14.9 Old-Growth Species
Thanks to Parks Canada’s commitment to maintaining species that depend on old-growth forests, there will be no human-caused reduction in the parks’ ancient forests. An evaluation of any proposal is required to ensure it will not affect these unique old-growth stands.
Expanding the transportation corridor and forestry operations outside the parks could threaten old-growth species. As stated previously, the parks are committed to collaborating with others to address concerns.
Climate change may also affect old-growth forest; long-term monitoring is required to identify trends.
Proposals to work with others in the Columbia Mountains Natural Region will mitigate impacts on species-at-risk.
Parks Canada recognizes the importance of cooperation in researching, monitoring and managing species-at-risk. Although some proposals have the potential to affect species-at-risk, environmental assessments would identify mitigation to minimize and/or eliminate impacts. Possible significant impacts of external stressors will again require a cooperative approach. The plan includes a series of actions related to the protection of old-growth and riparian dependent species.
14.11 Wildlife Mortality
Education, research and monitoring, combined with proposals for the transportation corridor, may reduce human-caused wildlife mortality.
Human use, the transportation corridor and forestry operations all contribute to wildlife mortality. Several existing or proposed research programs will determine population levels of certain species. Combined with other initiatives – “best practices” for the highway and railway, wildlife crossing structures, speed reductions, fencing, education, and initiatives to reduce habituation of wildlife – these programs may reduce wildlife mortality.
More traffic and increased speed associated with expanding the transportation corridor could significantly increase the number of wildlife/vehicle collisions. The environmental assessment of twinning the highway would require specific mitigation to address this issue.
It is important for Parks Canada to continue its participation in joint research and monitoring and to collaborate in developing land use and wildlife management practices in the regional ecosystem. Parks Canada must also participate in environmental assessments for regional projects, to mitigate their effect on the parks.
14.12 Residual Effects
With proper mitigation, identified through project-specific environmental assessments, residual effects should be insignificant.
Many of the proposals will reduce the impact of past activities, improving the ecological and commemorative integrity of the parks and historic site. Where data to determine levels of acceptable use are not available, research and monitoring will provide the information required to implement changes.
The parks will continue to experience stress from external sources including forestry operations, dams, communities and recreation in the surrounding area. While Parks Canada will work with others to reduce the environmental impact of these activities, certain residual effects will remain (e.g., habitat fragmentation and access issues). The long-term implications of these residual effects are unclear, in part due to uncertainty over levels of human use and access, and the possible upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway.
14.13 Public Input
In March 2002, Parks Canada distributed a management plan concept to stakeholders, First Nations, staff, and the public for review. The document discussed the management plan’s proposals and the resulting environmental effects.
Parks Canada has analysed the comments it received and incorporated suggestions as appropriate. Once the management plan is approved and proposals are brought forward for implementation, specific projects will be subject to further environmental assessment and public review.
The cumulative effect of the plan’s proposals will clearly help enhance ecological and commemorative integrity. Potentially adverse effects of proposals in the management plan can be mitigated so they are insignificant.
The management plan for Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Rogers Pass is consistent with Parks Canada’s legislation and policies. Satisfactory peer review and public input have taken place. The management plan proposes actions to address the ecological threats identified in the parks’ Ecological Integrity Statement. Further research and project-specific environmental assessments will guide future decision-making. Parks Canada recognizes the importance of co-operating with neighbouring land management agencies and stakeholders to protect ecological and commemorative integrity. This approach will help to address cumulative effects, since decisions and direction will be based on the scale at which environmental effects occur.
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