Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: MRG2017-02

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. MRG2017-02 is issued.

Purpose:
Activity necessary or beneficial to the species
Activity affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Description:
The Flat Creek Prescribed Fire is a 580 hectare prescribed fire targeting the Engelmann Spruce Subalpine Fir located within an Intermediate Fire Management Zone of Glacier National Park. This burn is planned for late summer/fall conditions to meet the site objectives. The site objectives are to improve the park’s area burn departure, to generate habitat for fire dependent species such as whitebark pine and Olive-sided Flycatcher habitat while reducing long-term wildfire spread potential both within the Flat Creek and Illecillewaet River drainages. The prescribed fire is expected to harm or kill individual whitebark pine and, if conducted between August 15 and September 1, may harm or kill individual Little brown myotis or Northern myotis.

Start Date: 2019-08-15   End Date: 2024-10-31

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • British Columbia

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
Alternatives: Two alternatives were considered: no prescribed fire and logging to mimic the effects of fire. For all species, the option of no prescribed fire would result in an elevated risk of habitat loss through large uncontrollable wildfires. For whitebark pine, the option of no prescribed fire would also result in continued encroachment of competing species, resulting in reduction of available regeneration habitat. Logging cannot duplicate the effects of fire; it removes nutrients instead of recycling them. Even slash burning after logging results in different ecological effects. Logging often requires the creation of roads and landings, which would result in habitat fragmentation. Mitigations: Site treatment and initiation of this prescribed fire is scheduled to occur during periods of least risk for bats (September 1 – March 31), however if conditions are favorable, burning could occur as early as August 15 with the potential to negatively impact bat pups born or reared later in the season. It is expected that the majority of bat pups will have either left the roost or are able to fly. Given the controlled application of prescribed fire, species that are mobile are expected to move from the area during operations. Impacts from an early start date (i.e. August 15) will be further reduced through maintaining buffers next to riparian areas and burning as a mosaic to ensure that patches of old trees remain on the landscape. High elevation areas within the burn unit will be targeted for restoration planting of putatively resistant whitebark pine seedlings post-burn operations. There were insufficient whitebark pine individuals observed within the burn unit to complete a formal stand assessment, and no cone-bearing trees were identified for mechanical protection. Jeopardy to Survival or Recovery of the Species: The prescribed fire will not jeopardize the overall survival and recovery of whitebark pine, northern or little brown myotis but is expected to contribute to overall net benefits to these species. By introducing fire on the landscape in a controlled manner before white-nose syndrome has infected bats in Glacier National Park, individuals and residences will be insulated from further impacts caused by the potential of catastrophic wildfire. Prescription activities are scheduled to begin September 1, but if conditions are favorable, work could begin as early as August 15. It is likely that bats present in the area will be able to escape and only late-season pups may be impacted. It is reasonable to expect this would represent a small portion of the population within the park and an even smaller proportion of the local population, and therefore this prescribed fire will not jeopardize the survival and recovery of these bat species. As there were insufficient whitebark pine individuals observed within the burn unit to complete a formal stand assessment and no cone-bearing trees were identified, loss of some individual species is considered a small proportion of the local population. The restoration potential at this site post-fire, given the close proximity of cone-producing stands to the south combined with Mt Revelstoke and Glacier national park’s active seedling propagation program, is expected to contribute to the recovery of whitebark pine.

Contact Person(s)
Parks Canada
Species Conservation and Management
Natural Resource Conservation
Parks Canada
30 Victoria Street 3rd floor
Gatineau, QC
J8X 0B3
Tel: 888-773-8888
Fax: 819-420-9273
pca_sar.registrycomments@pc.gc.ca

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