Range Agreement for Grazing – RAN076466
Audit of Quesnel area ranchers finds issues
VICTORIA – 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.
The audit results are detailed in two separate reports. One report finds that the agreement holder permitted cattle to cause damage to a fish stream and cut trees without authorization.
”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 Kevin Kriese, chair, Forest Practices Board. “This damage has been ongoing for many years, and the board also notes that Government has not taken enforcement action.”
In the report, the board recommends that the range agreement holder improve their practices this season (2022) 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 grazing and hay-cutting took place about 70 kilometres northwest of Quesnel, near Batnuni Lake.
The second report finds that range practices were well done and complied with legislation, however, the agreement holders were operating without an approved range use plan, which is a non-compliance.
“A range use plan is required by the Forest and Range Practices Act, and it describes how the agreement holder will operate to ensure their activities are in compliance,” said Kriese. In the audit report, the Board also raises concerns about the Ministry of Forests allowing the grazing without a plan and the lack of enforcement of this requirement. This grazing area is located about 30 kilometres south of Quesnel.
These range agreements overlap the territories of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, the Lhtako Dene Nation and the Nazko First Nation.
As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2021 compliance audit program, the board randomly selected the Quesnel Natural Resource District as the location for a full-scope compliance audit. Within the district, the board randomly selected three range agreements for grazing and one for hay-cutting to audit. The third agreement holder complied with all legal requirements and that audit report was released in February 2022.
The auditors examined range planning and practices for compliance with the act and the Range Regulation. This included looking at maps and the grazing schedule, which identifies the period of use and number of livestock authorized for grazing. Auditors also examined compliance with requirements to protect areas along streams and wetlands, upland areas away from streams, drinking water quality, licensed waterworks and fish habitat.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices that reports its findings and recommendations directly to the public and to Government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and the appropriateness of Government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvements to practices and legislation.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4705 / 1 800 994-5899