A volunteer committee is urging the provincial government to complete grizzly habitat mapping. (Ivan Hardwick photo)

Volunteer committee urges province to complete grizzly habitat mapping

Committee says only 18 of 37 watersheds have been mapped, province has spent $500,000 so far

  • Dec. 3, 2020 12:00 a.m.

A volunteer committee is asking the provincial government to complete a project mapping grizzly bear habitat.

In 2017, the provincial Auditor General called for a monitoring program for grizzly bear management practices, citing the fact that while many land use plans include objectives to protect habitat, many are not evaluated.

As part of the Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan, a 69,275 hectare grizzly bear wildlife habitat area was established, but only half of that area has been mapped.

“It’s our understanding that 18 watersheds have been completed to date and that there are 19 watersheds left to do,” said Plan Implementation Committee co-chair Cheryl Brown, in a media release.

“The province has spent $500,000 on this project so far and we believe it would be a wise investment to see it through to completion.”

The grizzly bear habitat order came into effect in 2018, and Brown said that logging license holders were already setting aside potential habitat, indicating industry’s support with identifying grizzly habitat.

“This deserves to have a high priority in the effort to stabilize and protect the grizzly population in the region,” Brown said in the release.

The committee is also urging the province to establish a comprehensive management plan for the northwest to protect the grizzly bear population.

“It is our view that this should be done in concert with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations,” she said.

“The plan then needs to properly supported through sufficient financial resources.”

The Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan was established in 2001, and covers over 2,1 million hectares of northwest B.C. ranging from south of Kitimat to north of Terrace, including several timber supply areas, tree farm licenses and wildlife habitat.

Its implementation committee meets once a month. It consists of business, commercial and recreation representatives, as well as biologists, foresters, First Nations and members of the public.

READ MORE: Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

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