve the best chance moving forward. Expand this critical habitat to needed habitat. Don't undermine their range and value as a resident of BC.

    User avatar
    [-] Jan

    Legislation with clear outcomes and defined steps as to how to meet and maintain those outcomes is definitely needed….in fact new legislation is needed to respond specifically to the current fragile caribou habitat situation.

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    [-] Paula

    We need provincial legislation that commits BC to caribou recovery targets, and the implementation pathways required to achieve them.

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    [-] Yvonne

    Habitat protection legislation must include clear objectives and schedule. It is imperative that industrial and recreational activities be halted during the planning process.

    User avatar
    [-] SB

    Legislation with clear, measurable objectives is needed ASAP. And in the meantime, all industry should be halted within the critical and potential habitat. We are losing the window to make a difference and by the time we figure out what to do – will it be too late?

    User avatar
    [-] Alex

    Introduce new legislation that is tied to numerical objectives in caribou herds. There needs to be the ability to stop habitat degradation immediately where caribou are threatened.

    User avatar
    [-] Jennifer

    There needs to be adequate legislation (perhaps new legislation) that requires BC to hit recovery targets that are clear and measurable with objectives along the way and implementation pathways. In the meantime, any industrial or recreational activities that degrade or compromise caribou habitat must be halted as the province decides on a recovery strategy and implements new legislation.

    User avatar
    [-] Ryan

    the government is only pretending to care about the caribou. the herds in the pine pass are almost non existent and yet they allow a pipeline to be built just outside of Chetwynd and allow the companies to continue working during the migration period.

    User avatar
    [-] Matt

    Will the plan include assessing whether new rules or legal designations would be required for the recovery goals? I think it would be a worth while exercise to assess if, under an ideal protection framework operating under current legislation, Caribou recovery could actually be achieved. If Recovery could not be achieved with current protections, part of this recovery strategy should be to outline what new rules and designations are required.

    User avatar
    [-] Disa

    Legislation should commit B.C. to recovery targets with clear, measurable objectives and
    implementation pathways. New legislative tools are likely required, as current tools do not effectively protect habitat (see Critical Habitat Protection Assessment).
    As previously noted, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue degrading caribou habitat while the province decides on a recovery strategy or makes plans for one.

    User avatar
    [-] Doug

    We need to protect the rainforest. This proposal would be a good start: http://www.vws.org/projects/selkirk-mountain-caribou-park-proposal/

    User avatar
    [-] Lorna

    While new legislation or new habitat protection rules are being developed, it is essential that current and planned for or applied for industrial and recreational activities be stopped or not approved where they impinge on ecosystem corridors that need to be restored and protected.

    User avatar
    [-] Emily

    Caribou need complete habitat protection – not just of particular seasonal ranges (e.g. high elevation winter ranges). There needs to be a moratorium on any further degradation of caribou habitat, including industrial activity (logging, mining, oil and gas), road-building, and recreational tenures.

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