Quack attack?

Yesterday, independent provincial legislator Vicki Huntington said the Campbell administration has "indicated no interest" in protecting the Pacific Flyway, a migratory route for birds that includes the Fraser estuary. Which is why she's going to make highlighting its importance one her top issues in the coming legislative session. But Ducks Unlimited Canada doesn't share her assessment. In an interview this morning, the conservation group's British Columbia operations and development manager Les Bogdan told Public Eye told "overall, I think between the (federal and provincial) governments they've done everything they can" to safeguard the flyway.

"But it takes a lot of money to protect lands in the Fraser River Estuary," he continued - almost $80,000 to $100,000 per acre, compared with $10,000 per acre on Vancouver Island. "And nobody has that kind of funding. So protect, yes. But how are we going to find innovative ways to do it? I was in Victoria last week and I talked to ministry of environment staff and we had a conference call with the federal people. And they're all aware of what we need to do."

Mr. Bogdan then recommended Ms. Huntington sit down with Ducks Unlimited to talk about the "various plans in place - how we'd like to move forward - and incorporate some of these initiatives into an overall plan for the estuary. To me, that would be the way to go. I'm not trying to criticize her. She lives in the area. She was a councillor in Delta. So she knows the impacts and the pressures that are faced there - on the foreshore and on ag lands."

"But, to me, we really need to sit down and talk and be able to bring all the experts together and come up with a composite plan that takes into account we can buy everything, so what other tools can we implement."

In 2006, Ducks Unlimited gave the transportation ministry a platinum award for wetlands protection. A year later, it and three other groups traveled to Victoria to present East Kooteny legislator Bill Bennett with the Outdoor Heritage Award for Preservation. And, in 2008, Duck Unlimited commemorated the Liberals as one of its "partners in conversation" with a painting that hangs in the governing party's caucus meeting room.

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