Proposed plan to help two species

A proposed plan to help two species at risk will likely ruffle some feathers.

A proposed plan to help two species at risk will likely ruffle some feathers. The species in question are the

Marbled Murrelet and the Northern Goshawk. The proposed recovery plan will result in a reduced timber

harvesting land base and “represent a provincial government commitment that prioritizes management actions

that are informed by science and also consider socio-economic factors,” wrote Steve Gordon, manager,

biodiversity and old growth with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in a letter

to stakeholders. The goal of the federal government strategy is to prevent species in Canada from becoming

extinct as a result of human activities. A meeting is being held today at the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and

Natural Resource Operations office in Port McNeill from 1 to 3 p.m. to discuss the details and implications of

the plan. “32,000 hectares is what the estimated impact will be,” said WFP Regional Engagement Coordinator

Kindry Mercer at the District of Port Hardy regular council meeting Feb. 9. “We believe there are other options

that can and would work,” Mercer said. The issue was also raised at the Regional District of Mount Waddington

board meeting Feb. 17. “This will have implications for the region,” said Administrator Greg Fletcher. “About

Forty-five per cent of our working population is tied to the forest industry,” Fletcher said. The setbacks will result

in a reduction in allotment by five to eight per cent which will impact jobs. “There is a direct link between the

amount of fibre that is harvested and the number of people that are employed in the industry. So if you reduce

the amount of fibre by increasing setbacks on nesting sites then you are going to have to reduce the number of

people you employ or everyone takes a pay cut,” said Manager of Economic Development Pat English. “I don’t

think there is going to be a lot that can be done (about the plan),” said Fletcher. The Marbled Murrelet is a small

seabird that nests in old-growth forests or on the ground at higher latitudes where trees cannot grow. They are

listed as threatened due to the loss and fragmentation of their old-growth nesting habitat and due to threats in

the marine habitats where they feed. The Marbled Murrelet is provincially Blue listed. Blue-listed species are of

‘Special Concern’ (formerly Vulnerable). The Northern Goshawk is a medium to large raptor that lives in mature

and old growth forests. They are listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act due mainly to their

small population size and the loss and fragmentation of their nesting and foraging habitat. The Northern

Goshawk is provincially Red listed. Red-listed species are Extirpated, Endangered, or Threatened.