Habitat and Sustainability (formerly Land Use)

Habitat and Sustainability Committee Chairs:

North: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

South: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BC Wildlife Federation Response
Proposed Water Policies
Water is nature’s lifeblood - all life depends on it, which makes effective management of our water resources absolutely critical to conserving our fish, wildlife, and habitat so that the public can continue to access and enjoy B.C.’s wildlife resources.  
As an organization that is committed to ensuring the sustainability of fish and wildlife habitats and the populations they support, the B.C. Wildlife Federation is encouraged by the progress Government of B.C. to modernize our province’s Water Sustainability Act.  Following is a response to both the proposed water policies and in large part the functionality of implementing the Act.
The BCWF believes following elements of the policies/regulations need revision or introduction
  • Water pricing  framework that can be used to ensure management, data collection, monitoring and reporting, infrastructure, enforcement and conservation objectives are met
    • Currently enforcement is virtually non-existent
      • There have been multiple areas identified where illegal pumps have been placed in fish bearing streams
      • The Kettle river has been on the ‘endangered rivers’ many times due to water extraction (illegal in many cases) without reprieve
      • Despite legislation which allows to sanctions/penalties government is unwilling to enforce them
  • All fees collected by an organization which is arms length from government and the political process
    • The organization must have autonomy to set fees to ensure objectives are met
    • Offences and fines should reflect the true costs of offences
  • Mechanisms to ensure impacted stakeholders have a voice in critical water decisions through local watershed management boards.
  • Protection of groundwater and dam safety should require bonding for commercial users
    • Bonding should be sufficient to ensure costs associated with decommissioning/failures will not be paid solely by the public
It has become increasingly difficult for local communities and various levels of government to manage resources on a watershed or landscape scale. The Water Objectives, Water Sustainability, and Watershed Plans will be critical new tools in conserving and protecting our rivers, creeks, lakes, and aquifers. The proposed regulatory framework must encourage and enable community involvement, with key decisions being made by stakeholders at the local level. This will allow those that are most affected by these decisions to be more directly involved in management and governance, especially if they are also willing to provide technical, financial, and community support. This new shared approach will need to include First Nations in all aspects of water decisions.
Water and land use could be made more effective with the establishment and funding of an independent Natural Resource Practices Board (NRPB) that provides reports to the provincial government. The Board would provide independent performance and compliance audits and reporting to the public on natural resource and sustainability issues in order to increase the effectiveness and performance of resource management in B.C. This type of oversight and reporting could be achieved by expanding the role of the existing Forest Practices Board to cover all legislation administered by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
While revenue from the sale of hunting and angling licences should be used to fund resource management, a similar model should be used to fund water the infrastructure required to deliver, monitor, and manage. The ability of local watershed councils to support watershed management plans could be funded an independent funding models are developed in collaboration with First Nations, local governments, communities, industry and other stakeholders.
Fresh water provides a foundation for the environmental and economic well-being of present and future generations, and the current debate on the regulatory framework is significant and fundamental to the public interest. It is important for those of us that would like to see greater protection for B.C.’s fish, wildlife, and habitat to constructively contribute to the modernization of an outdated regulatory framework 
Yours in Conservation,
George Wilson
BC Wildlife Federation

Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area: "The Case for Compensation"

In April 2013, a group of concerned citizens formed a group named ‘New Futures for the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.’

Their purpose was to determine the rationale for the government changes to the area and to decide whether to take action if they considered these changes to be inconsistent with the objectives for the CVWMA.

The following paper supports the objectives of this group and provides a history of the development of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. However, and most importantly, this paper provides a rationale and argument for adequate and permanent funding of the CVWMA.

Click here to download the report

Land Use Briefs

Ecosystem Restoration (March 2010)

Committee Reports:

2016 Q3 Habitat & Sustainability Committee Report

AGM 2011 Land Use Committee Report ( April 2011)

AGM 2010 Land Use Committee Report  (April 2010)