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Moving forward on ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest

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Moving forward on ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest

Coast Mountain News, February 11 2014

Another milestone has been reached in the implementation of ecosystem based management within the Great Bear Rainforest, comprising 6.4 million hectares of BC’s north and central mainland coast, Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson recently announced.

The Joint Solutions Project, a working group of environmental groups and forest companies, has submitted an 82-page report to the Province containing recommendations that would see additional areas set aside to support conservation, a harvest level to maintain viable forestry operations and a new approach to landscape planning that better accounts for old growth, cultural values, biodiversity and riparian zones.

The recommendations will now be reviewed by the Province and First Nations within the region. The announcement comes at a time when local Ministry of Environment protected areas staff, who have the responsibility to plan for and manage Conservancies that have already been established under the land use planning process, are setting their project priorities for the upcoming season.

As part of their commitment to build closer relationships with our community, local BC Parks staff, comprising Planner, Volker Michelfelder, and Area Supervisors, Steven Hodgson and Bree Matthewman, will be holding a public information meeting on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 pm at the Bella Coola Valley Inn. This will be an opportunity for local residents to learn about the work BC Parks staff do; hear about recent projects, and discuss planned future initiatives. The meeting is being planned to maximize the opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide input and feedback to local BC Parks staff.

Whether at the Joint Solutions Project level or the strategic planning and on-the-ground management work by BC Parks and First Nations, it is a difficult challenge to balance the needs of conservation, cultural respect and public recreation with the desire for economic opportunities for First Nations and local communities in the Great Bear Rainforest.

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