Land & Resource Management

The full extent of Quatsino Territory is shown on Map 1 and Map 2. We continue to exercise and assert our aboriginal rights and interests here. Within this area, we must be consulted with and our title and rights must be accommodated when they are infringed upon.

Basic Land Use Principles

We will consider- and potentially support – a wide range of land uses within our Territory. However, at a minimum, development must follow these basic land use principles:

Maintain Healthy Ecosystems

This means development and use must not result in significant damage to the natural environment unless it is can be repaired or mitigated.

Promote Water Stewardship

Water nourishes entire ecosystems and provides important habitat for plants and animals. It is required for our homes, schools and businesses. It also essential to the spiritual, cultural and physical wellbeing of our people. Water is the lifeblood of our Territory. Protecting water in all its forms (rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater and rainwater) is imperative. Development and use must not permanently impact water quality or quantity.  A water steward ship plan is required for new development and use if negative impacts are expected.

Important Note -> The potable water supplied to our main community comes from Quatse Lake – in the Territory of our neighbours (Kwakiutl First Nation). The Federal Government holds tenure here on behalf of Quatsino First Nation. This is a unique situation where our interests extend beyond the boundaries of our Territory.   

Protect and Preserve Old Forests

Old forests are critically important to healthy ecosystems and are a critically important cultural resource for our people. They help regulate stream temperature and keep the water cool and clean in the summer. This is vital for healthy fish stocks and shellfish. Old trees are also required for carving and ceremonial purposes. Unfortunately, most of our Territory was logged without our consent and mature stands are getting harder to find. All remaining stands of old growth cedar are off-limits for commercial logging and mature second growth forests may only be harvested if plans are consistent with our Cedar Strategy.

Meaningful Consultation and Benefits to Our People

Proponents of new developments and uses must follow Quatsino First Nation Consultation Accommodation Policy (See Appendix D).

Decision Making and Permitting Authority

Quatsino First Nation will develop permitting and licensing for proponents in our Territory. These ‘Quatsino Permits’ will be required for all individuals, companies, Nations, governments, Quatsino First Nation members and other proponents wishing to engage in any activity and will supersede all federal and provincial permitting and licensing,

Protect Culturally Significant Lands and Resources

This means protection of the following areas from adverse impacts associated with resource development and land uses: 

  • Historic villages;
  • Traditional resource collection and processing sites;
  • Burial sites (e.g. often small islands located near historic village sites);
  • Sacred and spiritual sites (e.g. locations that correspond with out origin stories).

It also means traditional resources that are valuable to us must be protected and maintained in sufficient quality and quantity.

Action Item -> We intend on working with our elders and active land users to formally document a “Quatsino Calendar” that highlights our annual round and traditional resources that are culturally significant. This will be displayed as a wheel, with each segment pertaining to a month in the year. Within each month, the resource harvested, and its purpose(s) will be stated.

Consider Cumulative Effects and Climate Change

The impact of a single development can look small if it is considered in isolation. However, when it is considered over time, and in conjunction with other development, it can often result significant adverse effects. When a new development is proposed cumulative impacts must be considered.

Action Item -> Quatsino First Nation will look for opportunities to seek funding and work collaboratively with government and industry proponents to develop a framework for monitoring and assessing cumulative effects – including ones associated with climate change.

 Address Reconciliation through Reclamation

Historic resource extraction practices in our Territory were often very poor and resulted in significant adverse impacts. Logging too close to streams led to increased sediment and higher water temperatures, which has contributed to declines in salmon stocks. Dumping of waste rock from mining activities into the Quatsino Sound has negatively impacted shellfish. Healing the land is now an important priority for our people. It will be key to establishing new positive relationships. Industry proponents associated with poor historic practices must contribute to healing the land if the are going to continue operating in our Territory.

Tenure (Application and Approval)

New tenures issued by the Crown (for forestry, mining, energy production… etc.) will not be recognized unless Quatsino First Nation has provided consent (see Quatsino First Nation Consultation Accommodation Policy in Appendix D).

Action Item -> Quatsino First Nation will develop its own application and approval process for granting tenure within its Territory.

Sector Specific Directives

The “Sector Specific Policy Directives” provide goals and policy directives for achieving the strategic objectives in accordance with the land use principles.

Forestry

Goal(s)
  • To have a diversified and sustainable forest sector that is committed to reconciliation. Reconciliation means acknowledging and addressing past
    practices that have had negative impacts throughout our Territory.
Policy Directives
  • All old forests (i.e., stands with trees 60 years and older) may only be harvested if plans are consistent with our forestry planning documents.
  • The volume of wood being harvested annually from our Territory must be reduced below 2018 levels.
  • Work towards at least half of the viable forest land within our Territory being covered by large tracts of old forests (i.e., stands with trees 60 years and older) that function as “complete ecosystems”.
  • Forestry companies operating in our Territory are expected to address reconciliation for the sectors past practices through:
    • Reclamation and remediation 
    • Opportunities for access to cultural forest resources outside riparian and old growth management areas
    • Improved revenue-sharing and community benefit agreements
  • All forestry plans developed by industry proponents must be developed in collaboration with Quatsino First Nation. This mean Quatsino First Nation must be involved early in the planning process and must formally sign off and approve the document.
  • Prioritize support for forestry activities that are being led by (or include involvement of) our members and/or band-owned businesses.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this Land Use Plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, forestry actives must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Mining

Goal(s)
  • To see mining activities re-established in our Territory.
  • To see mining activities conducted in a respectful and sustainable manner that is consistent with our Land Use Plan
Policy Directives
  • Mining activities should avoid undisturbed areas and are encouraged to be in locations that have already been impacted by past uses.
  • Prioritize support for mining activities that are being led by (or include involvement of) our members and/or band owned businesses.
  • There must be a reasonable degree of certainty that the impacts of mining to the potentially affected ecosystem (including air, water, plants and animals) are adequately understood, and can be effectively minimized through careful design, management plans and mitigation (including closure) to a degree acceptable to Quatsino First Nation.
  • Quatsino First Nation must be given the opportunity and resources to participate in an Environmental Assessment process. This includes determining the scope of the assessment.
  • Proponents must negotiate an impact benefit agreement with Quatsino First Nation prior to developing a mine.
  • Mines and quarries must be fully remediated and healthy ecosystems restored when operation cease.
  • Quatsino First Nation will review bond levels established by the Crown on a project-by-project basis. An additional reclamation bond may be required (and held by Quatsino First Nation) as the Crowns bonds are not adequate.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this Land Use Plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, mining actives must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Energy Development

Goal(s)
  • For our Territory to become “energy self-sufficient” and eventually become an exporter of clean energy.
  • To play the lead role in developing clean energy resources within our Territory.
Policy Directives
  • Secure energy purchase agreements with BC Hydro.
  • Prioritize support for energy projects that are being led by (or include involvement of) our members and/or band owned businesses.
  • Industry proponents should provide an opportunity for Quatsino First Nation to acquire an equity stake in their projects.
  • Prioritize support for energy projects that result in minimal surface disturbance (e.g. new roads and power lines).
  • Hydroelectric projects must not negatively impact salmon habitat.
  • Hydroelectric projects are encouraged to be located on streams that do not support salmon stocks (currently or historically).
  • Hydroelectric projects must not divert water to different watersheds.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this land use plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, the development of energy projects must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture

Goal(s)
  • To maintain a healthy marine environment and abundant populations of wild salmon.
  • To have a diversified and sustainable aquaculture sector.
Policy Directives
  • Establish a moratorium for commercial harvesting of kelp in our Territory.
  • Establish a moratorium for commercial trawling in our Territory.
  • Establish a moratorium on commercial herring fishing in our Territory.
  • The volume of salmon being harvested from our Territory must be reduced by at least 25% (i.e. at least 25% below 2018 levels).
  • Work with the Crown to establish policies that move commercial fishing for salmon to an “instream” fishery. This means harvesting
    salmon in freshwater streams where healthy stocks can be targeted more effectively with less bycatch.
  • Require aquaculture companies to contribute financially to:
    • the establishment of a Trust that will fund studies and scientific research on the impacts of fish farming in Quatsino Territory.
    • the establishment of a hatchery program to help enhance wild salmon stocks.
  • Encourage existing aquaculture companies to relocate operations to contained facilities on land once their existing tenures and agreements expire.
  • Work with the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association to identify and develop sustainable community-led aquaculture opportunities.
  • Prioritize support for aquaculture projects that are being led by (or include involvement of) our members and/or band owned businesses.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this land use plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, the commercial fishing and aquaculture must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Urban and Rural Land Development

Goal(s)
  • To achieve sustainable and efficient development patterns throughout our Territory.
  • To achieve development does not limit opportunities for our members, and the public, to access and enjoy natural resources.
Policy Directives
  • Additional land must not be converted to private (fee simple) status by the Crown – especially along waterfronts.
  • Collaborate with local governments on the development approval process for projects within our Territory.
  • Initiate a joint planning process with Mount Waddington Regional District regarding Winter Harbour and Coal Harbour.
  • Require developments to have proper wastewater disposal systems that do not have negative impacts on the environment.
  • Encourage compact forms of development.
  • Limit shoreline development.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this land use plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, urban and rural land development must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Recreation

Goal(s)
  • For Quatsino Territory to be known as a premier outdoor recreation and ecotourism destination
  • To achieve sustainable and healthy populations of fish and wildlife
  • To acknowledge, celebrate and respect Quatsino culture and history.
Policy Directives
  • Quatsino will acquire Provincial guide, outfitting and trapping licences when they come up for renewal.
  • Establish a Regional Tourism Organization to:
    • Promote and enhance tourism Quatsino Territory
    • Provide support to entrepreneurs
    • Create a licencing and certification structure that guides activities to follow proper cultural protocols (i.e. to not desecrate sacred sites).
  • Do not permit other First Nations to undertake cultural tourism activities within our Territory without express permission to do so.
  • Provide support for member-owned tourism businesses
  • Establish a moratorium on elk hunting in our Territory by non-members until populations have recovered.
  • Ensure there are quality opportunities for resident hunters and sport fishermen to spend money and contribute to our economy. This means hunting species other than elk – including predators.
Other Notes
  • Special Management Area’s have been established as part of this land use plan (see Section 4.3) for areas of critical community interest. If applicable, outdoor recreation and eco-tourism activities must be consistent with the goals and objectives established for each of those specific area areas.

Special Management Areas

We have established the following “Special Management Areas” within our Territory:

 

Quatsino/Quattishe Special Management Area

Winter Harbour Special Management Area

Koprino Harbour Special Management Area

Cape Scott Special Management Area

Marble River Watershed Special Management Area

Mahatta River Watershed Special Management Area

These are areas of critical interest that require additional protection and warrant a more detailed policy framework – one that expands upon our overarching principles (see Section 4.1).  Map 2 shows the extent of these Special Management Areas. The following pages provide background, establish overarching goals and specific policies for each Special Management Area.

Important Note -> Additional Special Management Areas will be created in the future as new issues and priorities emerge

Overlapping Special Management Areas?

In some cases, our Special Management Areas overlap. If this is the case the more restrictive set of policies will apply (see image below).

If policies contradict here, then the more restrictive one(s) apply.

Quatsino/Quattishe Special Management Area

This is an area of critical importance to our people. It is the “gateway” to our Territory and our “backyard”. Our current community is located within this area as well as the historic village we were relocated from in the 1970’s (i.e. Quattishe).

Goal(s):

To protect and celebrate our history here.

To remain an important settlement area for our people in the future.

Policies:

Further alienation of land in this area (by granting new tenures or disposition of Crown land) will not be permitted – especially along the waterfront.

Implement various community development initiatives in this area (see Section 5.1)

Acquire new reserve lands for community expansion in this area (see Section 5.4).

Secure resources from the Crown to properly remediate the abandoned Island Copper Mine.

Important Note -> Since being abandoned, the Island Copper Mine has been inundated by the sea and it leaks heavy metals and other contaminants into the inlet.  Remediating this site is a top priority for our people.

Work with partners to promote eco-tourism and cultural tourism opportunities in this area.

Limit commercial logging in this area, especially near our Reserve Lands and important view corridors (along the highway and from the ocean).

Conservation activities here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions here must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere. 

Winter Harbour Special Management Area

This is a culturally significant area for our people. It was a sacred point of origin for our Giopino (Gob’inuxw) ancestors. Several historic village sites and resource sites used by our Giopino (Gob’inuxw) and Quatsino (Qwat’sinuxw) ancestors were clustered here. The village at Grass Point was used until the 1970’s when the Federal Government facilitated our relocation to our current community. Some of our members still have cabins and choose to live here seasonally.

Goal(s):

To protect and celebrate our history in this area.

To provide opportunities for members to move back to Winter Harbour, even if it is just seasonally.

Policies:

Further alienation of land in this area (by granting new tenures or disposition of Crown land) will not be tolerated – especially along the waterfront.

Establish prominent interpretive signage throughout Winter Harbour that explains our history in area and tells how our reserve lands here were wrongfully taken and given to settlers.

Implement various community development initiatives in this area (see Section 5.1).

Work with partners to promote eco-tourism and cultural tourism opportunities in this area.

Establish a resort development on our reserve lands.

Prohibit commercial logging in this area.

Conservation activities here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions here must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere. 

Koprino Harbour Special Management Area

This is a culturally significant area for our people. It was a sacred point of origin for our Giopino (Gob’inuxw) ancestors. Important Giopino (Gob’inuxw) winter villages were located here until the 1860’s when a small pox epidemic decimated the population. Survivors were forced to amalgamate with our Koskimo (Gusgimukw) ancestors and soon began wintering with them at Quattishe. However, Koprino Harbour remained (and continues to remain) an important spiritual site and area for fishing and clams. In the 1970’s, we were forced to give up our main reserve at Koprino Harbour (IR #10) when the Federal Government facilitated our relocation to our current community.

Goal(s):

To protect and celebrate our history in this area.

To develop infrastructure that will make it easier for our members to practice our traditions and harvest resources in this area.

Policies:

Establish prominent interpretive signage throughout Koprino Harbour that explains our history in area and tells how we were forced to give up our main reserve here when we were relocated to our current community.

Implement various community development initiatives in this area (campsites, trails, cabin, smoke houses… etc.).

Work with partners to promote eco-tourism and cultural tourism opportunities in this area.

Establish a Tribal Park here and work with the British Columbia government to have the park formally recognized with protections from future resource development (e.g. logging).

Conservation activities here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions here must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere. 

Cape Scott Special Management Area

This is a culturally significant area for our people. Our Koskimo (Gusgimukw) and Quatsino (Qwat’sinuxw) ancestors originated from sacred origin points along the north coast of Vancouver Island here. Much of this area is protected and falls within Cape Scott Provincial Park.

Goal(s):

To protect and celebrate our history in this area. 

Policies:

Work with the British Columbia Government (BC Parks) to:

– Expand Cape Scott Provincial Park to the south so that the entire area around San Josef Bay is protected.
Important Note -> our Quatsino (Qwat’sinuxw) ancestors originated from sacred origin points around San Josef Bay. Part of this area, but not all of it, falls within Cape Scott Provincial Park.

– Establish material and interpretive signage at our historic village site that explain our important history in this area.

Conservation activities here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere. 

Marble River Watershed Special Management Area

Historic village sites were located at the mouth of the Marble River mainly because of the significant salmon fisheries located there. All five species of pacific salmon return to spawn in this watershed. However, logging and other historic resource development has had significant adverse impacts. As a Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s Report summarizes: [5]

The Alice Lake area was heavily logged by Rayonier and McMillan Bloedel Ltd. in the 1940’s. The Victoria Lake drainage was extensively logged prior to the mid 1960’s. The middle and upper Benson and upper Marble Rivers… were logged McMillan Bloedel Ltd. [in the 1980’s]… Numerous mining ventures have operated in the watershed, principally in the Benson River area. In 1959, waste from Mannix Iron Mines was reported entering the Benson River. The tailings from Cominco’s Benson Lake copper operation were dumped into Benson Lake until its closure in 1972.

[5] P.E. Sprout and F.J. Fraser, A Preliminary Report on the Salmon Resource and Potential Enhancement Opportunities of the Northern West Coast of Vancouver Island (Areas 26 and 27), Vancouver Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1981. p. 52 (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/30839.pdf)

Goal(s):

To heal the land.

Restore salmon stocks to historic levels that would have existed prior to the 1900’s. 

Policies:

Work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Federal Government) and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (Provincial Government), to update fish habitat assessments for the Marble River watershed.

Work with the Provincial Government and industry proponents to establish a Watershed Management Plan that:

– Identifies and prioritizes fish habitat improvements;

– Protects stream flows and groundwater resources;

– Considers cumulative effects and potential impacts associated with climate change (see Section 4.1);

– Establishes enhanced development standards and practices;

– Sets clear thresholds for development.

Examine proposed developments and land uses on a case-by case basis until a Watershed Management Plan is complete.

Conservation actions carried out here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere.

Mahatta River Watershed Special Management Area

The Mahatta River once supported significant sockeye salmon runs.  In the past, an important Koskimo (Gusgimukw) village called Maate was located at the mouth of the river. It was located next to a salmon weir that helped sustain our people. In 1892, a reserve was surveyed here for our people (IR#8). However, soon after the Quatsino Cannery was established approximately 1.5 km west of our reserve and commercial fishermen began exploiting the salmon stocks. They soon collapsed, and the Cannery was abandoned by the 1930’s. Logging began in the Mahatta River watershed in the mid-50’s and by 1980 virtually the entire watershed, except for sections near the creek mouth, had been logged.[6] Commercial fishing led to the initial decline in fish stocks, however, poor logging practices starting in the 1950’s, impacted fish habitat and has hampered recovery.

[6]P.E. Sprout and F.J. Fraser, A Preliminary Report on the Salmon Resource and Potential Enhancement Opportunities of the Northern West Coast of Vancouver Island (Areas 26 and 27), Vancouver Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1981. p. 49 (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/30839.pdf)

Goal(s):

To heal the land.

To restore sockeye salmon stocks to their historic abundance so they can once again sustain an instream food fishery for our people.

Policies:

Work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Federal Government) and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (Provincial Government), to update fish habitat assessments for the Mahatta River watershed.

Work with the Provincial Government, industry proponents and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to develop a watershed restoration strategy that:

– Identifies and prioritizes fish habitat improvements;

– Considers potential impacts associated with climate change (see Section 4.1); and

– Contains commitments to fund implementation.

Establish a Tribal Park here and work with the British Columbia government to have the park formally recognized with protections from future resource development (e.g. no new logging).

Develop infrastructure for an instream food fishery (e.g. a weirs, cabins, smokehouses) once sockeye salmon stocks have recovered.

Conservation activities here will not unduly or negatively impact another area. The actions must cause a net reduction in destructive actions, rather than relocating such practices elsewhere.