The provincial government is asking for feedback on two draft agreements designed to protect caribou in southeastern B.C. and will be holding a public meeting in Cranbrook on April 30th.
Staff from the provincial and federal governments will be in attendance and available to answer questions, according to a press release.
The meeting will be held at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
One draft agreement is between the province and the federal government which contains commitments and strategies under Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act.
The second draft agreement is a partnership between the provincial and federal governments and the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations. The draft sets aside temporary habitat protections while developing a longer-term plan with local communities and Indigenous peoples.
The Southern Mountain Caribou was listed as a species at risk by the federal government in 2003. This past winter, the South Selkirk and South Purcell herds were translocated to a maternity pen near Revelstoke after numbers whittled down to historic lows.
Revisions to Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act will better align provincial and federal priorities towards management and recovery, according to a provincial government backgrounder.
The agreement also seeks to provide more information to stakeholders and Indigenous peoples who are concerned about caribou recovery efforts and the possible socio-economic impacts.
One aspect of the section will describe the location and extent of caribou groups, while another part of the section will outline specific caribou conservation recovery measures within the context of a provincial recovery program.
The partnership between the two levels of government and the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations will apply to Southern Mountain Caribou recovery efforts in their traditional territory around Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd and Mackenzie.
First Nations have been leading recovery efforts of the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou, according to the provincial government. Recovery initiatives include a successful maternity penning program developing mapping for critical habitat based on science and traditional Indigenous knowledge.