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Audit finds extensive damage to fish stream northwest of Quesnel by cattle

Several issues of concern have been identified in an audit of Quesnel area ranchers
Streambank erosion within and adjacent to Newa Creek has been caused by excessive cattle activity according to an audit report by the Forest Practices Board. (Forest Practices Board)

An audit of two range agreements for grazing cattle and one hay-cutting agreement in the Quesnel Natural Resource District has found several issues of concern, says B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices.

The Forest Practices Board released the results in two separate reports on Tuesday, June 28.

One report found that the agreement holder permitted cattle to cause damage to a fish stream and cut trees without authorization, approximately 70 kilometres northwest of Quesnel near Batuni Lake.

“The board is particularly concerned that the audit found extensive damage to a fish stream, Newa Creek, caused by heavy cattle use adjacent to the stream, which is a non-compliance with legislation,” said Forest Practices Board chair Kevin Kriese in a news release. “This damage has been ongoing for many years, and the board also notes that government has not taken enforcement action.”

Read More: Forestry watchdog to audit Cariboo-Chilcotin BCTS program and timber-sale license holders

In the report, the board recommends that the range agreement holder improve their practices this season to prevent further damage to the stream and riparian area of Newa Creek and work with the Ministry of Forests to restore the creek.

The second report found that while range practices at a grazing area located approximately 30 kilometres south of Quesnel were well done and complied with legislation, the agreement holders were operating without an approved range use plan which is required by the Forest Range Practices Act.

A range use plan describes how the agreement holder will operate to ensure their activities are in compliance, said Kriese, noting the Forest Practices Board raises concerns in the report about the Ministry of Forests allowing the grazing without a plan and the lack of enforcement of this requirement.

Last year, the Forest Practices Board randomly selected three range agreements for grazing and one for hay-cutting within the Quesnel Natural Resource District as the location for a full-scope compliance audit.

The third agreement holder complied with all legal requirements per a report released earlier this year.

Read More: Quesnel area rancher passes random audit by B.C.’s Forest Practices Board

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