United for nature: Supporting British Columbia's wildlife and habitat, together - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

United for nature: Supporting British Columbia’s wildlife and habitat, together

Baby grizzly bear cubs in the Canadian Rockies
Photo credit: Karsten Heuer

Y2Y joins a coalition calling to re-establish B.C. as a world leader in fish, wildlife and habitat management

British Columbia is known all over the world for its diverse landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity that once included plentiful populations of fish and wildlife.

However, a lack of investment in fish, wildlife and habitat management, combined with the impacts of resource extraction and a growing human population has severely reduced a number of species and is jeopardizing the future of B.C.’s natural legacy.

Our mountains, rivers, lakes and forests are suffering from decades of mismanagement and unsustainable use.

For example, in B.C. there are over 700,000 km of roads — a footprint large enough to wrap around the earth more than 50 times. This has permanently impaired our landscapes, fish and wildlife.

Habitat degradation and loss have reduced our landscapes’ ability to produce and sustain abundant fish and wildlife as they once did. The abundance of fish and wildlife — creatures large and small; iconic and obscure; common and rare — that the province once had has dwindled to scarcity in less than a single lifetime.

This is concerning for a wide range of people, including First Nations, butterfly enthusiasts, bird watchers, big game hunters, and wildlife viewers. We now have endangered steelhead and caribou, record low salmon and moose populations, and declining mountain sheep and mule deer populations in parts of the province. This scarcity of fish and wildlife has increased social conflict and threatens food security and tourism-related jobs.

As the province of British Columbia is learning with endangered caribou, it takes orders of magnitude more money to bring species back from the brink than it does to keep species from declining in the first place.

B.C. should be striving to strengthen its communities and economy, based on healthy and resilient ecosystems and abundant wildlife. This creates jobs and helps build relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations communities, creating a brighter future for our children.

Now is the time to invest, conserve, protect and restore our landscapes and wildlife to stabilize and restore what makes British Columbia special. This requires a commitment from the Province in partnership with First Nations, communities, and organizations to re-establish British Columbia as a world leader in fish, wildlife and habitat management.

The coalition asks for the following commitments from next B.C. government:

  1. Prioritize the conservation of wildlife and habitat provincially and support this by enshrining it into legislative and regulatory mechanisms, decision making, independent science oversight and planning functions. Fish, wildlife and habitat needs legislated objectives to ensure we do not slip into endangered species recovery across the province. This legislation will ensure equal footing for our mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, fish and wildlife. Science must be independent from political interference and science results must be freely available to the public. A review and modernization of other resource use related legislation will occur as well.
  2. Establish new, dedicated funding to restore fish, wildlife and habitat. Fish, wildlife and habitat cannot rely on annual allocation from the Treasury Board, therefore Government will create a permanent endowment for fish, wildlife and habitat stewardship. Government will dedicate all hunting, guide-outfitting, and trapping license fees, all industry wildlife compensation dollars, a portion of the royalties from new resource extraction projects and ensure all those who impact fish, wildlife and habitat pay into the dedicated fund.
  3. Create a new governance model for fish, wildlife, and habitat. Fish, wildlife and habitat management boards will be legitimate, accountable, and transparent.

In the first 100 days of the new government’s mandate it will:

  • Introduce legislation to create a Fish, Wildlife and Habitat endowment.
  • Dedicate all hunting, guide-outfitting and trapping license fees to wildlife management.

Y2Y joins the following partners in expressing their support for the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition.

Together, the partners represent a total of more than 188,000 members, more than 54,000 supporters and more than 750 businesses across B.C.

  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers British Columbia
  • BC Federation of Fly Fishers
  • BC Trappers Associate
  • BC Wildlife Federation
  • CPAWS British Columbia
  • Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association
  • Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC
  • Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative
  • British Columbia Federation of Drift Fishers
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia
  • Outdoor Recreation Council of BC
  • Safari Club International British Columbia Chapter
  • Traditional Bowhunters British Columbia
  • United Bowhunters
  • Watershed Watch Salmon Society
  • Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
  • Wilderness Tourism Association of BC
  • Wildsight