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Grizzly bears, impact significance, and the Greenville to Kincolith road project in West-Central British Colombia

  • Author(s): Demarchi, Mike W.
  • et al.
Abstract

A project to link the communities of Greenville and Kincolith, British Columbia, with an all-season gravel road was initiated in the mid 1990s. Construction is expected to run from 2001 through 2003. This was the first access project in British Columbia to be reviewed by provincial and federal environmental assessment authorities. A framework for determining the “significance” of environmental effects was developed to examine the spatial extent, magnitude, and duration of adverse effects. The project was expected to have significant direct and indirect residual impacts on grizzly bears, as a considerable amount of high-quality habitat would be lost or alienated and there would be a high risk of bear mortality due to increased human-bear interactions. Faced with the costly, but legislated requirement that all significant effects undergo panel review, approaches to further mitigate residual impacts were sought. The result was an extensive program of bear-human conflict avoidance, enforcement, and a ten-year monitoring program for the project area that would gauge the success of the mitigation plan. Monitoring will document grizzly bear sightings, monitor key habitats, collect hair for DNA analysis to determine minimum numbers of grizzly bears present each year and to develop a database of individuals and parentage, and document problem bear occurrences and grizzly bear mortalities.

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