Southern Mountain Caribou

Peace River Regional District

Whereas the Southern Mountain Caribou has been identified as a species at risk and the Province has announced a draft conservation agreement under the federal Species at Risk Act regarding recovery measures for the Southern Mountain Caribou, the goal of which is to articulate the actions the parties will take over the next five years to support the long term objective of achieving recovery of self-sustaining populations of the Southern Mountain Caribou in BC; And whereas the initial focus includes the Pine, Narraway, and Quintette Local Population Units in in the Peace River Regional District in northeastern BC: Therefore be it resolved that UBCM request that the provincial government consider the impact of actions proposed to assist with the recovery of the Southern Mountain Caribou will have on back country access, which is integral to the success of tourism in northeast BC; And be it further resolved that the Province be requested to commit to involve the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the process as they have significant knowledge regarding health concerns specific to the Southern Mountain Caribou and potential impacts to other domestic and wild animal species in the region; And be it further resolved to urge the federal and provincial governments to give community health and viability high priority when pursuing the worthy objective of recovering the Southern and Central Mountain Caribou; And be it further resolved to strongly urge the federal and provincial governments to enter into real consultation with all the affected communities before announcing decisions.

Provincial Response

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development The Province has invested 27 million over three years to support the recovery of caribou with an extensive Provincial Caribou Recovery Program Plan. Numbers of this iconic species are in decline across the Province. For example, in the South Peace Caribou, six herds have declined from about 800 animals in the early 2000s to about 220 animals today. B.C. and Ottawa have been developing a Conservation Agreement under Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act SARA to help this species recover. This agreement will be closely aligned with B.C.s own Provincial Caribou Recovery Program and include commitments to herd plans, habitat protection, restorative projects, predator management, monitoring, science and research. B.C. and the Federal Government in partnership with the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations have also been negotiating a caribou partnership agreement which will apply to the Central group of Southern Mountain Caribou. This negotiation was undertaken following interest from First Nations. Government recognizes that outdoor recreation is an important part of the lives of many British Columbians, and full closures of all snowmobile trails and access to the backcountry is not being considered at this time. As the Province moves forward into caribou recovery, the impacts of all land uses will be considered not just recreation. However, at the same time it is important to recognize the impact that these kinds of activities can have on caribou populations. Open houses on caribou strategies will be taking place in early 2019 in the South Peace.

Other Response

Canadian Food Inspection Agency With regards to your request for information to support this initiative, Id like to indicate that the management of disease in both wild and captive animals is a shared responsibility in Canada and that the involvement of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency CFIA is limited to programs pertaining to farmed animals. The provincesterritories generally take the lead on wildlife surveillance and management, except in National Parks where Parks Canada is responsible. As such, the CFIA has limited information and expertise that would assist in recovery efforts for the Southern Mountain Caribou populations. Note that in some circumstances, the CFIA has played a collaborative role with its federal and provincialterritorial partners when federally regulated diseases are identified as affecting wild populations due to their contact with farmed animals or vice versa for example, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis. In these circumstances, our involvement is limited to managing federally regulated diseases via surveillance and eradication efforts in farmed populations andor providing laboratory testing support when requested. It is encouraging to note that the conservation agreement already includes wildlife authorities from both federal and provincial governments. If through this initiative there is suspicion that a federally regulated disease is negatively impacting Southern Mountain Caribou populations, then I would encourage you to notify the CFIA so that we could provide assistance to the province in this regard.

Convention Decision