Kootenay Boundary Wildlife Habitat Features Order

In the fall of 2016, the Province initiated a project in the Kootenay Boundary region to establish a Wildlife Habitat Feature Order and assess the implementation process. This is the first Order identifying wildlife habitat features since FRPA was enacted.

Agreement holder information sessions were held around the region from January to March 2017 to introduce the proposed Order and supporting materials. Formal consultation of the proposed Order was conducted from September to December 2017. 

On May 29, 2018 the Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy signed the Order identifying 14 wildlife habitat features in the Kootenay Boundary region. The effective date of the Order is July 1, 2018.

The following processes and document support the implementation of the Order by FRPA agreement holders:

The Wildlife Habitat Features Field Guide: Kootenay Boundary Region (PDF) has been prepared to assist Forest Act and Range Act agreement holders to:

  • identify wildlife habitat features (WHFs)
  • understand how forest and range activities may damage or render ineffective a WHF
  • understand reporting requirements (Forest Act agreement holders only) when a WHF is encountered 
  • prepare an exemption request when compliance with the Order may not be practicable

This field guide also provides information for Forest Act and Range Act agreement holders to consider when choosing which practices to apply in order to not damage or render ineffective a WHF.

Field Guide Note

The information contained in the Field Guide does not constitute a legal or professional practice requirement

This information does not create any mandatory obligations on a person undertaking forest or range practices and cannot establish the site-specific prescription for compliance with the requirements of regulation

It is up to the prescribing professional, and forest or range manager, to determine the most appropriate practices given site-specific situations and circumstances, and with due consideration of the best current technical information available to that person.

This approach is consistent with the results-based professional reliance approach required for forest and range management under the Forests and Range Practices Act. 
 

Field Guide By Section

The Wildlife Habitat Feature Field Cards have been developed to assist Forest Act and Range Act agreement holders and their field staff or contractors to:

  • recognize where on the landscape  a wildlife habitat feature (WHFs) might occur
  • identify WHFs in the field
  • understand sensitive timing windows for a WHF
  • choose the most appropriate actions and practices to adequately protect a WHF

Field Cards Note

  • The information contained in the Field Cards does not constitute a legal or professional practice requirement
  • This information does not create any mandatory obligations on a person undertaking forest or range practices and cannot establish the site-specific prescription for compliance with the requirements of regulation
  • It is up to the prescribing professional, and forest or range manager, to determine the most appropriate practices given site-specific situations and circumstances, and with due consideration of the best current technical information available to that person.
  • This approach is consistent with the results-based professional reliance approach required for forest and range management under Forests and Range Practices Act

Field cards have been designed to print on 5” x 7” field card paper but can also be printed on standard letter size. Field card files can also be loaded into tablets and iPads or other digital devices.
 

Field Cards by Section

Reporting, tracking and viewing of WHF data is a critical component of the Order. It is important to track the locations of WHFs to ensure effective management and data access and availability for two reasons.

First, it will provide those carrying out primary forest activities with the ability to determine the locations of known WHFs in their area of operations for planning purposes. Second, it will allow the location of WHFs to be known for compliance and effectiveness evaluations.

Forest Act and Range Act agreement holders are responsible for informing themselves of locations of known WHFs. Forest Act agreement holders are required to report locations of undocumented WHFs that are within or contiguous to a cutblock or road.

Woodlot licence holders must report new WHFs by May 31st (WLPPR s. 76(3)(d)); all other forest licence and agreement holders must report new WHFs by June 1st (FPPR s. 86(3)(b)). At this time, there are no reporting requirements for Range Act agreement holders. 

Instructions for submitting and retrieving WHF data are outlined below.

Submitting Wildlife Habitat Feature Data

Online Submissions

There are two ways to use the submission site:

  1. Enter one or more records directly using an online data entry form
  2. Attach a completed WHF data template file (XLS)

Detailed instructions for data submission are available on the WHF data submission site. To submit online submissions complete the following steps:

Mail Submission

If you do not have internet access you can submit an observation form by mail. Print the Observation Form (PDF) or request a paper copy be mailed to you. Completed forms, or requests for paper copies should be submitted to:

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Suite 401 - 333 Victoria Street, Nelson BC V1L 4K3 
Attention: Ecosystems Program
Front Desk: 250-354-6333

The locations and descriptions of known WHFs are available as a data layer in Habitat Wizard, iMapBC, MapView and the BC Data Catalogue. Habitat Wizard is the simplest, user friendly option for people with limited experience with online mapping tools. Users with more experience in online mapping may prefer one of the other options. 

  • Habitat Wizard is a map-based platform that allows users access to spatial information about wildlife habitat features and other fish, wildlife and ecosystems.
  • iMapBC is a public mapping portal that allows users to view and analyze the thousands of geographic datasets stored in the B.C. Geographic Warehouse, upload their own map data and print or email the results of their work. iMapBC is designed for all modern browsers, including: iPads, iPhones and Android devices. It is open to public users and provides access to a large quantity of B.C. Government data.
  • Mapview is a web-based mapping and reporting tool that provides clients with access to maps and reports for various business areas, including Forest Stewardship, Genetic Resources, Vegetation, Silviculture and Forest Tenures.
  • The B.C. Data Catalogue contains thousands of government datasets and is designed to help users find, access, explore and reuse this extensive collection of data. All ministries and some Broader Public Sector agencies maintain data in the Catalogue

Information about species and ecosystems in Province of British Columbia data systems are available to the public. A limited amount of data is secured for a variety of reasons, such as possible persecution.

Locations of secured WHFs (e.g. significant licks and wallows) will be visible but masked. Masked data has a random offset buffer creating a large polygon around the actual location and limited attribute data. The polygon ID number can be referenced to obtain more specific information if deemed necessary upon request. 

Various Forest and Range Practices Act provisions allow Forest Act and Range Act agreement holders to seek exemptions from the requirement to protect a wildlife habitat feature. Before providing an exemption, the decision maker must be satisfied that compliance with the Order is not realistic.

This will depend on the circumstances or conditions related to the area in which the feature occurs. An exemption request must include a rationale describing the nature of the problem and any options that might minimize the impacts to the feature. The decision maker may attach conditions to an exemption. 

A discussion between the agreement holder and regional staff must precede formal requests for exemptions. Please contact: 

Ecosystems Program 
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Suite 401 - 333 Victoria Street, Nelson BC V1L 4K3
Front Desk: 250-354-6333