Cultus Pygmy Sculpin Draft Action Plan - Consultation Summary
The Cultus Pygmy Sculpin was listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in June 2003. A recovery strategy for the species was finalized in February 2007. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is the competent minister under SARA for the Cultus Pygmy Sculpin and prepared the action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia, as set out in section 48(1) of SARA. Processes for coordination and consultation between the federal and British Columbia governments on management and protection of species at risk are outlined in the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Species at Risk (2005). The draft document was also sent to the Parks Canada Agency and Environment Canada for review and comment.
In March 2011 a workshop was held in Cultus Lake, British Columbia to gather input from participants for the action plan. Information on local activities and perspectives, the species’ biology and current management was provided by: the University of British Columbia’s species expert, both provincial Ministry of Environment and BC Parks staff, and the Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewardship Strategy (CLASS), which is a network of people working towards a healthy Cultus Lake. CLASS membership includes local residents, volunteer scientists, representatives from non-government organizations, industry, First Nations, regional and municipal governments, BC Parks and DFO.
Consultations on the draft action plan occurred between November 15 and December 17, 2012. Consultation activities included:
- on-line posting of the draft action plan, background information and a comment form;
- letters, e-mails and faxes with information on the draft action plan consultations offering 15 First Nation organizations an opportunity for bilateral meetings;
- letters regarding the draft action plan consultations were mailed to approximately 150 private landowners;
- e-mails regarding the action plan consultations were sent to approximately 150 stakeholders including agricultural associations, industry (agriculture, property development and forestry), academia, environmental non-government organizations, community stewardship groups and government representatives (municipal, regional, provincial and federal);
- a community open house in Cultus Lake where information was shared and feedback forms were distributed;
- public notices of the community open house and action plan consultations were posted throughout the community of Cultus Lake, for example at the golf-course, community halls, post office, resort residences and Park Board Association Office; and
- social media tweets notifying of consultations with links to the on-line postings.
Approximately 15 people participated in the November 24, 2012 Cultus Lake community open house. Nine people, the Province of British Columbia and one local government submitted comments on elements of the draft action plan via e-mail, electronic submission of the guidebook and mail.
Open-house participants were predominantly positive towards the action plan, as were the majority of those that submitted comments, with the identified critical habitat and its protection and recovery measures supported. A number of respondents expressed an interest in participating in recovery actions and emphasized the need for funding to be available in order to effectively implement recovery measures. Many respondents understood the action plan to be a means to help address concerns regarding invasive species and water quality degradation of Cultus Lake. New observational information on habitat use and behavior of the Cultus Pygmy Sculpin was gained through the consultation process. One submission sought clarity on thresholds for activities likely to destroy critical habitat, information on the Department’s future management and enforcement of such activities, and reassurances that no additional regulatory burden would result and no restrictions would be placed on the use or enjoyment of Cultus Lake.
All comments received were considered in the finalization of the action plan.
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