Fish and Wildlife Science and Allocation Section
4051 18th Avneue
Prince George BC
Dear Mr. Wilson:
Re: Proposed Wildlife Habitat Area for Bull Trout in the Goat River Watershed
I am writing in support of the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection's proposal for the designation of a Wildlife Habitat Area in the Goat River Watershed to protect bull trout habitat. I believe that this Wildlife Habitat Area (WHA) will be beneficial both for the species and, for the economy of the Robson Valley.
Bull trout are 'blue-listed' (considered vulnerable) by the BC government's Conservation Data Centre and are listed by the Forest Service as an 'identified wildlife species', deserving special protection under the Forest Practices Code. This status is due to an overall decline in population numbers throughout its range as a result of habitat degradation, disruption of migration patterns and over-fishing. The Goat River Watershed is considered to be a regionally important area for the continued survival of this species. As such, protection measures in the Goat River watershed are a significant opportunity to halt the decline in Bull trout numbers.
I understand that a seasonal angling closure is in effect in the upper Goat River system, but that can not be sufficient to negate the effects of habitat degradation and migratory disruptions. I strongly feel that a more effective, permanent barrier should be provided between this vulnerable fish species and the impacts of human development. The proposed wildlife habitat area will provide this barrier.
The Village of McBride has made it publicly known that they do not support this WHA, fearing for the impact of the measure on local logging employment. This view, however, is a short term one. The economic benefits to be derived from eco-based tourism are potentially greater, and certainly much more sustainable than those resulting from the timber values of the Goat River watershed. Provincial and local harvesting plans show that even if the Goat River were developed, forestry, as we know it, would not support a sustained economy in the Robson Valley.
In the interest of primarily bull trout, and secondarily the long term sustainability of the Robson Valley, I strongly urge Land and Water BC to proceed with this WHA in the Goat River.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important matter