Vaseux–Bighorn National Wildlife Area Management Plan: chapter 7

7. Enforcement

Active on-the-ground management and/or periodic enforcement are required to prevent potentially deleterious factors from gaining influence over secured conservation lands. The Migratory Birds Convention Act, Species at Risk Act and Canada Wildlife Act prohibit several activities on all Canadian Wildlife Services (CWS) conservation holdings. Wildlife enforcement officers typically visit the Vaseux-Bighorn NWA on a routine basis, and can increase the frequency of visits as needed.

Officers monitor compliance with the Canada Wildlife Act on an ongoing basis and will initiate investigations as required. The Wildlife Area Regulations list prohibited activities in section 3, and include:

  • destroying or disturbing any wildlife, their habitats or eggs;
  • possession of any wildlife or carcass, nest, egg or parts thereof;
  • cutting, picking, removing or wilfully damaging any vegetation;
  • disturbing or removing soils, sand, gravel, rock or related material;
  • removing, defacing, damaging or destroying any artefact, building, fence poster, sign or other structure;
  • entry into any National Wildlife Areas (NWA) property where notice prohibiting such entry has been given;
  • camping or campfires;
  • firewood cutting;
  • vehicle use on the land base;
  • dumping or depositing waste or other refuse materials or substances that would degrade or alter the quality of the environment;
  • horseback riding;
  • bicycling;
  • rock climbing;
  • hang gliding.

As the NWA is federal land, the general prohibitions of the Species at Risk Act (sections 32 and 33) apply to all species listed on Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Individuals of such listed species shall not be killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken, and residences shall not be damaged or destroyed. If critical habitat of a listed species is identified within the NWA, a description of that habitat must be published in the Canada Gazette. Section 58 of the Species at Risk Act prohibits the destruction of critical habitat within the NWA.

Public education and awareness is fundamental to promoting compliance. Preventative measures such as strategic use of signage as well as public outreach activities and events, combined with an on-the-ground presence, are more likely to result in effective compliance. In this regard, several primitive roads exist in lower portions of the Irrigation Creek Unit and significant sections of the Northeast Uplands Unit, and of particular concern here is the use of dirt bikes and ATVs along these routes: such vehicles can more easily access more restricted and sensitive habitats, and consequently can cause significant damage.

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