The signing of a new collaborative management agreement between the Province and Musqueam Indian Band has strengthened their government-to-government relationship and will result in more effective decision-making on land and water authorizations and stewardship in the estuary and lower reaches of the Fraser River.
The agreement includes a framework that will guide land and water authorizations through improved engagement between Musqueam Indian Band and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, including a component addressing resource stewardship measures. These measures are a key focus of the agreement and will be defined through joint work planning and reporting.
Possible stewardship initiatives may include:
- Updating best management practices;
- Commissioning research;
- Developing and communicating stewardship recommendations;
- Monitoring in support of compliance and enforcement; and
- Rehabilitation measures, where the need is jointly identified.
A stewardship forum is also anticipated to be established to support input and participation with stakeholders and co-ordinate stewardship initiatives with other First Nations.
On Jan. 1, 2015, administration of head leases held by the Port of Vancouver on management of the foreshore of the lower reaches of the Fraser River reverted to the Province. As an interim measure, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations issued two-year tenures to approximately 290 existing tenure holders while completing First Nation consultation. These are known as the Fraser River transition area tenures.
The collaborative management agreement builds on consultation done to date on the Fraser River transition area tenures. It has paved the way for enhanced consultation within Musqueam’s traditional territory, will increase certainty by allowing for the issuing of longer-term tenures for tenure holders – where appropriate, and advances the Province’s reconciliation efforts with Musqueam Indian Band.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The Province is continually looking at how we can leave a strong legacy of environmental sustainability for our children and grandchildren. We look forward to working with the Musqueam to enhance local land and water stewardship in their traditional territory.”
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“This collaborative management agreement builds on the government-to-government relationship that we have established with the Musqueam and advances our collective efforts towards reconciliation.”
Chief Wayne Sparrow, Musqueam Indian Band –
“We have been stewards of the natural resources on the lower Fraser River since time immemorial. We look forward to strengthening our government-to-government relationship with the Province and working with them to ensure we are taking a sustainable approach to stewardship of the resources in our traditional territory.”
- The Fraser River, especially in the estuary, is one of the most globally important rivers for salmon.
- The Fraser River and its lower reaches is an important economic and transportation hub for B.C. and Canada, contributing more than $4 billion in GDP in 2014.
- An urban settlement of approximately two million people is concentrated around the estuary and lower Fraser and is anticipated to grow in coming years.
- The Fraser estuary is an ecologically significant ecosystem that is part of the Pacific Fly Way for migratory birds, key habitat for endangered white sturgeon, eulachon and other fish.
Musqueam Indian Band: http://www.musqueam.bc.ca
Fraser River Transition Area tenures: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=4a0ed943316844018002e42489706eb4