MEDIA RELEASE | Apr. 10, 2019
Nelson, B.C. — Mountain caribou recovery is a hot topic in the Columbia Basin, especially since the loss of two herds late last fall.
British Columbia and Canada have now released two draft agreements aimed at recovering threatened mountain caribou, and the public is being asked to weigh in, through an online survey and a series of community meetings this month.
“This is an important and rare opportunity for people in the Columbia Basin to have their voices heard on caribou recovery,” says Canada Batycki, Nelson-based B.C. and Yukon program director with Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).
The two draft caribou recovery plans are for a federal-provincial agreement under the Species at Risk Act (Section 11), and a partnership agreement with West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations for herds in the Peace region.
While the partnership agreement provides specifics for the Peace, the Section 11 agreement is a “plan to plan” that offers minimal detail about concrete actions that might be taken for the more southerly herds.
Mountain caribou are a species found nowhere else on the planet and are highly threatened due to loss of habitat, compounded by altered predator-prey relationships, intensive backcountry use, and climate change. Once found in abundance, herds across the Columbia Basin are in serious decline, with some herds, such as the South Selkirks and South Purcells, already locally extinct.
“A particularly concerning aspect of the draft Section 11 agreement is the weak approach to habitat protection, with no interim protections in place while recovery planning goes on for another two years,” says Batycki. “To effectively recover this species, we need interim habitat protections now. Really, we needed them a long time ago.”
Y2Y is encouraging Columbia Basin residents to take this unique opportunity to get involved through the online survey at Engage B.C.’s website and/or participate in upcoming community meetings:
- Revelstoke, Monday, Apr. 15 at Revelstoke Community and Aquatic Centre;
- Nelson on Tuesday, Apr. 16 at Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre;
- Nakusp on Wednesday, Apr. 17 at Nakusp and District Sports Complex Auditorium;
- Cranbrook on Tuesday, Apr. 30 at Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort.
Meetings start at 5:30 p.m. and include presentations and question and answer period.
For further comment please contact:
Candace Batycki, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative B.C. and Yukon program director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-352-3830