OPINION: Wildlife habitat losing every fight with forestry and agriculture
The purpose of this newsletter is to give you facts that with few exceptions can be corroborated that illustrate why nothing less than a complete overhaul of the management of our wildlife and wildlife habitat resource can reverse the dramatic decline in many wildlife populations and the steady compromise of critical wildlife habitat by other stakeholder interests.
I have been on the phone many times since that last newsletter obtaining more information that showcases the failure of wildlife and wildlife habitat management to reflect the values of most British Columbians.
I am sending you a copy of a letter in which I again asked Minister Steve Thomson’s staff to review their support for an aggressive motorized vehicle recreation agenda on the Gilpin Grasslands. Contrary to the BC Liberal Government’s approach to access management the Regional District East Kootenay Area; Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford has an exemplary access management agenda in co-ordination with the BC Conservation Service. I thank Conservation officer, Inspector Joe Caravetta for the information. This is the link: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/eco/accessmaps.htm
I have submitted a Forest Practices Board complaint protesting the largest clear cut I have ever witnessed. The clear cut is in the Dry Creek watershed which is immediately adjacent to Boundary Creek 19KM north of Hwy. #3 near Greenwood. Boundary Creek is an important tributary of the Kettle River as it has many feeder streams flowing into it. In due course I will send pictures.
Other than stating the obvious that the clear cut is a virtual dead zone for wildlife and an example of contempt for water management I also submitted the BC Trapper Association Position paper on Forest Practices plus a copy of an article in the Vancouver Sun dated Nov. 8, 2014 titled “Hunters, guides, trappers call for more oversight of resource sector”. The salient point in the article says it all “The BC. Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters of B.C. and BC Trappers believe the government’s move in the past decade to rely on professionals hired by industry to make decisions on the land base with little oversight has failed”. Large clearcuts are destroying the integrity of registered trap lines province wide.
Last June Vancouver Sun outdoor writer, Larry Pynn wrote four articles describing the sorry state of fish bearing streams in the Fraser Valley. In two of the articles biologist Mike Pearson was blunt in describing the farming practices that were the major problem. Mike has agreed to come to Grand Forks before “green up” end of March/early April.
The plan is to film Mike critiquing the management of Lost Lake Lagoon; a small marsh immediately adjacent to Nature Trust property on the Gilpin grasslands; Gilpin Creek and Eholt Creek. Remember Eholt is a fish bearing stream immediately adjacent to Highway #3 and is the benchmark for stream management in our province. You can find my comments on the management of Eholt Creek on www.wildlifeheritageforever.comand Al Grant’s comment on www.boundaryalliance.org.
I am still trying to get an opinion from both Federal Fisheries and Environment Canada on who has the statutory authority to rule on the four rows of manure adjacent to the Kettle River on Kevin LaFond’s farm. The issue that will decide whether this is a provincial or federal decision is the Kettle River’s status as a source of water significant to salmon in the Columbia River.
The management of the Kettle River in the future may well be influenced by the Washington State First Nation’s salmon enhancement agenda that will result in salmon successfully traversing the Grand Coolee Dam. In a recent conversation with Dan Base, the senior biologist for the NE corner of Washington State he is convinced it’s going to happen.
The allocation process that has resulted in outfitters getting back some of the hunting opportunity permits they lost in negotiations with the BC Wildlife Federation in past years has resulted in a lot of media attention and a lot of bad feelings between resident hunters and outfitters. GOABC and BCWF have always had an adversarial relationship in allocation of hunting permits but to get into a media fight when the BC Liberal Government hunting opportunity agenda in concert with all the problems wildlife species face every year to survive that has resulted in the collapse of many wildlife populations is absolute madness. This newsletter is all about making the case that our wildlife resource is more important than hunting and therefore hunting seasons and access management should reflect responsible management which is certainly not the case.
In an attempt to generate more light than heat I have asked my son as I am asking you to help compile an accurate list of the hunting opportunity demanded and received by the stakeholder groups that meet with ungulate specialist, Gerald Kuzyk twice a year: BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters of BC and the BC Trappers Association. The non-consumptive users of our wildlife resource then can decide who is credible in the fight to demand responsible wildlife management!
Remember the immediate objective is to strengthen the argument for a wildlife advisory roundtable of all stakeholders, one for each of the eight wildlife regions in our province. A roundtable would not have statutory authority but it has to have enough political influence to challenge the exceptionally long hunting seasons, lack of a meaningful access management agenda and the unacceptable percent of money generated from hunting committed to general revenue that has resulted in inadequate funding for an effective conservation service and staffing and programs critical to wildlife management.
Needless to say wildlife habitat is losing virtually every fight with forestry companies and the agriculture sector.
I will send you a newsletter in the immediate future sharing my thoughts on wildlife management as a result of conversations with provincial ungulate specialist, Gerald Kuzyk, Washington State biologist, Dana Base, West Coast Environmental Law employee, Andrew Gage, NDP MLA Katrine Conroy, BC Liberal MLA Gordie Hogg and Environmentalists Vicky Husband and Gwen Barlee.