Ranching operations near Merritt audited

VICTORIA – The holders of five range agreements for livestock grazing generally met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, according to an audit report released today. The audit identified a couple of streamside areas that were being impacted by cattle use, but overall, the range agreement areas are being well managed.

“The board is pleased to see these range agreement holders are working hard to manage their livestock grazing on public land,” said board chair, Tim Ryan. “The board recognizes that this area has been subject to serious drought conditions, reducing the forage available for grazing. In response, some range agreement holders have shown stewardship by voluntarily reducing the number of cattle they are grazing.”

With one exception, auditors found that cattle were kept in designated pastures, so that grasses had appropriate opportunity to recover after grazing, and forage and browse were not over-grazed. Licensed waterworks were protected and fences and other range developments were maintained as required.

Some of the range agreement areas are subject to high recreation and public use and are currently affected by invasive plant species—like knapweed—and agreement holders are working with the provincial government to manage these issues.

Four of the audited range agreement areas are located southeast of Merritt and one is north of Princeton.

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:

Darlene Oman
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4705 / 1 800 994-5899