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News & Updates

December 12th, 2017

Emergency Assessment for Interior Fraser Steelhead under COSEWIC

The federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) decided to conduct an emergency assessment of British Columbia interior steelhead rainbow, which includes the Chilcotin/Thompson populations, with the expectation that they may be listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). This follows the recently-released Committee’s status report on 10 populations of sockeye in the Fraser River watershed categorizing eight of them as Endangered and two of them as Threatened. The COSEWIC Assessment Committee will report out within two months on the status of the Interior steelhead trout.

The BC Wildlife Federation interprets the emergency assessment as a positive response from the ministers and the parliamentary secretaries from the West Coast. The BCWF and sports fishing partners, the BC Federation of Fly Fishers (BCFFF), BC Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF) and the Steelhead Society of BC (SSBC), are pleased to see this moving forward.

Read the BCWF news release Here


December 11th, 2017

BC Wildlife Federation Response to the Decision to Proceed with Site C Dam Construction

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2017- The BC Wildlife Federation fully expects the government will direct BC Hydro to compensate for significant losses of fish, wildlife and their habitats as a result of construction of the Site C Dam project. The BCWF position is that the impacts have not been adequately mitigated or off set for upstream impoundments, let alone Site C. The public is reminded that BC Hydro never came close to adequately compensating for losses due to the Peace Dam which was far greater in size and impact than Site C. The existing Peace/Williston Compensation Program requires a complete overhaul and appointment of a BCWF representative on the Board.

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Programs, (FWCP) continue to be an issue for the BC Wildlife Federation. The mandate of the compensation programs to address fish and wildlife losses appears to be diluted in terms of larger cumulative effects in the Columbia and Peace Basins. These FWCP programs have lost their way—they are supposed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations impacted by hydro developments. Instead funds are being spent on non-impacted resources and funds are being used to promote BC Hydro’s image. The funds are administered by BC Hydro and this is akin to having the coyote look after the chicken coop.

It was the BCWF in the 1980s that was instrumental in formation of these programs yet BCWF continued to be denied representation on the three Boards. Recent meetings with BC Hydro have been unproductive and the government representatives sit in silence evidently supportive of BC Hydro’s dominance of Board decision making. For a decade the BCWF has advocated that the compensation funds should be held and administered by a third party to ensure transparency and openness.

For more information, please contact

BCWF President Harvey Andrusak  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    Phone: 250-551-3674

President BCWF Region 7B Peace Gerry Paille Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Phone: 250-262-1612


December 8th, 2017

2017 Federal By Election Questions

In preparation for the federal by election in South Surrey-White Rock on Dec, 11, 2017, the BC Wildlife Federation developed four questions for the seven political parties and individual candidates to answer. Here are their responses to our questions so BCWF members can see where the candidates in this key constituency stand on issues facing our fish and wildlife and their habitats.

British Columbia is fortunate to have a rich diversity of fish and wildlife resources and the provincial motto since 1895 is Splendor Sine Occasu--meaning “Splendour without Diminishment”, but it is disappearing:

• Over 85 per cent of wetlands in the Lower Mainland have been lost. Wetlands provide critical habitat for amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and other wildlife and serve as the “canary in the coalmine” for landscape and watershed sustainability.

• The “Heart of the Fraser” is subject to development pressures that will affect both aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and seriously jeopardize the productivity of salmon and sturgeon stocks.

• Chilcotin and Thompson steelhead, iconic fish for British Columbia face total fishing closures and serious habitat threats as do other salmon species.

The BCWF is concerned that we are failing to adequately protect our province’s natural resources. There are federal 42 electoral districts in B.C. and, while each district has its own challenges, we need to work collaboratively to ensure the increasing human footprint on our province does not diminish our natural capital.

The following questions address the policy challenges and opportunities that we face in maintaining B.C.’s diversity of species over the long-term locally, provincially and nationally by the parties and their candidates.

Read the 2017 Federal By Election Questions and Answers Here


December 5th, 2017

Salmon Spawning Gravel Removal Needs to Stop on the Vedder River

The Vedder-Chilliwack River comprises the most important angling stream in regards to angler days in British Columbia. It is the cornerstone of the Lower Mainland’s salmon and steelhead fisheries. Nevertheless, it is a watershed that has suffered considerably in terms of human impacts to its habitat capacity. The BC Wildlife Federation is extremely concerned that ongoing gravel removal in the Vedder is damaging and a needless impact on the river system.

BCWF president Harvey Andrusak said, “Given our continuing collapse of salmon and steelhead stocks in the Fraser River and other parts of the Greater Georgia Basin, the BC Wildlife Federation stands firm against such damaging activities to our natural resources such as the unwarranted ongoing Vedder River and Canal gravel extractions. “

The BC Wildlife Federation and a number of stewardship groups met with three levels of government on November 27, 2017 about the Vedder River Management Area Plan and the Sediment Removal program and process. BCWF director Phillip Milligan and Dr. Marvin Rosenau, BCWF committee advisor on fisheries issues, attended the meeting with the Cities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNROD). Dr. Rosenau pointed out that one impact to the river that seems avoidable is the removal of gravel from its lower reaches every two years to provide freeboard for flood protection.

Read the BCWF news release Here


November 29, 2017

DFO Management Neglect West Coast Interior Fraser Steelhead

The BC Wildlife Federation is sounding the alarm about the current management of threatened Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead stocks. Despite record low returns for these steelhead populations in 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has allowed gillnet and seine net fishing of chum salmon, the only controllable source of mortality of Interior Fraser steelhead.

The current spawning population forecast for the Thompson watershed steelhead is 145 and the current spawning population for the Chilcotin is 45. An equal number of these fish is estimated to be removed as by-catch in the chum fisheries.

BCWF president Harvey Andrusak slammed the DFO for applying uneven and conflicting policies when it comes to managing salmon. Andrusak said, “The Fraser River chum salmon fisheries are well documented as the primary reason why Fraser River steelhead bound for the Thompson and Chilcotin rivers are now in a state of Extreme Conservation Concern as identified by provincial biologists."

Read the BCWF news release Here


November 24, 2017

Addressing Extreme Conservation Concern on Steelhead Stocks

The B.C. chum salmon fishery is certified sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel program. But seine net and gillnet chum fisheries, which take three quarters of the chum commercial catch, are threatening endangered Thompson and Chilcotin river steelhead.

Catches to date of steelhead in test fisheries continue to suggest that Fraser River late-run summer steelhead stocks are at extremely low levels of abundance and in a state of Extreme Conservation Concern. The current spawning population forecast for the Thompson watershed is 145 and the current spawning population for the Chilcotin is 45. These forecasts represent record low spawning abundances. An equal number of these fish is estimated to be removed as by-catch in the chum fisheries.

The BCWF, BC Federation of Fly Fishers (BCFFF), BC Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF), Steelhead Society of BC (SSBC) also wrote to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Minister LeBlanc on November 16, 2017 to request a review for an Emergency Listing Order under the Species At Risk Act for Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead. There are a number of factors that have led to the decline of steelhead that need to be addressed. However, given the current status of the populations and non-selective fishing impacts of the chum fishery on escapement, the steelhead population crisis demands our immediate attention and action..

BCWF President Harvey Andrusak said, “The genetic diversity and habitat of the Thompson Chilcotin steelhead should be the highest priority in resource management decision making. This is not happening and we risk losing this species completely if we continue to allow the chum fishery to unintentionally impact this vulnerable population.”

Read the BCWF news release Here

The BC Wildlife Federation urges it's members to take action by contacting their MLA's. Have your voice heard by contacting Minister Dominic LeBlanc. And Minister Doug Donaldson.

Find a full list of BC's Ministers Here


November 8, 2017

BC Steelhead Stocks in Crisis

Four groups representing many thousands of recreational anglers in B.C. are sounding the alarm about the decline of steelhead numbers returning to B.C. rivers.

The BC Federation of Fly Fishers, BC Federation of Drift Fishers, Steelhead Society of BC, and the BC Wildlife Federation are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government to immediately work together to recognize the steelhead crisis and to implement an action plan to prevent the loss of Thompson and other iconic wild B.C. steelhead stocks.

The Thompson River, a major tributary of the Fraser, once supported a thriving recreational steelhead fishery, but returns in recent years have fallen from an estimated abundance of 4000 spawners in 1985 to less than 200 spawners projected for 2018. This is a 95 per cent reduction in the return to the spawning grounds. Government officials now classify interior Fraser steelhead populations as being of “extreme conservation concern” with this year’s return shaping up to be the worst on record.

Read the BCWF news release Here

Read the full list of BCWF's recommendations for Steelhead management Here

The BC Wildlife Federation urges it's members to take action by contacting their MLA's. Have your voice heard by contacting Minister Dominic LeBlanc. And Minister Doug Donaldson.

Find a full list of BC's Ministers Here


November 1, 2017

Vancouver Island Hunting and Fishing Access Permitted on TimberWest Land for BC Wildlife Federation Members

The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) is pleased to announce a Hunting and Fishing Access Agreement between its Affiliated Club member the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association (VFGPA) and TimberWest Forest Corp. The agreement allows licensed and insured members of the VFGPA and BCWF access to TimberWest’s private timberlands for hunting and fishing activities until December 10, 2017.

“BCWF and TimberWest have a long history of working together, and this Access Agreement is particularly noteworthy because it acknowledges the trustworthiness of our members,” said, Harvey Andrusak, President of the BCWF. “It is a precedent setting example of what can be achieved by club volunteers and a progressive, community-minded company. We are happy that we are piloting a Hunting and Fishing Access Agreement on TimberWest’s private lands on Vancouver Island, and we look forward to rolling the agreement forward in 2018.”

Read the BCWF release Here

For more information on the agreement and to register for access please visit the Victoria Fish & Game Protective Association's website Here


October 25, 2017

Sturgeon Habitat Threatened

The BCWF is asking provincial and federal governments for a full environmental review of a proposed two bridge development over the Fraser River near Chilliwack, the “Heart of the Fraser”, which could irreversibly harm critical white sturgeon spawning habitats. White sturgeon is classified as “imperilled" in B.C.

The BCWF calls on authorities to hold off approving any authorizations until a full agency and public review is made of these applications, including comprehensive inventories, and assessments of actual and potential damage.

Read the BCWF letter Here


October 24, 2017

New Grizzly Management Report

The Auditor General released a new report: An Independent Audit of Grizzly Bear Management.The BCWF fully supports this independent report and the 10 recommendations made. It is clear the Auditor General engaged subject matter experts and identified the inadequacies for grizzly bears and effective resource management. The pillars of sustainable natural resource management are: Funding, science and social support – the Auditor General indicates that B.C. has none of them.

Read the full 74-page report Here

Read the BCWF Release Here


October 24, 2017

Pacific Halibut Fishery Mismanaged

The BCWF and the Sports Fishing Institute wrote to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Minister Dominic LeBlanc to express displeasure with the management of the recreational Pacific halibut fisheries this year. We are disappointed by the department’s decision to close the fishery on September 6 and the arbitrary allocation of 85 percent of halibut to commercial harvest without taking adequate account of the social and economic value of the recreational fishery.

Read the full letter to the minister Here


October 18, 2017

Grizzly Hunting in BC

A Message from the BC Wildlife Federation President

In light of the recent government announcement with regards to the proposed grizzly bear regulations (a ban in the Great Bear Rainforest and no retention of “trophy parts”), I urge you to write the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister of FLNRO, the critic of FLNRO, the leader of the Green Party and to meet with your MLA. The future of hunting, angling, and conservation in British Columbia is at risk.

It is our early experience with the new government that there is a rapid movement away from science-based wildlife management in favour of social and political hunter management. This issue and these changes are not about grizzly bear hunting, or trophy hunting, they are about sustainable use and hunting in British Columbia. I expect anti-hunting organizations will now move on to attack hunting of other species (black bears, cougars, sheep, goats). Given this apparent decision by government and other recent social-based decisions in isolation of science, I expect the recent marginalization of hunting, trapping, angling, and generally sustainable use to continue.

The BCWF has prepared a document related to the proposed grizzly bear regulation changes to help you advocate on behalf of conservation, fish and wildlife.

Read BCWF full response Here

Please email, write, and call your MLA and the following elected officials below:

1. BC Premier, Hon. John Horgan

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

Call toll-free: 1-800-663-7867

Mailing address:
PO Box 9041 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

2. BC Leader of Opposition, Rich Coleman,

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

Phone Victoria: (250) 356-6171 | Phone Langley Constituency Office: (604) 882-3151 

Constituency Mailing address:
130 - 7888 200th Street
Langley, BC V2Y 3J4

3. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Hon. Doug Donaldson

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

Phone Victoria: (250) 387-6240 | Phone Hazelton: (250) 842-6338 | Phone Smithers: (250) 847-8841

Mailing Address: 
Room 248 Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

4. Critic FLNRO, John Rustad

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Phone Victoria: (250) 356-6171 |  Phone Vanderhoof: (250) 567-6820

5. Leader, BC Green Party, Dr. Andrew Weaver

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

Phone: (250) 387-8347


October 11, 2017

Provincial Government's Wildlife Policy Disappoints

A recent decision by the B.C. government to close licensed moose hunting in wildfire affected areas in the Cariboo points to serious flaws in the current regulatory process. Access and ATV restrictions which apply only to licensed hunters, with no additional conservation measures, marginalize resident hunters, science and wildlife values.

The BCWF Wildlife Federation president Harvey Andrusak has written to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to express extreme disappointment with this discriminatory policy. Andrusak said, “The recent decision from the Cariboo Region does not meet the expectations of our membership, resident hunters, or the public. If we are going to restore habitat, reduce access and close hunting, the restrictions must apply to everyone. No-one in this province is above conservation.”

Read the full letter Here

Read the BCWF Media Release Here


October 3, 2017

Unfair Hunting Vehicle Restrictions in the Cariboo

The BC Wildlife Federation is concerned about a recent decision by the Province to restrict licensed hunter vehicle use in the Cariboo. The Province said this action was taken to protect big game wildlife in areas severely affected by wildfires this summer, and will be in effect until December 10, 2017.

President Harvey Andrusak has written to the Minister to express extreme disappointment with the new regulation targeting only resident hunters. The BCWF’s position is that vehicle use should be prohibited for everyone if there is a genuine conservation risk to wildlife in the area.

Read the full letter Here


September 27, 2017

Forest Enhancement Society Priorities Need Work

The BCWF has expressed serious disappointment with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) because they are not making it a priority to improve habitat for wildlife. The society’s service plan for 2017-2020 allocated only five percent of total project expenditures to wildlife habitat through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). The BCWF wants clear direction provided to the FESBC to provide a fair distribution of funding and focus to wildlife habitat through HCTF.

Read the full letter Here


September 26, 2017

Fishing Groups Want Steelhead Protected

The Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead are world renowned and a priceless biological asset that is in immediate jeopardy. The BCWF and partners recognize the current total salmon fishing closure on the Fraser as an important precedent for protecting stocks of concern. Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead stocks are equally deserving of this protection, combined with a unifying strategy to protect and enhance watershed functioning. Two actions are required to address the long-term decline of steelhead stocks:

1. Reduction of the mortality of all First Nations, commercial and recreational fisheries and;

2. Long-term investment in the maintaining of functioning watersheds that support these and other important salmonid stocks.

Read the recommendations Here


September 19, 2017

Reforestation After Wildfires

Post-fire season, the BCWF has written to the Premier and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development expressing concerns about the replanting of forests at densities consistent with current stocking standards. The worry is that status quo tree planting will create the same unhealthy drought stricken trees prone to burning once again. This approach neglects wildlife values – in its current form the Forest and Range Practices Act does not address the needs of wildlife post-fire. A new process is needed and it must be funded and science-based.

Read the full letter Here


May 08, 2017

Conservation Groups Unite For Wildlife

Nelson, B.C. Five of the province’s leading conservation organizations have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding in support of growing wildlife populations in British Columbia. The BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia, Wildlife Stewardship Council and the B.C. Trappers Association came together to announce the MOU at the BCWF’s Annual General Meeting in Nelson on Saturday.

Concern about the on-going decline of wildlife including, moose, mule deer, elk, wild sheep and caribou, brought the conservation organizations together for the sake of building and maintaining healthy wildlife populations for First Nations, B.C. residents, guide outfitters, trappers and the non-hunting public. The MOU follows the provincial government’s recent announcement that all hunting license revenues will be re-invested to enhance wildlife management activities.

“This MOU is another mechanism to ensure the province invests in our wildlife”, said John Henderson, President of the Wildlife Stewardship Council.

Jim Glaicar President of the 50,000 member BC Wildlife Federation said, "The collaborative efforts of our five organizations will help to ensure the province follows through on its commitment to enhance wildlife management."

Michael Schneider President of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia said, "This is a great opportunity for our organizations to work together for the betterment of wildlife in the province."

“B.C.'s wild sheep populations have been declining for years", said Rodney Zeman, President of the Wild Sheep Society of BC. "This MOU will help to ensure we put and keep wild sheep on the mountain."

B.C. Trappers Association President Brian Dack said, “We look forward to working with our conservation partners in support of growing more wildlife."


March 08, 2017

The BCWF Response to Grizzly Bear Foundation Report

The BC Wildlife Federation commends the Grizzly Bear Foundation for compiling a comprehensive report outlining some of the challenges related to the sustainability of grizzly bears in B.C. The BCWF is supportive of the majority of the report’s recommendations, including those related to habitat sustainability, research, education and funding. However, given the report’s position that “there is no one measure that alone can ensure the long-term survival of the grizzlies in B.C.”, the BCWF is disappointed that the report recommends the B.C. government terminate all hunting of grizzly bears in B.C., simply because it is “exclusively within our reach." This recommendation is not supported by the best available science, misleads readers and is not one of the long term threats to grizzly bear sustainability.

For all the details, please read the BCWF statement Here!


December 7, 2016

BC NDP on Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt Ban

The BC New Democrats recently released their position on the British Columbia Grizzly Bear hunt; a number of questions arose from our membership regarding that release.

Here are the BC New Democrat Party’s answers to questions about the details of their proposed ban submitted by the BCWF to John Horgan, Leader, New Democrat Official Opposition.

QUESTION: Under the new proposed policy would residents of B.C. have opportunity under the LEH system to continue to harvest Grizzly bears?

• Yes. This is not about being opposed to hunting. This is about being opposed to the grizzly bear trophy hunt and only the grizzly bear trophy hunt.

• B.C. hunters will continue to have the opportunity under the LEH system to harvest grizzly bear utilizing the entire bear. We will ensure we use science-based decisions to determine the numbers of LEH tags allowed in various areas. If there aren't enough bears there won’t be a hunt and vice versa.

QUESTION: Under the new proposed policy would non-residents of B.C. continue to have opportunity to harvest Grizzly bears?

• Yes. We are not proposing changes to any hunting regulations except as they relate to the grizzly bear trophy hunt.

• That said, the 2015 changes to allocations for resident/non-resident by the liberal government were wrong. We stood with hunters in 2015 when the government took away hunting rights from British Columbians to give more to foreign hunters. Resident hunters make a significant contribution to B.C.’s rural economy and way of life, hunting to feed their families with B.C. game and contribute to wildlife conservation activities.

BCWF: Under the new proposed policy would the NDP commit to manage the Grizzly bear harvest using the best available science?

• Yes. The government has been cutting boots on the ground and scientific research on wildlife for 15 years, so there’s considerable dispute about the actual animal population numbers. We agree with the BC Wildlife Federation who point out that a failure to adequately fund biodiversity conservation is one of the biggest challenges B.C. faces.

• We need funding for research into grizzly bear and other animal populations. Ministry staff needs stable and ongoing research funding to know if their population numbers are reliable. These concerns are reflected in the recent review of the grizzly bear management system released by MoF and FLNRO:

• Resources dedicated to grizzly bear harvest management are inadequate. Additional funding to improve population inventory, monitoring, data handling, and analysis is needed.

• Resources should be provided in a predictable manner to facilitate management needs and research requirements.

• The NDP tabled a bill last spring, the Sustainable Wildlife Management Act, to provide new and alternative funding, give wildlife and habitat a priority, and engage all hunting and wildlife groups to work collaboratively toward short and long term plans for fisheries, wildlife and habitat. The government rejected our bill.

For more information click here


September 26, 2017


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