Along the scenic Highway 31A, between New Denver and Silverton, a developer has proposed a luxury resort for skiing and mountain biking, with a capacity for 1,750 guests a day. Gondolas would carry up to 1,500 guests a day onto London and…
Thousands of scientists are warning: loss of biodiversity and climate change threaten the future survival of humanity. The disappearance of Mountain Caribou is part of both of these crises. Protecting them is British Columbia’s responsibility…
The Central Selkirk caribou are Deep-snow Caribou that range between Nakusp, New Denver and Kaslo. Environment Canada has declared that all the Southern Mountain Caribou are under imminent threat to their recovery and must have immediate action…
Besides killing wolves and cougars to increase west Chilcotin caribou herds, the government also proposes reducing moose, elk, deer and even wild horses. Essentially, these animals would suffer culls because they are wolf and cougar food, and if the predators are exterminated, their primary prey will have to be culled too, to prevent a population explosion and overgrazing of the range. While there are moose, deer and elk in many places across Canada, wild horses are relatively rare.
Public review and comment processes for the following forest practices laws are coming to a close. There is just enough time for you to write some comments:
For Crown land logging: the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) — deadine July 15
The old Forest Practices Code was massively weakened in 2004 to produce the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). Now stronger rules are desperately needed to respond to the dual crises of climate change and species loss. These are VWS’s top priorities for amending the FRPA:
- End the logging of old-growth forests 250 years or older.
- Five-Year Plans with public access to maps showing the location and size of clearcuts should be restored.
- Provisions for protecting slope stability and watersheds, such as those in the old Forest Practices Code, should be restored. It used to be illegal for companies to cause landslides, but under the FRPA, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment don’t even investigate landslides.
- Consumptive-use watersheds should be a distinct category, identified in the FRPA and in logging plans, and protected under law, not under guidelines. This category should have increased protective measures.
- Waste volumes rose substantially under the FRPA while fines for it declined. This requires stronger regulation.
For more recommendations download VWS’s full submission to government here.
For Private land logging, the Private Managed Forest Land Act (PMFLA) — deadline July 22.
Government background information and online comment form: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/privatemanagedforest/ However, VWS urges you to write a letter instead, because the online form skirts the major problems with this law and program. You can send letters to government to PMFLProgramReview@gov.bc.ca. VWS calls for three important changes to the PMFL Act:
1. The Private Managed Forest Land Program should be mandatory for all private land logging.
2. The forest practice regulations for the PMLF Program should be strengthened to the level that is required on Crown land.
3. The PMFLA should not provide participants an exemption from restrictions on logging passed by local governments.
For more information download VWS’s full submission to government here.
Last year the federal Minister of Environment (EC) announced that Mountain Caribou are facing “imminent threat to recovery” because of habitat loss, and said that IMMEDIATE new habitat protection is urgently required. Unfortunately, negotiations between BC, the EC and some First Nations have already taken one whole year. The result is two government-to-government draft agreements: 1) a proposed “Partnership Agreement” between BC, Canada and two First Nations for the management of South Peace herds; and 2) a proposed “Section 11 Agreement” (named for Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act) for all the herds. The government is now seeking public comments on these two draft Agreements. The draft Partnership Agreement is approved by VWS and other environmental groups. The draft Section 11 Agreement is opposed by VWS and various other environmental groups. It includes the “Southern Group” (a.k.a. “Deep-snow Caribou”) of the Interior Wetbelt. This draft agreement would put the Deep-snow Caribou in much danger, because it proposes to take two more years of public process just to consider new protection. Meanwhile BC’s unsustainable logging and rampant oil and gas development will be decimating the habitat under consideration. Four herds have been lost since 2014. A well-organized industry misinformation campaign is telling people that saving more habitat for caribou will destroy their jobs and communities. To outweigh these falsehoods, it is going to take every possible person who cares about BC’s wildlife to write a letter to the government. If you care — act now!
See the government documents here. Fill out the government’s online comment form here. Click here to see VWS’s map showing how much habitat of the Deep-snow Caribou has been logged. Click here for VWS’s full 13-page submission to government. Many people prefer to write a letter rather than use the government’s comment form. Click “more” to see VWS’s key points for letter writing, plus email addresses to ensure your letter is received by government by May 31.
West Kootenays, Trout Lake —The Central Selkirk caribou herd lost another six animals last year; at 25 animals, it is in high danger of being wiped out. Yet BC Timber Sales (BCTS) is logging some of the herd’s last remaining old-growth forest along Trout Lake in the Lardeau River Valley. “I have been seeing caribou tracks on the edge of the clearcuts,” says Jim Lawrence, President of Friends of the Lardeau River and prominent wildlife photographer. “The two governments’ continued disregard for caribou survival is outrageous and makes a mockery of the Species at Risk Act.”
“This has been happening while the federal and provincial governments have spent a whole year talking about how they are going to protect more caribou habitat,” says Craig Pettitt, a Director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS). “Now the BC government says it wants another two years to complete new herd plans.”
A recent report has revealed that British Columbia’s greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions is not accounted for in Canada’s emissions reports. Old growth forests contribute tremendously to global climate regulation and carbon sequestration.
IN 2018 GRIZZLY BEARS IN BC WILL AWAKEN
to a SPRINGTIME SAFE FROM HUNTERS
The end of 2017 brought the end to all grizzly bear hunting in BC, except for First Nations’ sustenance and ceremonial use. During the election, the new government administration promised the ban for all of BC, but announced post-election that only the Great Bear Rainforest on the coast would have a total ban; the rest of the province would be subject to a grizzly bear “meat hunt”. Forty-five environmental and animal care groups, bear scientists, grizzly bear viewing businesses and artists sent a letter to government and media charging that the meat hunt was a trophy hunt in disguise. Other groups joined in direct consultations with government, and four thousand people sent emails with 78% favouring an end to all hunting of grizzly bears in BC. Finally, on December 18, 2017 the BC Government announced a complete ban, with the exception of First Nations’ sustenance and ceremonial use. This momentous decision is just cause for celebration by all. The government has also committed to implementing the recommendations of the 2017 Auditor General’s (AG’s) report on BC’s grizzly bear management.
A recent photo and video expedition has revealed thousands of Western Toads are dispersing into their forested habitat that is slated to be imminently logged. The images and video show toads under logging equipment, on logging roads as well as on branch roads into the logging cut blocks. Branch roads were constructed in February 2016. Two weeks ago, NACFOR had started grading the logging roads while hundreds of toads were migrating across it.
“Now they have brought in a feller-buncher, which means logging could begin at any time,” says Craig Pettitt, a director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society. “We recorded young toads all around their machine. We are outraged that the government and NACFOR would allow logging in critical toad habitat when it is clear toads will be killed left, right and centre.”
Final announcement February 1, 2016.
On February 1, 2016, the province and coastal First Nations announced the “final” protection agreement for the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) on the BC coast. Since 1/3 of the GBR was protected in 2006, ten years of negotiations between the larger environmental groups, forest companies and coastal First Nations finally resulted in a GBR conservation agreement. Part of this can be found at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/TASB/SLRP/LRMP/Nanaimo/CLUDI/GBR/Orders/GBR_LUO_Signed_29Jan2016.pdf
There is some cause for celebration since noteworthy improvements have been made in coastal logging guidelines and in adding 10 new partially protected areas which brings the grand total of parks, conservancies and partial protection designations to 38% overall. This is near to the minimum of 40-50% full protection agreed to in 2004 in a landmark GBR-ENGO protocol. One of our favourite watersheds, The Green, will be protected, but unfortunately, Gribbell Island, mother island of the white bears won’t be. Also will be some reduction of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.
Read the full review
BC GOVERNMENT CARIBOU MANAGERS REPORT
DECLINING HERDS DISPLACED BY SNOWMOBILERS
Top government managers of B.C.’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan (MCRIP) have reported that the plan is failing to keep snowmobiles out of caribou’s winter habitat, even as caribou herds race towards extinction. In their 2015 briefing report to the MCRIP Progress Board (1), the government managers said that caribou are being displaced from winter feeding grounds by snowmobilers, some of whom are riding in areas legally closed to snowmobiling. The BC Government’s own Mountain Caribou Progress Board has called for voluntary snowmobile closures to become legal closures. But meanwhile the government is allowing a booming industry of groomed snowmobile trails into mountain caribou habitat, where snowmobile clubs are charging $25 per sled to use the trails. And the website of BC’s own Ministry of Environment provides a handy list BC snowmobile dealers and their phone numbers, in case you want a snowmobile to ride in mountain caribou habitat: a chilling example of the government’s double-faced policies, in claiming such concern for saving caribou as to require shooting wolves from helicopters, yet ignoring the packed-snow highways that snowmobiles make for wolves and cougars to have easy access to caribou in winter.