Tzeachten First Nation, Katzie First Nation and Dillon were honoured with 2019 Environmental Managers Association of British Columbia (EMA of BC) Awards on June 13th, 2019.
Dillon and Tzeachten First Nation received the Members Choice Award for the Conservation and Restoration of Oregon Forestsnail Habitat project. Tzeachten First Nation is a small community of 662 members; over 55% of Tzeachten members live off-reserve due to the lack of available housing. In response to this housing crisis, initial pre-development environmental assessments were undertaken in 2010 which identified the Schedule 1 endangered species, Oregon forestsnail. Oregon forestsnail is a member of a large, diverse family of North American land snails, of which, only 66 breeding sites are known to occur in BC. Tzeachten First Nation and Dillon undertook extensive studies on the snail population, working with federal and provincial regulators, community groups, and other stakeholders throughout the process. This project is both a conservation win for a critically imperilled species and a success story of a decade-long journey to help Tzeachten bring their members home.
Katzie First Nation and Dillon received the Organizational Environmental Programs Award for the project “Developing an Environmental Management & Protection Regime (EMPR) for Katzie First Nation”. As a signatory to the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management in 2015, Katzie is now responsible for land and environmental management on its reserve lands. The EMPR is being developed and implemented to ensure environmental due diligence, manage liability risks, and close the regulatory gap that exists on reserve lands. Key components of the EMPR include environmental site assessments to characterize and address existing environmental issues, and the development of laws, plans and policies to prevent future issues, including: an environmental assessment process; an Environmental Management Plan (EMP); a Land Use Plan (LUP); a Subdivision, Development and Servicing Law; and a Soil Deposit, Removal & Transport Law. Dillon has been working closely with Katzie to engage the community and develop the EMP, LUP and EA process. Once fully implemented, the EMPR will serve as a success story in terms of both environmental management and Indigenous empowerment.