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Conservation deal aims to protect 30 per cent of B.C. land by 2030

VANCOUVER — An environmental agreement to protect 30 per cent of British Columbia’s land by 2030 was signed today between the federal and British Columbia governments and the Indigenous-led First Nations Leadership Council.

The target of the framework agreement means another 100,000 square kilometres of land must be designated, adding to the 20 per cent of B.C. that’s already protected, the most of any province or territory.

A federal government statement says it’s the first agreement with a province to support Ottawa’s 30-per-cent-protection goal, which underpins Canada’s national biodiversity strategy.

It says the federal government will invest up to $500 million over the life of the deal, with B.C. providing matching funds.

Federal funding includes $50 million to protect 4,000 square kilometres of old-growth forest, and $104 million to restore the habitat of species at risk.

Other targets include supporting the recovery of spotted owls, and protecting enough old-growth forest to support 250 of the endangered birds.

The biodiversity, habitat, and species at risk protection agreement was signed at a ceremony in Vancouver by federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, Premier David Eby and Terry Teegee, B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief, as well as several other ministers and representatives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press