By: The Working Forest Staff
Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development; Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman, Tŝilhqot’in National Government; and Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have commented on the first roundtable discussion on efforts to protect moose in the Cariboo Chilcotin:
“Government representatives, First Nations and a variety of stakeholders met in Williams Lake on Dec. 4, 2018, to discuss lasting solutions to benefit moose,” said Donaldson. “Moose are an essential part of the way of life for many people who live in the region. Unfortunately, their habitat has been affected by pine beetle, the recent wildfires and a variety of land management activities. These events and other factors are affecting the abundance and distribution of moose and other species. Given the complexity of these issues, it is important to ensure everyone is a part of the solution. We look forward to continuing these collaborations with future roundtable meetings with our First Nations partners and other stakeholders to help improve the resilience of our landscapes and help moose numbers recover. This first roundtable session was designed to address what we know, and don’t know, about changes in the Cariboo-Chilcotin ecosystem, as well as the key threats and potential solutions to the moose decline, among other issues. Working together to protect wildlife species is the way of the future and a path to both reconciliation and environmental stewardship. To that end, the Province will continue working with Indigenous nations to enhance our collaboration and co-management of moose.”
Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman, Tŝilhqot’in National Government attended the meeting and said it was a good start to important work that could not have been done without everyone present. “Within the Moose Co-Management Agreement signed this fall with the Province, the Tŝilhqot’in specifically requested that these series of moose roundtables occur in order to share important ideas and information between all stakeholders, governments and First Nation governments. Moose is an important resource for many people in this region, meaning we need to work together to find solutions to this complicated issue. We are also well overdue to revisit the Land Use Plan for this area. With mountain pine beetle epidemic, increased logging and the 2017 wildfires, revisiting this Land Use Plan is highly recommended,” Alphonse said.
“Processes such as this roundtable, that foster understanding between groups and help build bridges, need to continue. Our title case is bringing about many changes and dialogue like this is needed to guide that change. We want to have the best management zone in the province. This solutions roundtable was a good start.”
Fraser attended the meeting and also addressed participants.
“We came together to show our shared commitment to caring for a species that makes up a critical part of the ecosystem and the lives of many people in the Cariboo Chilcotin,” said Fraser.
“Moose do not recognize administrative or territorial boundaries, or the policies and laws that affect their populations and habitats. That’s why we came together with representatives from First Nations and provincial government, recreational users, tenure holders, industry and other stakeholders to discuss all the activities that have an impact on moose – from predators to human-caused mortality. Together, we can manage risks to ensure healthy moose populations for generations to come. First Nations have lived in the region for millennia and have deep knowledge of the moose and the land they live on, making their leadership essential for co-managing the well-being of the species.”
Fraser added that, drawing on the diverse and extensive experience and knowledge around the table, constructive conversations were held that he hoped will lay the foundation for lasting solutions.
“A moose recovery strategy that works for everyone is a powerful tool that will ensure the right decisions are made for the future of moose. It will take time, but following the progress made at the roundtable discussions, I am confident we’ll soon see positive outcomes.”
Roundtable participants included:
- The Tŝilhqot’in, Williams Lake Indian Band, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations and respective communities
- Ministries of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development; and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
- Office of the Chief Forester
- BC Timber Sales
- BC Cattlemen’s Association
- BC Trappers Association
- BC Wildlife Federation
- Guide Outfitters Association of BC
- Wildlife Stewardship Council
- Tsi Del Del Enterprises Ltd.
- West Fraser Mills Ltd.