Province officially reveals draft caribou plan
The provincial government has officially released its Draft Range Plan for Woodland Caribou in Saskatchewan to the public in hopes of better understanding the pressures on Saskatchewan’s caribou population.
The Ministry of Environment made the document available to the public on Monday. Representatives say they’re hoping for feedback from individuals and community groups to ensure all perspectives are considered.
“By having a public consultation process, you’re opening it up to everybody who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice in it,” caribou project manager Michael McLaughlin explained.
In 2012, all Canadian provinces began developing range plans to help identify caribou population levels. The animal is listed under the Species at Risk Act, which means no part of their habitat can be destroyed.
McLaughlin said draft range plan will help the ministry get a better grip on the problem, and help identify potential solutions, especially in the central Boreal Plain.
Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have reported that conditions in the far north of the province are among the best in Canada, leading to a healthy and sturdy caribou population. However, less is known about the central Boreal Plain.
The ministry is already actively working with environmental groups, northern and central Saskatchewan communities, First Nations and Métis groups and the forest sector.
“They can help identify these areas to be set aside to helping maintain (the caribou) habitat,” he said.
McLaughlin added that the forest sector can help foster the caribou population by creating “disturbed land,” which helps rejuvenate the area in the same way as forest fires. However, he emphasizes that the logging must be done properly.
Copies of the draft plan can be downloaded at http://www.saskatchewan. ca/government/public-consultations/ woodland-caribou-range-plan. Residents with comments, suggestions or other feedback can send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents who have trouble downloading the report can also use that address to request a hard copy of the report. Feedback will be accepted until Dec. 29, 2017.
The boreal woodland caribou was first recommended for “threatened” status by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in 2002. It became official in 2003.