Northern Spotted Owl, one of the vulnerable species in British Columbia.
Image courtesy of USFWS Pacific
VANCOUVER, BC (Mar 27) – British Columbia Ministry of Environment has recently released a five-year draft plan for species at risk. The plan emphasizes the importance of biodiversity in the province, and suggests various “themes for success” that combine the economic, environmental and community priorities to help protect the vulnerable species.
Minister of Environment Terry Lake said the plan outlines a clear path for the future of species-at-risk management in B.C.
“[The plan] brings together the numerous activities that the Province undertakes for species at risk and presents them as a coherent program, and it celebrates some of our key successes in protecting and managing B.C.’s vulnerable species,” Lake said in a news release.
The Wilderness Committee, Canada’s largest citizen-funded non-profit wilderness protection society, doubts the plan’s effectiveness.
Committee’s policy director Gwen Barlee called the draft plan nothing more than a clever public relations move, and says it lacks specific strategies to ensure its success.
“[The government] says, Yes, we recognize that species are in trouble, Yes, we love our wildlife in British Columbia, but when it actually comes to a plan to recover species at risk in this province, that plan is missing in action.”
According to the Wilderness Committee, there are currently 1900 species at risk in the province. British Columbia and Alberta are currently the only Canadian provinces with no specific vulnerable species legislation.
Barlee said that the right approach to ensure survival of the species at risk would be to create a stand-alone law protecting their natural habitats.
“We want to continue to live in beautiful British Columbia, and have a British Columbia that includes wild salmon, that includes Vancouver Island marmots, that includes spotted owls. We need to start planning for that, and we need to introduce legislation that protects those species.”
– Gwen Barlee, Wilderness Committee Policy Director
“We want to continue to live in beautiful British Columbia, and have a British Columbia that includes wild salmon, that includes Vancouver Island marmots, that includes spotted owls,” Barlee said. “We need to start planning for that, and we need to introduce legislation that protects those species.”
The draft plan is currently available for public review on the government website. The Wilderness Committee urges the public to come forward with their comments before the submission deadline on April 12, 2013.
Listen to my radio story about the draft plan for species at risk for Evolution 107.9 News here.