The Project was initiated to support the recovery objectives for southern mountain caribou populations within the territory (Simpcw’Úl̓ecw). Within these recovery objectives, road rehabilitation has become an important component for the recovery of caribou habitat. Furthermore, a Simpcw Caribou Restoration and Monitoring Report has been drafted specifically for the Project, which may also serve as a guidance document for other First Nations and organizations looking to undertake road rehabilitation within their territories.
The Project began in June 2022, upon approval of funding by ECCC, and is anticipated to be complete in March 2026. All work for Project has and will be completed directly through Simpcw or through Simpcw majority owned professional service businesses. Caribou are protected at both the federal and provincial levels, listed as a Threatened species, under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and red-listed (threatened endangered). As habitat has been altered throughout caribou population units, rates of predation have increased as early seral forests have begun to provide increased forage for other ungulate species such as moose (Alces americanus), and therefore supported the increased numbers of wolf (Canis lupus) populations (Bridger, 2019). Predation is further exacerbated by linear development, as the lack of obstacles increases movement and allows for further access into caribou range. Furthermore, human activities, such as habitat destruction and vehicular stimuli, may deter caribou from utilizing high quality habitat in an effort to avoid areas, further exasperating stress on herds (Webster, 1997).