In conjunction with the development of the new bilateral Nature Agreement, the provincial and federal governments will better protect species at risk through two pilot projects aimed at improving policies, processes, and information sharing.
In the first pilot, British Columbia, supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada and in close collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, will lead development of the provincial Fisher Conservation Program on Crown land. The pilot will explore how proactive provincial conservation actions can be better reflected in federal decisions to list species under the federal Species at Risk Act and how provincial tools can effectively protect species at risk and the mature forest habitat on which they depend. The pilot will also develop improved socio-economic information for consideration in federal listing decisions.
The second pilot involves both levels of government cooperatively developing a recovery strategy for the Western Bumble Bee and applying updated policies on Recovery and Survival and Critical Habitat Identification. The pilot will reflect modernized approaches to the Species at Risk Act, including setting realistic, achievable conservation outcomes for listed species and testing new policies for identifying critical habitat when habitat is not currently at risk.
Both governments are evaluating additional pilot projects to advance multi-species recovery and the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation.
Protecting the Spotted Owl
The Nature Agreement will mean new approaches to protecting species at risk and specific measures for the Spotted Owl, including completing an updated recovery strategy for the Spotted Owl that identifies critical habitat and a strategy for the reintroduction of captive Spotted Owls to the wild. To ensure the safety of the few remaining Spotted Owls in the wild while the Nature Agreement is developed, the British Columbia government is seeking a deferral of timber harvesting in the Spuzzum and Utzlius Watersheds. The additional temporary protection measure beyond the established provincial Wildlife Habitat Areas will provide added assurance that these wild owls are not disturbed.
These measures and protections will build on the significant efforts to date of the province. In April 2007, British Columbia initiated the Captive Breeding and Release Program on the advice of an independent Scientific Team of experts. Provincial biologists oversee all recovery actions for this species, including field research and population monitoring, and the captive breeding program. The Province captured juvenile and single adult owls to contribute to the captive population. At present there are 28 captive Spotted Owls. The province is finalizing its release plan to begin restoring a wild population with captive-born Spotted Owls.
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