B.C. Auditor General Michael Pickup in 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS

B.C. Auditor General Michael Pickup in 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS

B.C. didn’t effectively manage conservation lands program: auditor general

Michael Pickup says staff had limited approaches to resolving the unauthorized use of the most at-risk conservation lands

British Columbia’s auditor general says the province failed to adequately manage a conservation lands program aimed at protecting habitats for fish and wildlife species that are some of the most diverse in Canada.

Michael Pickup says his audit shows the conservation program lacked strategic direction and that plans for most wildlife management areas were not current or approved for species that include at-risk migratory birds.

He says regional staff had limited approaches to resolving the unauthorized use of conservation lands and had not assessed which lands were most at risk.

Pickup says hundreds of unauthorized activities occurred on conservation lands between 2009 and 2020, and the inventory of conservation lands was inaccurate.

His audit also reveals the province had not monitored or reported publicly on the effectiveness of the program.

Pickup has issued a report containing 11 recommendations with the goal of resolving threats to the most at-risk lands and improving tracking of inventory on habitats, including the most biologically productive estuaries, wetlands and grasslands in B.C.

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