British Columbia to form new wildlife management agency

By Rachel Schadegg

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On Mar. 22, British Columbia’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, Steve Thomson, announced that a new wildlife management agency will be formed in fall 2017 to expand the province’s wildlife conservation capacity. The provincial government will invest an initial $5 million into the agency, and annual hunting license revenues of $9 to $10 million will sustain it thereafter.

“While B.C. has a robust model of wildlife management, we recognize the need to enhance our core activities,” Thomson said. “This management framework and additional funding will do that.”

This spring, prior to the formation of the agency, the government will spend up to $200,000 to establish a process for seeking input from wildlife stakeholder groups, First Nations, and the public. Throughout this process, the Ministry will determine how the new agency should be governed and how specific funds should be allocated.

Jim Glaicar, President of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, praised the Ministry’s plans. “The B.C. Wildlife Federation commends the Province for its commitment to dedicate hunting license revenues to a stand-alone agency to enhance wildlife management. The BCWF, on behalf of our 50,000 members, is pleased to have our call for greater investment in fish, wildlife and habitat realized through this investment.”

In addition to funding the new agency, hunting license revenues will continue to provide more than $2.6 million each year to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. HCTF partners on a variety of projects to enhance and expand fish and wildlife habitat and works to educate future conservationists.

British Columbia’s wildlife management and conservation goals are outlined in the Ministry of Environment’s Wildlife Program. The Wildlife Program’s vision is to have “naturally diverse and sustainable wildlife supporting varied uses for current and future generations.” It describes the province’s overall goals and priorities in wildlife management and lays out organized objectives that the provincial government will execute in collaboration with First Nations, the private sector, and the public. The newly formed agency will allow British Columbia to more effectively carry out the objectives set forth within the Program.

Rachel Schadegg is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program. Read more of Rachel's articles here.