The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson is on record with the media “That the possession of a grizzly hide, skull and claws will be prohibited after November 30, 2017”.
As always there are two stories with wildlife management; tactical and strategic, the small versus the large picture.
The tactical story assumes that less harvesting of grizzly bears will result in a larger population and therefore British Columbians who are concerned with the future of the grizzly can rest assured that the NDP Provincial Government has successfully addressed the issue.
The strategic story centers on the argument that the closure of the grizzly bear hunt will make it harder to address serious problems: lack of wildlife corridors, implementing credible access management and challenging harmful logging practices.
Once the anger and disappointment of concerned British Columbians dissipates, as it will in the immediate future, then marshalling the political will and financial resources needed to address these problems will likewise dissipate.
The ideal solution is ultra conservative hunting that feeds on the public anger and disappointment to continue the endless habitat management fight!
GOOGLE Yellowstone Yukon Large Mammal Wildlife Corridor and you will witness the work of concerned biologists dealing with large and small problems that demand attention if there is a future for these animals on the North American Continent.
Access management in our province is a pathetic story!
The scientific benchmark for access management is well advertised and explained by the following quote:”in order to maintain a naturally functioning landscape with sustained populations of large mammals, road density must be below 0.6 KM/KM squared.”
“Road density thresholds have been identified for several species and when exceeded, many species cannot persist. Closure and removal of roads has been found to effectively provide wildlife security and increase the amount of available wildlife habitat” Wild lands CPR- How many is too many: A Review of Road Density Thresholds for wildlife (no date)
The Political Reality and why anger and disappointment with an ultra conservative grizzly bear hunting season has a place on the BC landscape is well explained in an April 2015 Forest Practices Board report, Access Management and Resource Roads: 2015 Update
There is currently no agency charged with conducting access planning. There are virtually no proactive legal tools for setting access objectives. There is no legal requirement to notify the public about changes in access. Government provides encouragement to undertake local planning solutions, but offers virtually no support. There are no formal mechanisms for resolving access conflicts and there is little motivation for stakeholders to compromise. The result is that access decisions can become politicized. The board notes that the proposed Natural Resource Roads Act is not intended to solve these strategic access management issues.
Solving these problems through development of a single comprehensive piece of legislation has been the “holy grail” of resource road management for over two decades- the current version of this legislation (the Natural Resource Roads Act) has been under development since 2011.
Impacts of logging on Grizzly Bears is well known and explained in “Conservation of Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, Background Report May 1995”
BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Page 40 Logging confers some short term benefits on grizzlies in some areas, such as in the growth of berry- producing plants and other bear foods on clear cuts especially in the moist wet sites. Most of the benefits associated with timber harvesting are negated by the intensive land use and management that follows. Probably the biggest impacts on grizzlies from forest harvesting result from the fragmentation, disruption and alienation of their habitats; the increased presence of humans and domestic livestock that result with access; and human intolerance for bears.
There is an abundance of information forecasting tactics and strategy that implemented would assure a future for the grizzly bear in BC but the political will to do so is consistently challenged by the political imperative of most politicians, successful election campaigns.
Politicians who do champion responsible environmental management on BC mountains are going to be squaring off with politicians who promote jobs ie. the BC Liberal agenda which was highly successful in most rural BC ridings.
I am going to send you pictures that showcase the agony of the Gilpin Grasslands. Water management in rural BC is grim, a point made by many pictures and a reminder that when a critical resource gets no respect then in reality there are no surprises.
Fred Marshall, who lives in the Kerr Creek watershed near Midway, forwarded an email he received from Aaron Reid, a provincial Government Biologist from Nelson who is concerned with a probable Blue Tongue outbreak in whitetail deer.
Last November in a conversation with Colville, Washington Senior biologist, Dana Base, he thought 2000-3000 whitetail had succumbed to Blue Tongue in his management area.
The whitetail in the Hardy Mt. watershed north of Grand Forks had a Blue Tongue die-off a few years ago. Sad when you consider the whitetail, like most big game species in our province, have been ruthlessly exploited resulting in a whitetail population a shadow of a responsible management program.
I seldom respond to your encouraging e-mails, nevertheless I appreciate everyone.
Barry Brandow Sr.