Critical wintering, migration and breeding habitats for a variety of fish and wildlife species will be better protected following the establishment of the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced today.
Located in the heart of the Sts’ailes First Nation’s traditional territory, the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis WMA covers over 1,000 hectares of highly productive, seasonally flooded wetlands at the confluence of the Chehalis and Harrison rivers north of Chilliwack near Harrison Mills.
Lhá:lt is the traditional local Halkomelem name for the area, which means the flat, productive land where the Harrison and Chehalis rivers meet; a place where eagles fish.
The newly designated WMA includes 201 hectares of private conservation lands held by The Nature Trust of British Columbia. These conservation lands are leased to the Province. Ducks Unlimited Canada shares title to a small wetland that is also part of these holdings.
The Harrison-Chehalis area contains critical wintering, migration and/or breeding habitats for many fish and wildlife species including all seven Pacific salmonid species and globally significant populations of bald eagles and trumpeter swans.
Members of the Crown Land Securement Partner Program (CLSPP), a group of conservation partners, have been working with government since 2007 to support the creation of the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis WMA.
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.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The establishment of the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area demonstrates the province’s commitment to conserving and effectively managing our province’s valuable fish and wildlife species. I want to congratulate all those who worked long and hard to make this day happen.”
Laurie Throness, Chilliwack-Hope MLA –
“The Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area is internationally renowned as a premier wildlife viewing area. By designating this unique area we are conserving important migration and breeding habitats for a variety of important fish and wildlife species in B.C.”
Sts’ailes Chief Harvey Paul –
“The Sts’ailes people view this initiative as a significant opportunity to protect the natural resources in our Traditional Territory. Our goal and vision is to ensure that our historic and current relationship to the area is not adversely affected by the establishment or management of the WMA, and that our right to act as stewards of the land and resources are not diminished. Great numbers of wildlife congregate in this area, while the salmon are spawning and while the water is high, including many forms of waterfowl. The WMA will enhance our ongoing efforts to protect the land for future generations.”
Jasper Lament, CEO, The Nature Trust of B.C. –
“This is a great day for wildlife conservation. The Nature Trust of British Columbia is honoured to be a partner in the designation of the Lhá:lt /Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area. With the help of our supporters we are proud to be contributing over 200 hectares of land – now leased to FLNRO – so it can be included in the WMA.”
Brad Arner, Ducks Unlimited Canada –
“The Harrison-Chehalis delta is one of the locations in the lower Fraser Valley where fish and wildlife congregate. Designation as a wildlife management area will protect these values while allowing for public use. Ducks Unlimited is pleased to work with our conservation partners, the Province, First Nations and many others who made this project possible.”
- With the addition of the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area there are now 29 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.
- Wildlife management areas in B.C. encompass over 246,000 hectares.
- The Crown Land Securement Partner Program (CLSPP) is made up of the following conservation partners: The Nature Trust of B.C.; Ducks Unlimited Canada; the Nature Conservancy of Canada; the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation; the B.C. ministries of Environment, and Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations; and the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
For a high-resolution map showing the Lhá:lt / Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/habitat/conservation-lands/wma/harrison-chehalis/map.html
For more information about wildlife management areas in British Columbia visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/habitat/conservation-lands/wma/list.html