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Draft agreement reached on southern mountain caribou recovery

The federal and B.C. governments have developed a draft agreement to support recovery of the southern mountain caribou, starting with herds in the B.C. Peace and down into the Rockies.

The federal and B.C. governments have developed a draft agreement to support recovery of the southern mountain caribou, starting with herds in the B.C. Peace and down into the Rockies.

The agreement sets out short-, medium- and long term goals for reversing the decline of the population, known as the central group, according to a statement issued Thursday.

Actions under the plan include range planning, habitat protection and restoration, as well as population management, including maternity penning and access control to sensitive caribou habitat. B.C. is also to establish a fund to support the efforts.

Following consultations with Indigenous communities and stakeholders, Ottawa and Victoria are expect to conclude their negotiations on the draft agreement over the next several months and release a final agreement in spring 2018.

"We are committed to working with British Columbia, Indigenous Peoples, as well as with stakeholders, to develop science-based approaches to recovering caribou while continuing to support economic development and job creation," federal environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna said in the statement.

Once the final agreement is in place, the intention is to expand the agreement to other southern mountain caribou groups in British Columbia.

"Along with our Indigenous and federal partners, we will work closely with industry and other stakeholders to effectively reverse the decline in caribou and restore people's faith that responsible, sustainable resource development can occur in B.C.," B.C. environment and climate change strategy minister George Heyman said in the same statement.

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