Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: SARA-PYR-2017-0369

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. SARA-PYR-2017-0369 is issued.

Purpose:
Activity necessary or beneficial to the species

Description:
This permit authorizes the disturbance of individuals of 4 species at risk named on this permit during prescribed burns and associated activities on 326.5 hectares of the Kootenay Indian Reserve No. 1 in the East Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia. The objective of the project is to improve habitat for multiple species, including the endangered American Badger jeffersonii and Little Brown Myotis, and threatened Lewis’s Woodpecker and Common Nighthawk. Fire suppression leading to forest encroachment is a known threat to multiple grassland species at risk, and habitat restoration is a desired recovery action. This stage in the restoration process is to introduce a low-intensity prescribed burn in the treatment areas. Previous fuel reductions combined with specific wildlife nesting tree protections, and timing of the burns in early spring or fall should effectively reduce negative impacts to individuals or residences of species at risk, while enhancing and restoring their habitats.

Start Date: 2017-04-01   End Date: 2020-03-31

Issuing Authority: Environment Canada

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • British Columbia

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
a) All reasonable alternatives to the activities that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solutions have been adopted. Consideration was given to the options of doing nothing and allowing forest encroachment to continue, which would not halt that threat to multiple species at risk (foraging and nesting/denning/roosting habitat for American Badger jeffersonii, Little Brown Myotis, Lewis’s Woodpecker and Common Nighthawk). On-going logging is not effective for controlling small seedlings and saplings. Livestock grazing was not considered effective to control conifer seedlings, as they won’t be eaten. Hand-thinning was considered but that approach is high cost and would still result in highly-flammable slash that could intensify wild fires and destroy the grassland being restored. Instead, restoring fire to this fire-adapted ecosystem was the best solution for Species At Risk habitat outcomes. Fire suppression leading to forest encroachment and loss of grassland habitat is a recognized threat for multiple species at risk in this part of British Columbia. Restoration of those grasslands by thinning and prescribed burning are recommended actions and approaches in recovery planning tables for multiple species at risk. Fire-fighting and burning professionals and the Provincial Wildfire Management agency responsible are both engaged in developing the plan and very likely will be the same ones executing it. Standard operating procedures exist, and a site-specific plan has been developed to design the pre-burn protection treatments (fire guards around the perimeter and wildlife trees). Although burning involves high risk to the people involved, it is a natural disturbance to which many species at risk are well adapted to avoid by flying away temporarily or remaining in belowground burrows. b) All feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of activities on the species. To reduce the chance of a high-intensity burn that could sterilize the soil and fail to restore the grassland, these sites were first pre-treated with logging to remove fuel and reduce intensity. To increase the probability of a successful burn, pre-burn treatment to fire guards and around wildlife trees will be done to facilitate rapid response when ideal burning conditions occur and to protect valued resources outside and within the burn perimeter. Seed mixes for revegetation of any soil disturbance contain non-invasive species of both North American and European origin, consistent with Provincial guidelines for use on crown lands, and come from suppliers with a good reputation for high viability and low weed seed content. The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Project has been in place for two decades, and many of the planning principles, guidelines, and recommendations in this application have drawn from that advice. Prescribed burning will be carried out by fire-fighting and burning professionals and in cooperation with the BC Wildfire Management Branch. Predisturbance and postdisturbance species surveys were and will be undertaken by Professional Biologists. A consulting Registered Professional Forester under contract to ?aq?am will be involved in all aspects of the activity. With prescribed burn operations undertaken by the Province or a Qualified Prescribed Burn contractor, an Incident Command System (ICS) used by the federal government and all provinces will be employed to ensure activities are undertaken safely and according to plan. c) The activities will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. No destruction of individuals or residences should result. Locations of badger dens will be identified and avoided during fire guard construction, and potential nest/roost trees for Little Brown Myotis and in Lewis’s Woodpecker critical habitat will be protected from fire. Burn windows avoid nesting and maternal roost timing for Lewis’s Woodpecker, Common Nighthawk and Little Brown Myotis. Lewis’s Woodpeckers, Common Nighthawks and Little Brown Myotis present can fly away during fires, and American Badger can burrow below ground and avoid fire. Fire is likely to improve foraging opportunities for all four species. The disturbance to Lewis’s Woodpecker identified critical habitat will be temporary and the activity is expected to restore critical habitat for this species.

Contact Person(s)
Permit Section
Canadian Wildlife Service
Delta, British Columbia
Phone: (604) 940-4650
Fax: (604) 946-7022
E-mail: sarapermitting.pyr@ec.gc.ca