Archive for April, 2014
Ottawa removes humpback whales off threatened species list for same area vital to Northern Gateway Pipeline project
VANCOUVER — Ottawa no longer considers the North Pacific population of humpback whales a threatened species, which lifts many legal protections for the whales’ habitat.
In an amendment released Saturday in the latest Canada Gazette, the Environment Department says the status of humpback whales off the British Columbia coast has been upgraded from “threatened” to “species of special concern.”
The revision follows a 2011 report from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada which determined the whale’s numbers have increased annually since the early 1990s, and now include more than 18,000 adults.
Reclassification under the Species At Risk Act removes legal protection for humpback habitat, which includes Johnstone Strait off the northeast end of Vancouver Island, a region that would also see increased oil tanker traffic if the Northern Gateway Pipeline project is approved.
he whale is central to a lawsuit brought by B.C. environmental groups trying to force Ottawa to abide by its own Species At Risk legislation.
The fate of the humpback was a major issue during the Northern Gateway public hearings that concluded last year, with many groups fearing that collisions, potential spills, and excessive noise would be a serious threat to the whales.
The endangered species legislation declares that “no person shall destroy any part of the critical habitat of any … listed threatened species.”
The government sent out 312 consultation letters and got 22 responses back.
Only five were in favour of the new designation — a total made up of two unidentified B.C. government ministries, one tourism organization, one environmental non-government organization, and one “unknown source.”
Of the other 17, six environmental groups, three academics, two tourism industry organizations, one First Nations organization and a single “unknown source” were opposed. Another four — two academics, one First Nations, and another “unknown” — were undecided. In several instances, the undecided said insufficient information was available.
The United States is also considering upgrading the status of Pacific humpback populations after the whales were hunted to near extinction in the early part of the 20th century.
CBC – Sat, 26 Apr, 2014
…Starting on April 28th, the city will begin a major construction project, expected to run until December 2016, that will result in a single lane closure in both directions. All lanes will temporarily reopen for the 2015 Pan Am Games in the summer.
GO Transit says they expect delays of up to 30 minutes, during peak hours, on bus Routes 16, 21 and 31.