Time to Speak Up for BC’s Species at Risk!: part 1

I got this email from the Wilderness Committee to share:

Hello Eldy,

Did you know that British Columbia is home to 1,900 different endangered species?Amazing plants and animals like the humpback whale, Nuttall’s cottontail, northern daisy and red-legged frog are struggling to survive in the wild, still unprotected by a provincial law.

Last week, the BC government released a new plan, which they say is meant to safeguard the province’s endangered wildlife. The 40-page document, calledProtecting Vulnerable Species: A Draft Five-Year Plan for Species at Risk in British Columbia, contains a lot of pretty pictures – but unfortunately not much else of value.

You can view the entire document here.

Although the provincial government promises better planning for management of endangered species, the five-year plan does not provide any specific actions or enforceable strategies for how this will occur. And most importantly, it contains no commitment to implement a stand-alone provincial law to protect species at risk. BC and Alberta are the only provinces in Canada with no endangered species law.

This glossy document may be nice to look at, but BC species need more than just public relations spin.

The BC government has launched a very short public comment period to allow people to share their opinions about the draft plan for species at risk. We say it’s time to speak up and let provincial decision-makers know that this plan is simply not good enough when it comes to protecting threatened wildlife.

Here are some key reasons why we believe the BC government’s five-year plan will NOT recover species at risk:

  1. The plan contains vague talking points rather than a clear, consistent and enforceable endangered species law. BC and Alberta are the only two provinces in Canada with no provincial endangered species legislation.
  2. The five-year plan does not include the necessary tools to ensure species’ survival and recovery. The language in the document is visionary but weak – using terms such as “encourage,” “investigate,” and “explore.” Unfortunately, while this language can be evocative it is not enforceable or binding. As written there is nothing in the plan to compel decision-makers to actually use meaningful tools, like habitat protection, which will recover species at risk in BC.
  3. The plan relies on the same patchwork quilt of weak regulations and vague language that has seen 1,900 species become at-risk in BC.
  4. What species in BC really NEED is a stand-alone law that is based on science and delivers habitat protection.

Here at the Wilderness Committee, we know that Canadians care about protecting rare and endangered wildlife. That’s why we’re asking you to visit the BC Ministry of Environment website and submit your personal comment on the draft species at risk plan. Click here to access the government’s online comment form.

The online form may look a bit confusing, but don’t worry – you don’t have to complete every section, just be sure to include your concerns insections 2, 3 and 5All comments must be received by the deadline on April 12, 2013.

Iconic BC wildlife like grizzly bears, spotted owls and wild Pacific salmon are counting on us to protect their habitat and ensure their survival.Please help us send a strong message by urging the provincial government to reject this five-year plan and instead implement strong, effective endangered species legislation.

For the wild,

Gwen Barlee | Policy Director
Wilderness Committee

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about what a good endangered species law should look like, click here to read a joint report produced in 2008 by the Wilderness Committee, Ecojustice and other allies.

Photo: Nuttall’s cottontail rabbit, Robert McCaw.

Thank you for supporting wilderness.

The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization.

I took the time to download the glossy and very pretty brochure-type publication from the BC government to check out for myself whether it had any merit.  From my perspective this draft of a five year plan to address the species at risk in BC seems to smack of political rhetoric.  It reads more like a carefully crafted pre-election campaign dissertation designed to lead the people of BC into thinking that something constructive might happen to address the serious issue of species at risk.  In my opinion it is a load of promises that are not really being made but could happen because the Liberals have a “plan”.  There is not one instance in this entire brochure that contains a concrete action or an enforceable law that will provide habitat protection.

Today’s “stone” is  Day 87  sitting in the sun, soaking up the healing rays between dog grooms. ahhhh


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