Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

Conservation groups are calling on the provincial government to stop logging caribou habitat near Revelstoke.

Days ago, the B.C. government announced a new approach to old-growth forests, including to delay logging in the Incomappleux Valley east of Revelstoke.

READ MORE: B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

Yet, there are plans to log more than three square kilometres of intact rainforest north of Revelstoke in the Argonaut Valley.

“The B.C. government is taking two steps forward and three steps back by attempting to create habitat while also obliterating old-growth habitat that caribou have been known to use. It’s a net loss,” said Wilderness Committee conservation and policy campaigner Charlotte Dawe in a press release.

“The government is sabotaging itself and caribou, not to mention wasting taxpayer money, by logging right next door.”

Conservation groups said the proposed clear cuts fall within the 150-member North Columbia herd’s critical habitat and tracking data shows caribou use the area.

Studies suggest logging and other industrial activity is largely to blame for the severe decline of southern mountain caribou.

Between March 1, 2019 to July 2, 2020, the province approved 104 cut blocks, totaling 19 square kilometres of caribou habitat near Revelstoke, not including new roads built.

READ MORE: ‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

Wildsight, Echo Conservation Society and Wilderness Committee visited the Argonaut Valley last month. They said the planned area to be logged is primarily old-growth rainforest with cedars and hemlocks over 50 metres tall and hundreds of years old.

“The rainforest in the Argonaut Valley is an incredible place, with giant ancient cedars,” says Echo Conservation Society Executive Director Thomas Knowles. “B.C.’s interior rainforest is a hidden ecological jewel along the eastern edge of the province, but we’re letting it slip away to logging.”

Conservation groups said the area is critical habitat for endangered southern mountain caribou, which have recently disappeared from the southern part of their range in the Kootenays after two herds were lost in the Purcell and Selkirk mountains.

Parks Canada quietly announced earlier this month that a caribou herd had gone extinct in Jasper National Park.

“Mountain caribou have already been wiped off the map in southern B.C., mostly because of the destruction of their habitat through logging,” says Wildsight Conservation Specialist Eddie Petryshen. “The North Columbia herd is the southernmost herd left in B.C. with the best chance at survival but they won’t survive if we keep clear cutting the old-growth forest they need.”

The Canadian government estimates there to be approximately 6,000 Southern Mountain caribou in total, between 15 herds across the Columbia Mountains and parts of the western Rocky Mountains.

The cut blocks in the Argonaut Valley are to be auctioned off by BC Timber Sales, which is the provincial government’s own logging agency. Conservation groups are call on the government to cancel the auction and restore the five kilometres of already-constructed road.

READ MORE: U.S. protects already extinct caribou herd

“If B.C. won’t protect this critical caribou habitat, then federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson must use his powers under the Species at Risk Act and issue an emergency protection order to protect irreplaceable caribou habitat,” says Dawe.

With little more than one per cent of old growth in B.C. still standing, conservation groups are asking why the province is allowing any logging of the little old-growth that remains.

B.C.’s definition of old growth is 140 years old in the interior.

B.C. is working on provincial caribou recovery plans to help caribou. In February, the provincial and federal government unveiled an agreement to add two million acres to protected areas in northern B.C. to help the endangered animals.

READ MORE: Province says upcoming caribou plans for Revelstoke shouldn’t largely impact industry or recreation

B.C. has yet to release caribou plans for Revelstoke. The province is aiming to release them within the year.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EnvironmentWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Road Rehabilitation & Access Management Workshop cancelled

The event was scrapped as a result of new social distancing expectations

Gracie Lou Brulotte is fundraising for a new and improved set of wheels. (Photo Contributed)
Fernie rallies to fundraise for Gracie Lou’s new wheelchair

The community has come together to donate over $5,000 to the campaign since Oct. 5

Katherine Russell's children hike with their Grandpa at Mt. Wapiti. (Photo contributed by Katherine Russell)
Blazing trails: Elkford Trails Alliance gets going

The newly-minted ETA wants to link up and map trails for locals and visitors alike

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Most Read