Improved range practices recommended in two community watersheds

VICTORIA – An audit of how well forest and range practices are protecting water in two community watersheds in the Okanagan has found mixed results. While forestry operations are complying with requirements to protect water quality, range operations are not.

“Our auditors found low risk to water quality, quantity or timing of flow from current forest practices,” said board chair Al Gorley. “Sediment was well managed on forestry roads and harvesting practices protected nearby watercourses quite well. However the audit found range practices caused some impacts to streamside areas, fish habitat and water quality.”

The report makes two recommendations to government to improve range practices in community watersheds to better protect water resources.

The forest practices of Tolko Industries Ltd, BC Timber Sales and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s small-scale salvage program, as well as range practices of four range tenure holders, were examined in the audit.

The watersheds are located next to each other on the east side of Okanagan Lake, south of Vernon, and supply drinking water to the communities of Oyama and Winfield.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

More information can be obtained by contacting:

Helen Davies, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899