NEWSLETTER July 1, 2017

The May 9, 2017 BC provincial election results were dramatically different than the results predicted by the pundits, the deep thinkers in the media.

Can a NDP Government of 41 members supported by 3 Green Party Members opposed by 43 BC Liberals survive long enough to start a healing process on our mountains that embraces democratic process that will examine in depth the negative side of every stakeholder’s behavior that is a challenge to the future of the province’s wildlife resource?

Civil debate conveniently ignores the real problems and therefore the TERMS of REFERENCE typically have no intention of casting a shadow over third rate behavior of stakeholders, bureaucrats and our political masters.

That point is made by Rob Clark whose memoirs of his 30 year career as an officer of Corrections Service Canada, Down Inside says it all: “I have no idea what lies in store for the Correctional Service of Canada.  Although I would like to believe that significant positive changes are possible, I have my doubts. The culture of this organization is so deeply entrenched and so pervasive that I remain skeptical of its capacity for genuine introspection”.

Wildlife management must be the mandate of the Ministry of Environment and the minister has to be a warrior who will not be ignored by cabinet colleagues contrary to our sorry history of treating the wildlife resource as chattel goods. (an item or article of goods)

Whatever our destiny democratic process is imperative, no walls every stakeholder who values the province’s wildlife resource has a right to participate. A Roundtable cannot be driven by consensus or failure will be immediate.

The immediate problem is to make it clear to every 87 MLA- Member of our Legislative Assembly in Victoria and their rabid supporter’s to-day and in the future that democratic process is not expensive. The fight for freedom on the other hand is mighty expensive, point made by the fact that well over 100,000 young Canadian men and more than a few women while members of our Canadian Armed Forces paid the ultimate price for the ultimate principle in a democratic society-FREEDOM.

Do your homework and you will find 66,000 plus died in the Great War 1914-1918 and 45,000 plus in the Second World War 1939-1945. The kicker- the day our heroes crossed the Bar they didn’t take counsel from their fear.

A good story to remember when you are at a crossroad in your journey!

I have been involved in three processes, two were blessed with Chairman of Measure the third was a dismal affair not a surprise when you consider Range Staff had no qualifications to chair meetings, a problem exacerbated by their rejoinder that consensus was the game.

The Okanagan/Boundary Region 8 Wildlife Advisory chaired by Dr. John Gibson and the 1992-94 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment Roundtable chaired by Bruce Fraser is a reminder that the chair is by far and away the most important figure overseeing public process.

The Okanagan/Boundary Wildlife Advisory collapsed in 1988 when the Okanagan B.C. Wildlife Federation Clubs walked away because of a Limited Eatery Hunt on the whitetail doe. A classic example of the Shifting Baseline Syndrome when you consider the endless demands of BC Wildlife Federation Clubs for more Hunting Opportunity.

Although the Rancher/Agrologist Co-Ordinated Resource Management Process was doomed to a short shelf life, a point made by declining public participation, the minutes from the Overton/Moody CRMP meetings (the bookend watersheds of Gilpin) are a reminder that even a third rate process has merit because you get to know the players and issues.

Terms of Reference the backbone of process that will direct the Chair where he/she can go and still get support from the provincial government of the day will have trouble accepting my vision i.e. a thorough review of the firewall used by every stakeholder to justify their behavior.

Should we be blessed with a democratic process I would preface meetings with President Ronald Regan’s popular quote; “Trust but Verify a product of negotiating a reduction of nuclear warhead missiles with Michail Gorbachev”.

I would also remind stakeholders of a message in of all places; “Range Management Handbook for British Columbia” edited by Dr. Alastair McLean 1979:

The importance of wildlife in the province is difficult to assess since it must be measured not only in direct economic terms but also in the well being of the citizens through recreation and quiet enjoyment.”

Recreation and quiet enjoyment is certainly not what it was a generation ago- you can travel for days in the East Boundary; Greenwood, Grand Forks and Christina Lake and other than bighorns adjacent to Highway #3 east of Grand Forks and the odd bear or deer on private property, quiet enjoyment in any serious way is a phenomenon of the past. A serious indictment of every politician, bureaucrat and stakeholder who has their sorry foot print on the Hunting Opportunity Agenda.

Dr. McLean’s vision of cows on Ungulate Winter Ranges is polar opposite and the backdrop critiquing the ugly Gilpin Grassland Saga.

How does a credible process deal with the major wildlife management issues without indicting stakeholders?

 

 

Wildlife Management

  1. The Sightability Index used by our provincial government biologists has no connection to reality in many British Columbia Ungulate Species Regional Population Estimates and Status Preseason Hunting 2011 and 2014.

 

The mule and whitetail pop. Estimates for Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary are over the top. Preseason 2011 and 2014- mule deer 28,000-42,000- pop. Stable

-whitetail    31,000-44,000- pop. Stable

 

Preseason 2017 ungulate estimates will be available soon.

 

I have two Freedom of Information packages that offer insight to Ungulate Population Estimates in Region 4 and 8. Tactically the work appears square-up but regional population estimates cast a dark shadow over the whole exercise for large ungulate populations.

 

To spike your curiosity I will send you a few pages that introduce you to the game: Naïve Extrapolated, sightability-corrected estimate, 90% confidence interval, density-deer per km, Sightability Correction Factor. I will also send you preseason ungulate population estima

Should you be bold or have a statistical expert contact to help us unravel the mystery of how some estimates have no connection to reality let us know and we will forward the Freedom of Information attachment.

Will it be a hopeless peeing contest paying qualified academics to critique what is quite frankly, pathetic dribble?

 

  1. Hunting Opportunity Agenda

 

The Hunting Opportunity Agenda dramatically increased the political footprint on our mountains and conveniently ignored our sorry history of long hunting seasons and generous bag limits; a point made by the collapse of the critical mass of the mule deer in the late fifties and early sixties in Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary. They were never seen again in groups of 30-40.

 

“Thus, the over-all mule deer population in MU 8 has probably experienced a slow decline during the last several decades”. The Boundary Deer Herd by D.J.Spalding-1968

 

Weak wildlife management started its steep descent with the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government which demanded more money from the province’s wildlife resource followed by the BC Liberal Government.

 

A few years ago trying to connect with former Director of Wildlife, Jim Walker because he was a Director on the Nature Trust Board, my wife found a letter written by Jim in which he made the point that the NDP Glen Clark Government wanted more money from wildlife. When we finally connected he aptly described the BC Liberal Government-“they don’t care”.

 

Sadly he just crossed the BAR but he did leave a mesage for his former Nature Truct colleagues.

 

“However as public appreciation of nature continues to erode, it is important we and  our conservation partners refocus our direction and make it a priority to educate the urban majority about our lands and the values they represent. It is not enough to acquire land alone.”

 

I will sign off and continue a deep examination of Hunting Opportunity in the near future by highlighting the major seasons for the downward spiral of mule, whitetail and black bear populations in the Boundary, our backyard.

 

I will also send you pictures as an aid in explaining the Ranchers/Range Staff Firewall- Biodiversity and Pre-conditioning and describe how one of the first and finest Wildlife/Grassland initiatives lost every fight to the cow- the 1470 acres Ed Boothman Ranch purchase August 17, 1972 and the purchase of 475 acres by the 2nd Century Fund of BC renamed Nature Trust in 1984.

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

 

 

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