The provincial government has issued an order to make sure nests, dens, salt licks and other important wildlife habitat features (WHF) are protected when forestry and range activities are carried out.
The goal is to help specific wildlife species in the Kootenay Boundary region survive and thrive.
“We know many of these species are at risk and will have a much better chance for survival if these important habitat features are protected,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “While we prepare comprehensive species-at-risk legislation, we want to ensure these special habitat features are identified, and kept intact during the course of day-to-day forestry and range operations.”
“Wildlife species are dependent on undisturbed nests, burrows and other natural features for shelter, breeding and to raise their young,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “These extra measures will help keep these unique habitat features safe.”
Forestry operators and range tenure holders will be offered training to help them identify and take the necessary steps to not disturb the targeted wildlife habitat features. The new protection order, the first of its kind in B.C., will take effect July 1, 2018, and will apply only to the Kootenay Boundary region. The intent is that similar WHF orders will eventually be in place provincewide.
The specific WHF to be protected include:
- nests for the bald eagle, osprey, flammulated owl, western screech-owl, great blue heron, Lewis’s woodpecker and Williamson’s sapsucker
- American badger burrows
- grizzly bear dens
- significant mineral licks
- significant wallows
- bat hibernation sites
- bat nursery roosts
- hot springs or thermal springs
- Consultation was carried out with directly affected Forest Act agreement holders, directly affected Range Act agreement holders and local Indigenous communities.
More information of the protection measures can be found at: www.gov.bc.ca/Kootenay-Boundary-Wildlife-Habitat-Features-Order