Update May 30, 2022: The report came to Council as well, and I made a motion to have an updated environmental report on Areas B and C and feasibility in protecting them as conservation areas. It passed!
The Planning and Development Committee meeting last week was packed with important issues, including securing an important win for protecting more of the Cariboo Forest, a biodiversity hotspot.
The committee received a report from staff regarding the Cariboo Forest. The recommendations were to protect what was called Area A, but to zone Areas B and C for development. With my comments and advocacy, the Committee agreed to ask staff to return with a more in depth environmental report and protect area B as conservation as well.
From working with the volunteers at the Cariboo Heights Forest Society, I know that Area B is a hugely important biodiversity hotspot, has important impacts on the salmon hatchery (which raises and releases 30k-40k salmon a year), and is incredibly significant to the health of the Brunette River.
This is the last untouched forest along the Brunette river, because of the destruction that the TMX project has created. There is a settling pond in area B that feeds 3 creeks that run into the Brunette river, and is very susceptible to storm drains — if developed, the flashiness (velocity/force) of the water entering the Brunette river during heavy rainfall will negatively impact erosion and silting in the river, and therefore negatively impact everything that lives in the river as well. Developing the forest would also make extreme flooding events worse.
The water that feeds the hatchery is ground water that very likely feeds through Area B. Developing this area would therefore negatively impact the fish hatchery, which raises between 30,000 and 40,000 salmon each year — stocking the Brunette River,
There is also a significant amount of biodiversity in this area including the Washington subspecies of snowshoe hare — red listed by BC. Other species include: northern flying squirrel, jumping mouse, bobcat, coyote, short-tailed weasel, red tail hawks, pilliated woodpeckers, downy wood peckers, flickers, swaynson thrush, varied thrush, robins, Wilson’s warblers, yellow rumped warblers, yellow warblers, orange-crowned warblers, stellars jays, black capped and chest-nut backed chickadees, Ana’s hummingbird and Rufus hummingbird, brown creeper, black headed gross beak, warbling variole, willow fly catcher, fox sparrow , song sparrow, white crowned sparrow, pacific wren, beewix wren, red-breasted nuthatch, spotted tohees, golden crowned kinglets and ruby crowned kinglets, bushtits, purple finches, house finches, ravens, eagle, hutton’s variale, pacific slope flycatcher, American goldfinches.
Thank you to the PDC committee for supporting my request of protecting Area B!