Historic Agreement for Flathead River Basin

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Conservation Groups Cheer B.C. and Montana for Going for "Conservation Gold”

A new B.C.–Montana agreement to sustain environmental values in the Flathead River Basin is a vital step to securing permanent protection for the globally-significant Flathead River Valley, conservation groups said today.

“We’re encouraged that the agreement to be signed today between B.C. and Montana signals a new era of cooperation to protect the internationally recognized values of the Flathead River Valley," said Casey Brennan, Southern Rockies Program Manager for Wildsight. “We commend Premier Gordon Campbell for banning mining and oil and gas development in this very special place.”

Wildsight, Sierra Club BC, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) continue to urge the B.C. government to permanently protect the Flathead with a national park in the south eastern one-third of the Flathead River Valley, and a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the valley and adjoining habitat.

“B.C.’s Flathead River Valley is so exceptional that it needs the permanent protection offered by a national park in the lower one-third of the valley, adjacent to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park,” said CPAWS-BC Executive Director Chloe O’Loughlin. “The animals in this part of the Rockies also need a Wildlife Management Area as a traveling corridor - it's particularly important with climate change and weather-dependent food supplies. These creatures need to move and migrate from the Flathead River Watershed up to Banff National Park, or points along the way."

“We’re delighted that B.C. and Montana are going for conservation gold,” said Sierra Club BC spokesperson Sarah Cox. “Today’s agreement recognizes that nature has no national boundaries and that B.C. and Montana must work together to protect the fish, wildlife and water that we share, especially in view of climate change.”

B.C.’s Flathead Valley is the missing piece of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – a World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Conservation groups took their quest for Flathead protection to the World Heritage Committee (WHC) last year, leading to a recent WHC report that recommended a Flathead mining ban and development of a transboundary conservation and wildlife management plan for the area.

See the Memorandum of Understanding here - http://www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca/DisplayEventDetails.aspx?eventId=478