Conservation office launches new guardian role for Haida Gwaii

Position developed in part to improve partnerships with Haida Nation

Conservation has formed a new partnership with the Haida Nation and Parks Canada for an auxiliary position they hope will improve communication between the organizations and streamline enforcement strategies.

Haida member Mark Grinder is the first to fill the role with the Conservation Officer Service (COS) as fish and wildlife land guardian.

“Our goal with this is to increase our partnerships, and increase the Haida nation’s capacity as well in their involvement with compliance and enforcement,” says COS Sgt. Kyle Ackles. Mark is kind of the first step in this…the Council of the Haida Nation already have their fishery guardian program but are very limited in what they can do from an enforcement perspective. But mark is a designated conservation officer so he will be able to do enforcement from the sea and onto the terrestrial land base, including cultural features.”

Grinder will also be working with natural resource officers to monitor compliance in the forestry sector.

The COS office on Haida Gwaii has spent the last 18 months putting the new role together. Grinder has been with the service since November after being vetted through the standard hiring and training process, Ackles says.

Grinder is an employee of BC Conservation and has the same level of authority as all other officers. However a new uniform is now being designed with some slight changes to include Haida insignia.

“As a conservation officer he will be enforcing fish and wildlife laws and environmental pollution and working within our team. We’re integrated with natural resource officers and conservation officers, and now with the Haida guardian. We also work very closely with Parks Canada so he will be working very closely with them in Gwaii Haanas.

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