CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

May 19, 2021
By: admin

CPAWS Survey Guide for the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Published [post_published]
CPAWS Northern Alberta 

Caribou have waited almost 10 years for recovery plans in Alberta: Have your say in their future!
 

Alberta’s caribou have been waiting for almost ten years for provincial range plans under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA) while experiencing ongoing declines and accelerated habitat lossThe Government of Alberta has released draft version of plans that include caribou ranges, as well as some land surrounding the range, in “sub-regional plans”. These sub-regional plans will lay out the rules of the land, including limits, for all the industrial and recreational activities that occur within, and outside, caribou ranges in the sub-region. 

Read the Bistcho Lake draft sub-regional plan here.
Read the draft Cold Lake sub-regional plan here. 
 

Now is your chance to tell Alberta the future of caribou depends on strong sub-regional plans. The Government of Alberta is collecting public feedback on the draft sub-regional plans until May 29, 2021.
Here are the Government of Alberta surveys:
 

Daunted by the survey? Don’t worry! We’ve read the sub-regional plans backwards and forwards, and have summarized our thoughts in the CPAWS survey guide below. 

Bistcho Lake Survey Guide

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Sub-regional plans should also include tools for climate change mitigation, specifically through the protection, conservation and maintenance of carbon-rich peatlands. Protection of peatlands will store carbon and show that Alberta is a leader in tackling climate change.  

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion: 
Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion: 

The sub-regional plan shows it is possible to achieve federal caribou habitat requirements and introduces some management mechanisms that will minimize disturbance, if they are implemented urgently and effectively and are diligently monitored. However, the plan fails to use protected areas or conservation areas as a key tool in the Bistcho Lake sub-region, although there was a full consensus recommendation from the Task Force to explore designating an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area here. The sub-regional plan should commit to exploring a process to create an IPCA, which would provide habitat protection for caribou and elevate Indigenous rights and responsibilities in land and resource management.

The proposed Access Management Plan is a strong tool because it uses strict road density limits and wetland disturbance limits for managing the road network. However, the AMP should not include plans for new access into areas of the sub-region that are currently roadless and are core areas for caribou that will be crucial for their recovery. The plan should also clearly articulate which body is responsible for enforcing these disturbance limits and reporting on the footprint.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The sub-regional plan needs to include clear timelines on when short-term roads and associated features need to be restored and a clear plan for how seismic restoration will be staged. With nearly 62,000 km of legacy seismic lines in the Bistcho Lake range, expedient restoration efforts need to be monitored, incentivized and aligned with the Access Management Plan. Protected areas such as an IPCA can be used to ensure areas treated for restoration do not become disturbed again.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Provide some details on why you selected the level of “effectiveness” for economic activities.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The plan should recognize the opportunity to support local job opportunities through significant restoration work that will be necessary in the caribou herd range. In some areas of the plan, there is too much emphasis on economic activities, as the Access Management Plan proposes inappropriate access to portions of the sub-region that are not currently under pressure from human activities and are very important for caribou recovery. The Access Management Plan should be adjusted to remove planned short-term and long-term roads from areas that are currently free of roads and are crucial to remain intact for caribou recovery. The plan should also clearly articulate which body is responsible for enforcing these disturbance limits and reporting on the footprint. The lifting of the moratorium on the sale of mineral leases should only occur when the Access Management Plan is in place and can guide where new leases are sold.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Provide some details on why you selected the level of “effectiveness” for recreation activities.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The recreation management plan must recognize there is an optimal trail density that can support environmental outcomes, and these should be prioritized when identifying recreation management areas. There should be an emphasis on low-impact non-motorized backcountry recreation, especially around Bistcho, Thurston and Beatty Lakes, where caribou are sensitive to increases in human activities.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The sub-regional plan fails to mention the possibility of an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) despite a recommendation from the Task Force to explore an IPCA in the region and a formal proposal for an IPCA from the Dene Tha’ First Nation. Traditional land-use and Traditional Knowledge should inform land-use planning through an IPCA. The Dene Tha’ First Nation have made significant progress on their vision for an IPCA in this sub-region and the sub-regional plan should commit to supporting that initiative.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

I support and encourage further collaboration with the Dene Tha’ First Nation, and other Indigenous communities, through environmental monitoring programs and incorporating Indigenous Knowledge in ongoing and future planned resource management.

Thank you for filling out the survey for caribou! If you’d like to learn more about the Dene Tha’ First Nation Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) vision, check out: www.bistcholake.ca 

Cold Lake Survey Guide

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Sub-regional plans should also include tools for climate change mitigation, specifically through the protection, conservation and maintenance of carbon-rich peatlands. Protection of peatlands will store carbon and show that Alberta is a leader in tackling climate change.  

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion: 
Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion: 

The sub-regional plan shows it is possible to achieve federal caribou habitat requirements and introduces new management mechanisms that will minimize disturbance, if implemented urgently, effectively and diligently monitored.

The proposed Access Management Plan is a strong tool because it uses strict road density limits and wetland disturbance limits for managing the road network. The plan should clearly articulate which body is responsible for enforcing these disturbance limits and reporting on the existing and planned footprint. The plan assumes restoration of short-term roads and other “temporary” disturbances, like well pads, which will be key to increasing undisturbed caribou habitat. This guidance should include clear time frames within which the restoration of short-term roads and associated temporary features needs to occur.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Restoration needs to be monitored, incentivized and aligned with the Access Management Plan. Protected areas can be used to ensure areas treated for restoration do not become disturbed again.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Provide some details on why you selected the level of “effectiveness” for economic activities.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The Access Management Plan should clearly articulate which body is responsible for enforcing disturbance limits and reporting on existing and planned footprint. For “short-term” roads in the Access Management Plan, there should be clear guidance on the time frames within which restoration should occur. The lifting of the moratorium on the sale of mineral leases should only occur when the Access Management Plan is in place and can guide where new leases are sold. The plan should recognize the opportunity to support local job opportunities through significant restoration work that will be necessary in the caribou herd ranges.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

The sub-regional plan presents a robust recreation network, however the recreation management plan needs to be environmentally-sustainable by recognizing trail density limits and focusing on supporting low-impact activities. The conservation of freshwater lakes can be negatively impacted by increases in recreational activity and tourism development. The proposed Recreation Management Areas should be re-evaluated to consider areas where conservation needs to be the top priority and/or explicitly manage for recreation limits.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Contribute other comments on recreational opportunities here.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Select a level of “effectiveness” that you feel is appropriate, even if it is “I don’t know”.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas allow for Traditional land-use and Traditional Knowledge to inform land-use planning. Collaborative identification of areas important to Indigenous communities should include use of IPCAs. The government should also provide resources for Indigenous communities to increase their capacity to carry out land-use mapping and collaboration during the planning process.

CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-Regional Plans for Caribou

Our suggestion:

I support and encourage further collaboration with Indigenous communities through environmental monitoring programs. It should be a priority to continue the work of the Cooperative Management Board for the Dillon River Wildland Provincial Park.

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