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Letter sent to Gulf Island National Parks Advisory Committee with regard to former ERs on Brackman and Saturna Islands

Posted December 5, 2012 | Categories : 121,15,Reports,Research |

Letter from The Friends of Ecological Reserves

To Gulf Islands National Park Advisory Board                    December 5th 2012

Re: Gulf Islands Parks plan and management of former Ecological Reserves on Saturna and Brackman Islands.

This letter is a request from Friends of Ecological Reserves (FER) to the advisory board to use the boundaries of former ERs as zones within the new Park plan and within these zones to incorporate management objectives consistent with the original ER designations. Perhaps the term Ecological Benchmark Research Site or something fitting should be used to identify these former ERs.

From discussions with BC Parks staff it is understood that when the ERs were transferred to National Parks there was to be management consistent the ER designation. When provincial files were transferred to National Parks there were already completed and approved management plans for ERs. FER believes these should be the starting point for management within the former ERs. The provincial management and planning documents are ER specific and should be used to move objectives issues and implementation actions already known into the new National Parks Plan. This should make the task simpler by using approved plans and objectives that were formerly in place.

FER wants the emerging National Parks plans to keep the framework put in place by ERs in order to build on the existing science legacy. FER maintains relevant reports we have been able to obtain on our website. Our hope is to continue to keep a FER involvement with these areas and work cooperatively with National Parks staff to continue to add to the ER legacy despite the jurisdictional transfer. The existing information we could find for the former Brackman Island ER is at http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/category/121/ and for former Saturna ER is at http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/category/15+research/

In November some of the FER Board toured the Saturna ER with a former wardens Pam and Harvey Jantzen both of whom have made significant contributions as volunteers (see http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/11/14/er-15-saturna-island-field-trip-november-2012/) . This letter is in part a follow up from the November field trip which helped FER understand how to address the bigger issue of jurisdictional transfers between provincial and Federal governments. Pam made us aware of the current planning board and process for Gulf Island National Park. To date five ERs have been subsumed into National Parks, three into Gwaii Haanas, two into the South Gulf Islands and potentially five more could be transferred should the South Okanagan National Park proceed. For location of these visit and all of ERs visit the new map brochure http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/10/06/ecological-reserves-of-bc-map-and-brochure-produced-2012/

It is hoped that all National Park subsumed ERs and their existing research legacies can be preserved by zoning and that with Parks Canada staff help these areas can continue in a research and extension role. We hope National Parks can help foster centres of natural science excellence and nodes of learning, as well as outdoor laboratories for graduate, under graduate and professional researchers from a variety of institutions such as the Canadian Wildlife Service, Forestry Canada, Universities and colleges and citizen scientists. We believe that this approach would boost science understanding, build on 30 to 40 years of information and help boost local economies (which would be especially welcome for residents of Saturna Island). Historically Parks Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service have worked closely together.

If we can be of any further help with planning and review of objectives and web based extension we offer that to the planning group. We hope to work in partnership with National Parks much as we do with Provincial Parks staff.

Visit the FER website to get a sense of what FER is about and what we have been able to extend with regard to ERs http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/ . Thank you for your consideration

Mike Fenger
President of Friends of Ecological Reserves mfenger@pacificcoast.net

Cc Pam Jantzen and Bob Peart FER Board