Manitoba Invites Public to Provide Comments on Caribou Action Plans

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Manitobans are invited to provide feedback and input on draft action plans to protect boreal woodland caribou populations in the eastern parts of the province, Conservation Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.

“Boreal woodland caribou are a threatened species, and the Owl-Flintstone and Atikaki-Berens caribou populations are particularly vulnerable,” said Chomiak. “We’ve worked with the Eastern Manitoba Woodland Caribou Advisory Committee to develop plans to protect these populations and are now seeking input from the public to make sure these plans are as complete as possible.”

In 2006, the province released a recovery strategy for boreal woodland caribou. The draft action plans for the Owl-Flintstone and Atikaki-Berens areas build on this strategy and outline the specific actions the province will take to protect boreal woodland caribou populations and their habitat to ensure the long-term survival of woodland caribou in these areas, Chomiak said.

Currently, management programs for boreal woodland caribou are in place to assess habitat needs and use on each high-risk range in Manitoba. Proposed developments in any of the identified areas are subject to a strict environmental review process, the minister said, adding results are used to assess and set conditions on work plans, permits and environmental license requests.

The draft action plans will be available on the Manitoba Conservation website for 90 days. Following the public comment period, additional discussion will be initiated with First Nations and other stakeholders. The final action plans will likely be released by the summer of 2012.

The minister noted the action plans build on other work to protect caribou populations in Manitoba including:

  • investing almost $2.5 million through the East Side Road Authority to monitor woodland caribou and moose populations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, which includes hiring local residents and trappers to collect field data to support the decision-making process;
  • hiring two full-time biologists dedicated to researching and monitoring boreal woodland caribou;
  • hosting the 13th North American Caribou Workshop with more than 400 participants from around the world including researchers and international experts on sustaining caribou populations;
  • becoming the first provincial government to list the boreal woodland caribou as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2006;
  • creating caribou management bodies with First Nations and stakeholders in all caribou areas across Manitoba; and
  • regularly adding to the network of protected areas and committing to protect the boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

To review and comment on the draft action plans, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/pdf/caribou_action_plan_11_29_2011.pdf.