|Original News Release|
Since the Feb. 7, 2006 announcement, the Province has followed through on the following commitments:
Strategic Land-Use Planning Agreements
As an outcome of the Central and North Coast strategic land-use planning processes, the Province signed strategic land-use planning agreements with First Nations building on a Protocol signed with Coastal First Nations and an agreement in principle signed with Nawakolas First Nations. The following First Nations have signed land use planning agreements with the Province:
Coast Opportunity Fund
· In January 2007, the provincial and federal governments joined with an alliance of private philanthropic groups to establish the Coast Opportunities Fund (COF). This fund grew out of the Conservation Investments and Incentives Initiative (CIII) that was advanced during the land use planning negotiations associated with the Central and North Coast.
· The Province and the federal government each contributed $30 million, while the philanthropic groups gave $60 million, for a total investment of $120 million.
· The combined federal-provincial contribution to the COF is directed toward economic development opportunities for First Nations businesses involved in activities such as sustainable fisheries, forestry and tourism. The matching private funding provides an endowment fund for conservation management and research.
EBM Working Group
· Established and funded.
Land and Resource Forums
· In March 2006, the Province signed an Agreement in Principle with the Nanwakolas First Nations and a protocol with the Coastal First Nations (Turning Point).
· These government-to-government land-use and protocol agreements include the formation of Land and Resource Forums that allow the Province and First Nations to work together to finalize and implement land-use plans for the Central Coast and North Coast and develop EBM objectives.
Two-Thirds of New Conservancies Established
· Twenty-four conservancies, totalling approximately 541,000 hectares, were established under the Park Act in July 2006.
· A second group of 41 conservancies, containing approximately 162,000 hectares, was established in May 2007.
· Forty-nine conservancies and additions to two existing conservancies remain to be established and are proposed for the spring 2008 session of the legislature.
Conservancy Management Agreements
Collaborative Management Agreements have been signed with 10 First Nations and are being implemented. Agreements have been signed with the following First Nations:
Pre-existing collaborative agreements with the Heiltsuk (Hakai), Haisla (Kitlope) and Gitsii (Khutzeymateen) remain in place.
Conservancy Management Planning and Field Operations
Management planning is underway for 20 conservancies, with the first plan approvals expected in the summer of 2008. Conservancy field operations were undertaken in 2007 for all established conservancies. Eight First Nation park rangers from coastal communities were employed during the field season.
Focal Species Inventory and Mapping
Extensive focal species inventory, mapping and legal designations have been implemented in support of implementing the legal objectives. This work is planned to continue through 2008. Work includes grizzly bear critical habitat mapping, marbled murrelet suitability mapping, northern goshawk surveys and tailed frog surveys. As well, a number of wildlife habitat areas have been designated for grizzly bear and marbled murrelet, and ungulate winter ranges established for mountain goat.
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
250 213-3072 (cell)
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