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Save Echo Lake’s Ancient Forest! Globally significant bald eagle habitat
Please WRITE-in to the public input process by November 5, 2012!
See SPECTACULAR photos of the Echo Lake Ancient Forest at:
Echo Lake is a magnificent, unprotected, lowland ancient rainforest in British Columbia between Mission and Agassiz in the Fraser Valley, about a hundred kilometers east of Vancouver. The region is home to perhaps the largest concentration of bald eagles on Earth, where thousands of eagles come each fall to eat spawning salmon in the Harrison and Chehalis Rivers and hundreds roost in the old-growth trees at night around Echo Lake.
- See the new Vancouver Sun article (October 11, 2012) “Province urged to protect Harrison eagles, 'Bald eagle capital of the world' along the Harrison River threatened by human activity, conservationists say“
- See the Ancient Forest Alliance’s media release about Echo Lake at: https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=483
Echo Lake is also home to a large array of biodiversity including bears, cougars, bobcats, deer, mountain goats, and osprey, and was historically populated by the critically endangered northern spotted owl. The area is in the traditional, unceded territory of the Sts’ailes First Nations band who hold great value in the salmon/cedar/eagle ecosystem.
Virtually all low elevation old-growth forests in the region have now been logged, with most remaining old-growth stands consisting of smaller trees at higher altitudes on steep slopes. However, one small gem of the classic lowland old-growth temperate rainforest, with its towering ancient Douglas fir trees and enormous moss-draped giant redcedars, remains – Echo Lake. The vigilance of local landowners on the east side of Echo Lake, whose private lands restrict access to the old-growth forests on the public lands on the west side, have held-off old-growth logging there for decades. Across the southern BC coast, about 80% of the original, productive old-growth forests have already been logged.
The BC government has recently released details of a long-awaited plan to increase protection for old-growth forests in the Chilliwack Forest District, which includes Echo Lake. While the government’s proposed boundaries for a new Old-Growth Management Area (OGMA) at Echo Lake would protect the old-growth forests on the lake’s south side, the current boundaries unfortunately exclude important old-growth redcedars and Douglas firs stands on the west and north side of the lake, as well as mature second-growth forests that buffer the ancient groves and provide important scenery and wildlife habitat around the lake. The deadline is November 5 to provide public input to modify the proposed plan.
In the bigger picture, across much of BC old-growth forests are now gravely endangered due to decades of overcutting and their conversion to second-growth tree plantations. Old-growth forests are vital to support endangered species, wildlife, tourism, recreation, clean water, the climate, and many First Nations cultures.
MAKE your VOICE HEARD by NOVEMBER 5! Please WRITE to the BC government asking them to:
- Expand the boundaries of the proposed Old-Growth Management Area at Echo Lake to include all of its surrounding old-growth and mature forests on public lands, including those on the north and west sides of the lake. Lowland old-growth forests are extremely rare today, and Echo Lake is globally important for roosting bald eagles.
- Create a plan to increase protection for the eagles, wild salmon, and their habitat in the surrounding Harrison and Chehalis Rivers region where thousands of bald eagles congregate to fish during the fall salmon run.
- Establish a Provincial Old-Growth Strategy to protect endangered old-growth forests across British Columbia, while ensuring sustainable logging in second-growth forests and ending the export of raw, unprocessed logs to foreign mills in order to sustain BC forestry jobs.
Enrique Sanchez, Chilliwack District Old-Growth Management Areas (OGMA’s) – Public Review Coordinator
And CC your email to:
Steve Thomson, BC Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations
Terry Lake, BC Minister of the Environment
Christy Clark, Premier of BC
Norm MacDonald, BC Opposition Forests Critic