Saturday July 9, 2011

BC Gov't News

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Task force panel to generate "Species At Risk" report for government

Released by the BC Government


he Province is inviting public comments on a new report that recommends short- and long-term actions to protect B.C.’s species at risk. Developed by an independent, 10-member task force, the report was released today by Environment Minister Terry Lake.

“The task force has done a remarkable job of balancing diverse perspectives, reaching consensus and setting out a vision for the decade ahead,” said Lake. “The issues around species at risk are critically important and also highly complex, and that’s why the Province is inviting public comments and closely reviewing the recommendations to help determine future steps.”

The task force was announced in the August, 2009 speech from the throne. Members (see backgrounder) were chosen for their experience and/or expertise in a wide range of sectors, including environmental protection, mining, ranching, academia, resource management and partnerships with First Nations to create a small but balanced group of well-respected individuals.

“I believe the task force has come up with recommendations that, if implemented, will put British Columbia in a leadership position in Canada for managing species at risk – fostering their recovery while at the same time enabling B.C.’s natural resource sectors to continue to generate wealth,” said Pierre Gratton, then president and CEO of the Mining Association of B.C.

The report makes 16 recommendations addressing legislation, environmental management, First Nations engagement and public engagement (see backgrounder for a complete list). Many build on actions and directions already underway.

For example, the “one window, one process” approach coordinated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations provides an opportunity to more consistently consider species at risk in natural resource decision-making. Similarly, recent resource sector shifts to integrated, area-based management align with task force recommendations for ecosystem-based management, and recommendations relating to First Nations are consistent with the principles in the Province’s New Relationship document.

“We were asked to develop practical and fiscally responsible recommendations,” said task force chair Bruce Fraser. “Accordingly, we have elected to build on the many conservation initiatives that have already been accomplished. Our report is aimed at making early gains on both public and private land while proposing direction for the long term that will help to address the continuing pressures of development and climate change.”

The Province will study the report in detail over the next several months before delivering a formal response. In the meantime, British Columbians are encouraged to read and comment on the task force report through the Ministry of Environment website.

"The members of the task force worked diligently over a six-month period to agree on recommendations for improving and strengthening existing legislation dealing with species at risk, together with the need for further scientific research and public engagement," said Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation.

As government formulates its plan, all feedback received will be valued and the implications on all interests will be fully considered.

Species at Risk Task Force Recommendations




First Nations Engagement

Public Engagement

Species at Risk Task Force Members


Bruce Fraser (chair) holds a PhD in plant ecology from the University of British Columbia. He recently served as chair of the Forest Practices Board where issues of species at risk were periodically raised.

Mel Arnold has been on the B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) board of directors for seven years. He serves as the Shuswap regional representative on the BCWF provincial wildlife committee and as a member of the South Thompson Wildlife Stewardship committee.

Pierre Gratton was president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia, which is the predominant voice of mining and mineral exploration in the province. He is now president of the Mining Association of Canada.

Judith Guichon is the owner/operator of Gerard Guichon Ranch Limited in the Nicola Valley in the Interior. She is also a director of the Grassland Conservation Council of British Columbia and president of the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association.

David Hatler, PhD is the proprietor of Wildeor Wildlife Research and Consulting in the Smithers area, where he undertakes wildlife and habitat impact assessments and provides mitigation, reclamation and management advice in natural resource sectors.

Daryll Hebert, PhD is the president of Encompass Strategic Resources in Creston, where he develops system, research and management plans for natural resource companies. He also worked as a regional wildlife biologist for 19 years.

Ben Koop, PhD is a professor and Canada research chair in the department of biology at the University of Victoria. He has served several years as department chair and director of the Centre for Biomedical Research.

January 2011 Report of the British Columbia Task Force on Species at Risk  

Peter Robinson is the chief executive officer of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is a member of the Province of British Columbia’s Climate Action Team and the Ontario Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Panel.

Derek Thompson is an associate professor at Royal Roads University where he teaches a masters course in environmental governance and has represented the university as a teaching member of the Canada-China Environmental Sustainability Project.

David Walkem is the Chief of the Cooks Ferry Indian Band and vice-chair of the Nicola Similkameen Innovative Forestry Society. He is also the president of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, which manages a forest licence for eight shareholder Indian bands in the BC interior.

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