By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
Monday, February 1, 2016 5:16:27 PST PM
B.C. government is proposing conservation plans for two different threatened feathered species with significant populations in the Lower Mainland — a bird of prey and a small seabird.
The plan was shared with Metro Vancouver recently by the provincial Ministry of Forests, describing a need to increase protected habitat.
The first is the Northern Goshawk, raven-sized raptors believed to make up up to 780 “home ranges” across the province — the term describes a breeding area with a surrounding suitable foraging area where the birds can raise their young.
These birds are listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act registry, mainly because they have a small population and have lost traditional habitats.
Locally, in the south coast region, it’s believed another 83 home ranges need to be protected to meet current conservation goals. Government’s current plan is to protect 30 of those areas by 2020 as part of a B.C.-wide strategy.
Marbled Murrolet live in coastal areas and rely on old-growth forest.
“Their at-risk status is due mainly to the loss and fragmentation of their old growth nesting habitat and due to threats in the marine habitats where they feed,” the ministry said in its plan, pointing to things like oil spills and fisheries by-catch as some threats.
“It is estimated that an additional 210,000 hectares of (murrelet) habitat would have to be protected in order to achieve the federal minimum habitat thresholds applied to provincial Crown land only.”
The current strategy proposes the creation of reserves in the Great Bear Rainforest, and through managing old growth forests and “priority” habitats along the coast.
By 2017, government is expected to specify the amounts of land needed to be protected in each B.C. conservation region.