Pend D’Oreille proposal has wide impact

The proposal does not mention necessary road access to two trans-provincial hydroelectric line corridors and a natural gas pipeline.

Managing your access: Proposed Motor vehicle Prohibitions North of the Pend d’Oreille Reservoir and NW of the Salmo River – Proposal 2096 of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNR&O).

Proposal 2096 not just restricts vehicles but intends an Access Management Area ‘AMA’ more than a thousand fold the land area required for wildlife habitat maintenance. Drivers, it will prohibit your access to areas used by industries that have created local jobs since 1855. The proposal does not mention necessary road access to three public utilities: two trans-provincial hydroelectric line corridors and a natural gas pipeline. High value mineral deposits occur and exploration continues. Public comments are due Dec. 31.

The proposal doesn’t state the very small habitat areas of the two uncommon bird species it mentions, one outside it. It names the wrong watershed logged this year. The very small area logged in Grouse Ck is not in Wallack Ck. In the latter logging is not planned for at least 5 years (BC Timber Sales). Proposal 2096 misleads: one has to find actual habitat sizes to realize its intent. Is it vague to limit your understanding of the wildlife issues, the goal to deny everyone access by motor vehicle, and more Management?

The habitat areas of two birds, the Yellow-breasted chat and the Lewis’ Woodpecker, are very small compared to the proposed AMA: about 100 hectares vs. several 100,000 hectares. The Yellow breasted chat lives on southerly facing slopes “at elevations below 780 m (Machmer 2014)”. Occupied habitat totals about 15 hectares (Environment Canada) on the E slopes of the Columbia River and near the outlet of the Pend d’Oreille reservoir. This is all outside the proposed AMA a much larger area to the east, most all higher. “Numbers of active breeding territories were steadily increasing, but declined when construction of the Waneta Expansion Project started in 2011 (Machmer 2014)” a project now complete. The Yellow-breasted chat nests from Penticton to Osoyoos. Many wildlife species do flourish on the N slopes of the Pend d’Oreille.

Proposal 2096 does not mention the two new Wildlife Habitat Areas, sized 22 & 40.5 hectares, for the Lewis’ Woodpecker just west of Tillicum Ck. These “serve to protect important habitat for this species at risk (Pinnell 2012)”; surely their size is sufficient? The Lewis’ Woodpecker nests in recently burned areas with standing dead trees. The large 2007 Pend d’Oreille wildfire burned a good part of the Proposal’s Conservation Lands creating many nesting sites. Are some ‘illegal trails’ the Proposal refers to actually un-reclaimed fire roads? Are actions of a very few hunters a concern?

In a proposal desiring more government Management it is best not to mislead by leaving out, or even misstating, relevant facts. Proposal 2096 of Ministry of FLNR&O intends to establish an extremely large Access Management Area, much oversized. Vehicle access will be severely limited.

I urge readers to email their concerns to the consultation website http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/hunting/amendment-pend-d%E2%80%99oreille-and-lower-salmo-rivers-motor-vehicle-prohibitions by the end-of-year deadline.

William R Howard

Calgary, Alta.