Endangered Species

BC Endangered Species

The Wilderness Committee is working with other leading environmental groups to establish some endangered species legislation in BC. Currently, BC and Alberta are the only two Canadian Provinces that lack such legislation.

As the Wilderness Committee suggests on their website, an effective endangered species law does three things, including protect habitat.

BC rainforestHabitat loss is the main cause for species in BC to be in trouble.  “If you don’t first identify and protect their habitat, there’s no way that you can recover species at risk,” Gwen Barlee, Policy Director and Executive Team member of the Wilderness Committee, told me Monday.

Good legislation should also be based on sound science, and be immune from political interference.  The implementation of Canada’s Species at Risk Act suffers from political interference, and endangered species fall through the cracks, Gwen suggested.

spotted owl 4Ultimately, endangered species legislation “should identify, protect and recover endangered species in BC.  It’s astounding to realize that BC has over 1,600 species at risk in the province,” Gwen continued.  If BC is serious about having killer whales, spotted owls, or Vancouver Island Marmots, in our future, then the government needs to “introduce a stand alone law that will actually protect species on the ground” across BC.  I agree.

Polls have shown that from 80 to 90 percent of BC residents believe that “BC should have strong and effective endangered species legislation”.  Often, “people are surprised to hear that BC doesn’t have any endangered species legislation,”  Gwen explained.  If the current “patchwork of policies and procedures were effective, we wouldn’t have over 1,600 species at risk in this province”.  In “many cases they are voluntary policies.”

Water cascadingHealthy ecosystems “provide us with fresh water, and clean air, and sequester carbon which helps to fight against climate change.  And those are invaluable.  You can’t even measure the financial value of those services,” Gwen pointed out.

The government has struck an endangered species task force which is supposed to respond and make recommendations to government in the late Fall of this year.

If you’d like to help, contact your member of the legislature and let them know that you feel strongly about this issue.  Let’s be Beautiful BC – Super Natural BC.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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