The Province is protecting an additional 2,800 hectares of important and sensitive grasslands in Kamloops announced Environment Minister Terry Lake.
The Ministry of Environment is adding a total of 1,385 hectares to the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area. The additions will provide for a greater continuous area of sensitive grasslands and associated critical wildlife habitat being protected. This area is home to three grassland communities within the bunchgrass zone: the lower, middle and upper grasslands. Nowhere else in western North America is this transition between grassland communities found in such close proximity. Found at higher elevations are dry Ponderosa Pine and Interior Douglas-fir forests.
Visitors can find cool, dry forests and several small lakes encompassed by rolling hills and long, yellow grasslands. Just like the surrounding environment, a variety of wildlife can be found within the boundaries of Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, including California bighorn sheep, white tail and mule deer, moose, sharp-tail grouse, owls and black bears. Many species at risk also make their home here, including the American Badger and Lewis' woodpecker.
A number of administrative corrections to the boundary of the protected area are also being made, adding small pieces of land to the protected area.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is better protecting wildlife habitat in the Kamloops area, following new additions to the Dewdrop-Rosseau Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Approximately 1,478 hectares of land have been added to the existing Dewdrop-Rosseau Creek Wildlife Management Area, increasing its overall size by over a third, to 5,616 hectares. The additions fill in the gap of territory between the existing Wildlife Management Area and the western border of Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area.
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation originally helped to purchase one of the sites added to the Wildlife Management Area.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations works to maintain and restore the province's ecological diversity of fish and wildlife species and their habitats. One way the ministry meets these goals is through the management of the province's various types of conservation lands, including the establishment of wildlife management areas under section 4 of the Wildlife Act. This designation gives the ministry additional tools to manage the land and associated land uses.
Terry Lake, Minister of Environment -
"The grassland areas north of Kamloops Lake are recognized for their importance to wildlife. Most of this area is now included in the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, Tranquille Ecological Reserve, McQueen Creek Ecological Reserve, Dewdrop-Rosseau Creek Wildlife Management Area and Tranquille Wildlife Management Area."
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"Wildlife Management Areas represent a strong tool in protecting critical wildlife habitat. Our government will continue to seek new opportunities like this one to establish or expand this valuable conservation tool."
Phil Youwe, director, Grasslands Conservation Council of B.C. -
"The Grasslands Conservation Council of BC applauds the Province and the City of Kamloops for making the decision to advance the conservation and management of these lands, while allowing for the continuation of ranching. We also wish to recognize all the volunteers who contributed hundreds of hours into the regional land use planning processes. The additions will improve the connectivity of these lands for the long-term benefit of the plant and animal communities and for people to enjoy now and in the future."
Jo-Ann Fox, program manager, Southern Interior Weed Management Committee -
"The Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area contains important and diverse ecosystems and has been identified as a high priority area by the SIWMC committee members for many years. The Southern Interior Weed Management Committee is pleased the Province is further protecting these unique grasslands and giving British Columbians a greater range to explore."
- The Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area was established in 1996. The Dewdrop-Rosseau Creek Management Area was established in 1987.
- The Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area will now be 15,712 hectares in size.
- British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions and the third largest protected areas system in North America.
- British Columbia has 1,030 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering nearly 14 million hectares or approximately 14.3 per cent of the provincial land base.
- Parking fees were eliminated at provincial parks in 2011, making them more accessible to B.C. families.
- Previous wildlife management area announcements this year include the expansion of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area (March 15), the establishment of the McCowan-Taggart/ ns?k'?niw't Wildlife Management Area (March 19) and the establishment of the Cranberry Marsh/Starratt Wildlife Management Area (March 28).
- There are 27 wildlife management areas in B.C. ranging in size from the 17-hectare Coquitlam River Wildlife Management Area to the 122,500-hectare Todagin Wildlife Management Area in northwestern B.C.
- More than 243,000 hectares in the province are now designated as WMAs.
- Several partners assist the Province with the background work required to recommend sites for designation including Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Nature Trust of BC, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation also contributes funding to help with designations and for day-to-day management of the sites after they are designated.
For more information about Lac du Bois visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/lacdubois_grass
For more information about BC Parks visit: www.BCParks.ca
For other information about wildlife management areas in British Columbia visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/habitat/conservation-lands/docs/wma_qa_032013.pdf
To learn more about the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund visit: www.hctf.ca/
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations