National Caribou Recovery PlanBack to Blog
Tiss’ Going To Be A Long Row To Hoe I’m Guessing!
The following is the latest news release from the Federal Government regarding the surreal demise of the countries various Woodland ( Boreal ) Caribou populations. On the island portion of Newfoundland a vast majority of suitable habitat has long since fallen to the onslaught of unrelenting forestry operations where a “harvest first worry later” attitude prevailed throughout the history of the practice. Although we have witnessed the passing of two major pulp and paper operations, harvesting continues in a major way with focus now placed on the sawmilling aspect of the industry.
Don’t begin to take me wrong here as wood harvesting on “the rock” in all its glory is a century’s old industry and has been a driving force in the economy of the province, and yes, it is sustainable for the better part. However I always have and still am perplexed when I focus on the amount of harm and detriment I have observed to the fin, fur and fauna of this island by this industry that continued for years with the blessing of provincial regulators. It appears that nobody with authority cares or anybody dare upset the apple cart, let alone pick up the cross and carry it for these other diversities and God knows there were ample opportunities to protect and enhance these aspects of our great outdoors in conjunction with wood harvesting.
Cut that wood at all costs and be damned was and still is the mindset!!
This article outlines some partial measures that are being taken to protect our caribou and it is good to see now that the damage has been done, and hopefully lessons learned, that there are some ongoing breakthroughs to re-right past errors. Hopefully things won’t stop here and someday in the near future we see a full fledge outdoor policy that places equal emphasis on protection and sustainability for all reaches of our biodiverse outdoors.
The Government of Canada working with partners to protect critical habitat for boreal caribou
From: Environment and Climate Change Canada
News release, December 21, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario
The boreal caribou is an iconic species found throughout Canada’s boreal forest and in nine of our provinces and territories. For many Indigenous peoples, the species also has deep social and cultural significance. The boreal caribou is listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and its protection and recovery are among Canada’s foremost conservation challenges that we all need to address together.
Today, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the release of the second report on steps taken to protect critical habitat for boreal caribou as required under section 63 of SARA. There has been an increase in efforts to support boreal caribou conservation in Canada, driven by many parties including provincial and territorial governments. In recent months, we have seen increased commitments, investments, planning, and efforts on the ground to support the survival and recovery of the boreal caribou. However, gaps in protection of the species’ critical habitat persist across the country, and more progress needs to be made.
Progress has been made in negotiating conservation agreements with provinces and territories to accelerate the development of range plans and undertake incremental recovery actions on the ground. A draft conservation agreement has been concluded with Saskatchewan advancing caribou conservation across the province. We continue to work with all implicated provinces and territories to support actions on the protection of boreal caribou and their habitat.
Over the past year, ECCC embarked upon a number of important initiatives under the SARA related to boreal caribou, demonstrating the Minister’s commitment to implementing the Act and recovering the species. One highlight of the proposed Critical Habitat Protection Order on federal lands is that it will provide protection of boreal caribou critical habitat in the Edéhzhíe Indigenous Protected Area with the Dehcho First Nations, which is more than 14,000 square kilometres of boreal forest and wetlands.
Recovering boreal caribou will require a new level of cooperation and collaboration in order to make meaningful progress. The historic investment in nature from Budget 2018 is bringing Canadians together to conserve nature, protecting our natural and cultural heritage for generations to come. As an example, through investment in multi-stakeholder groups, innovative approaches to caribou protection and recovery are being advanced. These groups, bringing together governments, Indigenous Peoples, industry and other stakeholders, aim to accelerate collaborative, on-the-ground action in key areas across Canada, aligning their work with relevant provincial recovery efforts, including range planning.
“We welcome the momentum for protecting boreal caribou in Canada and will continue to work with all partners for the protection and recovery of this iconic species. Working together is essential to make a real difference in safeguarding this important natural and cultural heritage for our kids and grandkids. By doubling the amount of nature protected in Canada’s lands and oceans, our wildlife and communities will be better off.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- The boreal caribou was listed as a threatened species in 2003, and a SARA recovery strategy for the species was published in 2012. (Nearly a decade later mind you!!!!)
2. Section 63 Reports are required under SARA when any part of the species’ critical habitat has not been protected, and must be published for each 180-day period until protection is in place or is no longer identified as critical habitat.
3. In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada made a historic investment in nature with the Canada Nature Fund; a 1.35-billion-dollar investment in Canada’s landscapes and the biodiversity that they contain, including species such as boreal caribou.
Since April 2018, the following steps have been taken, which, in various ways, support and are of relevance to the recovery and protection of boreal caribou critical habitat in Labrador:
-The Province (Newfoundland & Labrador) continues to monitor and manage caribou habitat on the landscape through various legislated processes that manage land use activities. Notably, proposed land-use activities may be approved or rejected by the Provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, based on the potential to impact caribou or their habitat, which help to ensure the protection of caribou core areas, and to provide mitigations that will limit disturbance within the range
-The Province continues to undertake recovery and management planning activities, which will feature and support future land use planning, and habitat protection through forest management processes, such as coordinated forestry planning with the Innu Nation within the Red Wine Mountain range which prohibits commercial forestry activities within the reserve, with only small-scale domestic harvest permitted. This reserve is in place for the 2018 to 2022 forestry planning cycle
-The Province continues to LIMIT forest harvesting during the sensitive calving period
Canada recognizes the relative intactness of the three local ranges in Labrador and the processes the Province already has in place to manage land use and critical habitat to ensure it is effectively managed consistent with the federal recovery strategy. Building on these processes, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador have been negotiating a draft conservation agreement in principle under Section 11 of SARA for boreal caribou, and are committed to concluding it in the near future. This draft agreement intends to codify concrete measures of relevance to the protection and recovery of the species and its critical habitat, and will provide a framework for achieving the critical habitat outcomes, among other caribou recovery outcomes sought by the Province.