CBFA Caribou Conservation Plan – A Career Highlight

By August 18, 2014Blog

Working on a project for Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) was a career highlight for me.

I’ve worked on many projects throughout my 30-plus-year career as a wildlife biologist, but there are only a few that stand out to me.  The “stand-out” projects were not only interesting and challenging, but also were professionally rewarding and enjoyable to work on because of cohesive and positive team interactions.

The recommendations for a Caribou Conservation Plan for the Pasquia-Bog woodland caribou population that I recently completed for CBFA is one of those “stand out” projects.

The herd is a cross-border population shared between Manitoba and Saskatchewan situated at the southern extent of woodland caribou range within boreal plain ecoregion of Canada.  The southern extent of a species range inherently has higher risks because of conflicting land use demands and habitat limitations.  Collectively, this can result in polarized views on land management, which can have significant ramifications for a sensitive species such as woodland caribou.

But, the work I have done for CBFA on behalf of the Saskatchewan Regional Working Group was not conducted within the confrontational environment that one might expect from working groups composed of industry and non-government environmental organizations.

As I said, this project certainly ranks among those on the top of the list in my career thus far.  All working group members that I interacted with had a genuine interest in working towards constructive, science-based solutions.  All were proactive at providing positive feedback on various range planning scenarios.  All discussions were positive and respectful of each other’s positions on land use strategies and caribou conservation.  All were open-minded to the information provided through science, data analysis and biological constraints of a species that is sensitive to habitat disturbance.  We worked hard together as a team, and it was enjoyable and rewarding.  Thank you.

The RWG has found Al’s expertise to be integral to understanding the ecological and biological needs for woodland caribou in the Pasquia Porcupine Forest Management agreement area in east central Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan working group continues to take this information under advisement in its efforts to make recommendations to provincial and Aboriginal governments to conserve this iconic species at risk and ensure opportunities for development that the companies and communities that depend on it.

Should you have any questions or comments about the work of the Saskatchewan working group of the CBFA please don’t hesitate to contact Chanda Hunnie, CBFA Saskatchewan and Manitoba Coordinator at Chanda@borealagreement.ca or 204.995.1555.