NEWSLETTER March 1, 2017

The pictures I am sending you of current logging on the Gilpin ungulate winter range are representative of an approximate 15km ark in three watersheds: Gilpin, Dan’Rae and Morrissey all of which cross Highway #3.

Remember the Gilpin Grasslands or Gilpin are located north of Highway #3 between Grand Forks and Christina Lake or more accurately Highway # 395 the highway to Spokane, Washington .

I am not up to speed on an accurate description of the legitimate grievance package that must be brought forward to challenge current Ungulate Winter Range Guidelines (UWR). To that end I have made arrangements with Fred Marshall, a professional forester to lead a field trip probably late April or early May.

I will also ask Brian Horejsi, Greg Utzig and Tim Coleman from Washington State to participate. I am a fanatical believer in transparency so everyone will be welcome. Yes, I will ask Les Johnson to film the event.

The following information is an appropriate start for any discussion in the province that demands more respect for ungulate winter ranges (UWR) and the significant number of animals large and small that need responsible (UWR) management to survive.

Ungulate winter ranges comprise three bioclimatic zones; Interior Douglas fir (IDF) ponderosa pine (pp) and grassland. So when I use the term Gilpin grasslands please remember there are three bioclimatic zones.

Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan Oct. 1994

Ungulate Winter Ranges are low elevation winter habitats that are used by most ungulates during the late fall and winter months when deep snow accumulations restrict accessibility to other habitats. During this period the animals concentrate in high densities over a limited area and are totally dependent on the quality and quantity of the habitat for survival.

Essential ungulate winter habitat requirements include an appropriate combination of forage areas for feeding and forested areas for provision of snow interception, thermal cover and security cover.

The Boundary Deer Herd D.J.  Spalding 1968

The Boundary or Management Unit 8 of southern B.C. comprises 31,800 square miles lying between Okanagan Lake to the west and the Arrow Lakes to the east.

    The Boundary must be considered as one of the best mule deer and white-tail deer areas of the province. Precipitation is generally less than 20” annually.

The most important zone for wintering deer is the Interior Douglas Fir (IDF) with its associated understory of waxberry, kinnikinnik, mallow nine bark, Saskatoon berry, snowbush, red stem ceanothus, soopolallie and silver berry, squaw current, sumac, mock orange, willow and red osier dogwood.

The small areas of yellow pine (pp) and grasslands are important to deer herds in the spring.

British Columbia Order-Ungulate Winter Range #U-8-008 is a B.C. Liberal policy statement advertised in the Jan. 31, 2001 Kootenay-Boundary Higher Level Plan Order.

“The Kootenay-Boundary Higher Level Plan Order is being revised to reflect the required balance of social, economic and environmental values and is consistent with a request by the citizens of the Kootenay-Boundary Region.”

Had you sat at the table of 22 stakeholders during the 1993-94 Harcourt NDP West Kootenay Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment, then you would be fully aware that “a request by citizens” is a pathetic euphemism for private sector lumber, logging and mining interests.

The primary forest manufacturers hired former NDP MLA Chris D’Arcy to represent their interests and Chris’ response to Chair Bruce Fraser’s request for consensus on Protected Areas never changed-NO,NO,NO! Bruce’s performance as chair of the West Kootenay/Boundary CORE was remarkable considering the consistent bad feelings generously on display at meetings.

John Murray represented miners and his dower message never changed- minerals are where you find them-no parks.

The independent logger whose name I conveniently forgot put on a consistent nasty performance directed at a government who had the nerve to create parks contrary to the interests of his colleagues.

Dave Jukes the Pope & Talbot representative stood up and bellowed like a cut steer when the table was discussing what is now the Granby Wilderness Class A Provincial Park. Pope & Talbot quickly built a road adjacent to the NW corner of the park in the Goatskin Watershed.

A request by citizens  -Not Hardly!

    The NDP Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan was a result of a thoughtful educational approach to the management of our natural resources a point made by the legions of information given to the 22 stakeholders. The best way to make my point is to send you the two page copy of Ungulate Winter Range #U-8-008 and a representative table of facts that the NDP approach endorsed as essential parts of responsible management decisions.

There is plenty of information to share with you in the immediate future that will underscore why the Interfor Corporate logging agenda in the Interior Douglas Fir Zone adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands must not go unchallenged.

The best source of information to put the next chapter in focus starts with a review of pertinent facts found in British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Boundary Timber Supply Rationale for Allowable Annual Cut, Effective January 1, 2002 ,Larry Pedersen Chief Forester.

 Please note: Penticton provincial biologist, Rick McLean will be the guest speaker at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall March 24 at 7PM to discuss whitetail/mule deer management. Yes it will be a civil meeting so if you care about wildlife and are within a reasonable driving distance, please attend!    Barry Brandow Sr.

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NEWSLETTER February 13, 2017

In view of the ongoing bitter disappointment of hunters and concerned citizens with the sorry state of wildlife management in BC I offer my thoughts and questions to ask the Minister and his staff should you have the opportunity. You will have little time and there will be little appetite to admit failure.

Hunting seasons and bag limits are driven by population estimates which are crude and in many cases have no connection to reality because indirect population inventory tactics dominate the question at the expense of the only important direct tactic-helicopter flights.

Perspective-

    Across North America wildlife agencies do not have enough funding and staff to obtain adequate inventory information on populations and habitats- the cornerstone of all wildlife management programs.-British Columbia’s Environment –Planning for the future-Managing Wildlife to 2001- A Discussion Paper page 2

A strategy to Help Restore Moose Populations in British Columbia  (July 8, 2016– Al Gorley Part 4-Information pages 27-28) Recommendations- Prepared for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Fish & Wildlife Branch.

RecommendationImmediately accelerate and stabilize investments to update and improve inventories and monitoring programs for moose.

Reasons: Staff has indicated that the formal information on moose numbers is outdated in some areas. Many First Nations and Stakeholders are very critical of the situation.

The capacity exists to do more if the funding is available. For example more regular aerial surveys over a broader geographic area.

Provincial population estimates are determined every three to five years using a combination of survey data and expert opinion.

Excuse me, there is no expert opinion because the only honest conclusion is that many ungulate population estimates are crude and irresponsible a point easily made if you read White-tailed Deer: A Review of the 2010 Provincially Co-ordinated Hunting Regulation which you can find on the Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resource’s Website.

Expert opinion from our biologist has resulted in the following statistics: Estimated abundance of white-tailed deer in BC increased from about 40,000 in 1987 to over 113,000 in 2011 (p.1) then on page 2 admit to limited population surveys.

The following information although a small example, clearly underscores my point that there are no experts in population estimates in B.C.

I have road kill deer carcasses retrieved between 1978 and 2014 between Osoyoos and Christina Lake on Highway #3. The information is from former Penticton Biologist, Al Peatt and Leonard Sielecki-Wildlife and Environment Issues Specialist BC ministry of transportation and Infrastructure. The highest road kill was 275 in 1989 and the lowest 74 in 2013 a significant decline when you factor the dramatic increase in highway traffic since 1989 especially trucks. I suspect at least a double in traffic. Please note I am using the above statistics for the single purpose of demonstrating the deer population trend!

The following quotes from a Corporation of the City of Grand Forks letter reinforces the argument that the whitetail deer has no future in our province until the people of BC demand a wildlife management agenda that embraces transparency and accountability.

I was a member of the Grand Forks Deer Committee so the letter was either 2013 or 2014.

Page 2 The province has also taken the stance that as it is generally accepted in the scientific literature that hunting is not effective in controlling white-tailed deer numbers, white-tailed deer will not be closely monitored through population surveys.

Recommendations for moving forward:

  1. It is suggested in the literature that population size is dictated by food availability rather than being limited by predation. Develop strategies to reduce available food sources. (the domestic cow does exactly that on winter ranges)
  2. 8. Ensure that data used for management decisions (especially highly controversial topics) are researched fully (i.e. review the original scientific article rather than depending only on summarized version to ensure accuracy of the information and that the relevant information has not been taken out of context) and are specifically relevant to the Grand Forks area.

Although the information is on the City of Grand Forks stationery the letter represents the attitude of cold calculated biologists who have sold their soul for a job.

B.C.Outdoors- Special Hunting Issue 2016-2017 BC Hunting Forecast– story by Brian Harris, recently retired provincial government biologist Region 8 Okanagan-Boundary page 25

  1. mule deer are doing well in this region and hunter harvest continues to climb.
  2. white-tailed deer are also doing well At the Dec.1 meeting with NDP MLA at Rock Creek the audience agreed that both statements were bold face lies.

I prepared two reports for the Rock Creek meeting but did not distribute the information. Most hunters are concerned with the sorry state of wildlife management but have little interest in the facts imperative to hold the minister and his staff to full account.

I will send you the information on population estimates, much of the info is a repeat of facts in a previous newsletter but you must get the last word when talking to our servants- politicians and bureaucrats.

Liberalized hunting- long hunting seasons and generous bag limits are a major reason for a dramatic decline in many BC wildlife populations so what is the question to ask the minister and his staff whether its Members Opposite during Budget Estimates or any other occasion.

Please note; I screwed up there will be no Budget Estimates this spring. The writ will be dropped  April 11 and we will have a new provincial government May 9.

A suggestion that will give you a starting point to add or delete an important message.

Minister your government has agreed to act on all 21 recommendations in Forester Al Gorley’s report Strategy to Help Restore Moose Populations in B.C. July 2016 and wildlife inventory populations are the cornerstone of all wildlife management programs and many wildlife populations have been overstated because indirect population tactics which will only give a crude population estimate has been allowed to dominate the debate therefore will you acknowledge the problem by a commitment to support and fund a dramatic increase in helicopter surveys?

Minister, remember your message on the top left hand corner of page 2 of the 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping regulation Synopsis. “Trappers, resident hunters add some 350 million dollars to the economy each year, add wildlife viewing and the economic contribution is at least $400 million.

I believe the Minister will agree to support more helicopter flights and based on past experience I believe his staff will share the helicopter info with the public.

Will there be a significant decrease in hunting seasons and bag limits? Absolutely not! I have a story to tell you in the near future that explains how the game is played. That story explains how one of the first and finest wildlife grassland initiatives in BC history came to nothing- the Socred government purchase of the 1470 acre Ed Boothman Ranch Aug. 17, 1972 for $190,000.00

The next chapter: I am going to send you pictures very soon of current logging practices in the interior Douglas fir zone-the most important zone for wintering deer adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands.

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER January 10, 2017

The management of the BC Forest has been a contentious issue in a big way since the late eighties and consequently was a significant issue in the 1991 provincial election that resulted in the NDP defeating the Socred Government who had been in power since 1975.

Once again the BC Forest has been ruthlessly exploited by the timber companies and yet the anger of British Columbians to-day is muted. The print media has had few stories chronicling third world logging practices.

The recently released Forest Practices Board Report “Dry Creek-Hydrology and Wildlife Concerns About a Large Cutblock” is my small attempt to challenge BC logging practices.

Highlights of the Report

  1. The cutblock contained 20.1 kilometers road with only one stream crossing.
  2. Interfor located the cutblock next to 6 other cutblocks creating a total aggregated harvest area of 580 hectares.
  3. Interfor’s forest professional compared the cutblock with the area affected by fire that initiated the pine stand 80 years previous. He explained that this cutblock fits into this historical mosaic

-Forest fires leave plenty of debris which equals cover for wildlife and they certainly don’t leave 20KM of roads.

  1. The Board considered the area surrounding the cutblock and found that including a new          114 hectare cutblock proposed by Interfor the total aggregate harvested area in the young forest will be 1307 hectares.
  2. In the Board’s opinion Interfor met some but not all of the design requirements of Section 64 and is therefore not adequately planning for important biodiversity and habitat elements at the landscape level.
  3. Section 64 establishes 40 hectares as the maximum cutblock size in the Kootenay Boundary Forest Region. This limit does not apply where harvesting is to recover damaged Timber or sanitation treatments or is designed to be consistent with the structural characteristics and the temporal and spatial distribution of an opening that would result from a natural disturbance.

Section 64 of the Forest Act is extremely upsetting and is another reminder that since 1996 BC political leaders have abandoned the concept of Statutory Responsibility.

https:/www.bcfpb.ca/reports-publications/reports/dry-creek-hydrology-and-wildlife-concerns-about-large-cutblock/

The “Moose Enhancement and Recovery Strategy” prepared for the Guide Outfitter Association of BC offers more insightful information on the sorry state of forest management especially Habitat Enhancement and Protection page 19-23.

The state of access management in B.C. is non-existent in any meaningful way and the problem is well described on pages 17-19 of the same report.

There is another report I recommend you read that showcases in depth the impacts of roads on Grizzly bear- “Protecting Granby Valley Grizzly Bears”- a report for the Friends and Residents of the North Fork by the Environmental Law center, University of Victoria June 2016

I also remind you that Cenovus Energy a Tar Sands player in North Alberta who will always have plenty of critics announced last spring that the company was making a 32 million dollar commitment over 10 years to reforest seismic lines and roads to help the caribou. Predators use roads like humans.

Is there a logging/lumber company in BC big enough to consider the public interest and likewise reforest logging roads adjacent to provincial parks and areas critical to wildlife with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees?

The meeting December 1st at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall with Katrine Conroy was attended by 35 rural British Columbians fed up with wildlife management, that point was made by the consensus on nine questions I asked the audience, seven to preface the meeting and two later.

I introduced Katrine Conroy who was the MLA for the Boundary 2005-2009 and reminded everyone that she represented her constituents, in other words getting a government response to questions or issues important to constituents via bureaucrats or ministers. BC Liberal MLA Linda Larson for South Okanagan/Boundary has been asked by the Rock Creek Club to attend meetings but has refused.

Katrine impressed me early in our journey when she endured a field trip on the Gilpin Grasslands when we were strangers. Much bigger than a field trip she left her mark as few politicians dare when she called out NDP Leader, Carol James.

New Democrats show leadership on conservation of fish and wildlife a two page report that introduces Katrine Conroy’s Sustainable Wildlife Management Act which would require science based objectives and peer review for habitat and wildlife management.

It would establish a roundtable to carry out collaborative planning with First Nations and stakeholder groups. Conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat will be a priority when planning for land and water use activities in British Columbia. It will ensure adequate funding goes toward the management of wildlife and habitat by establishing a special account.

Here is the link to the Sustainable Wildlife Management Act:

http:/bcndpcaucus.ca/news/new-democrats-show-leadership-co

The two companion questions I asked to start the meeting made it clear that this was a group of hunters and concerned citizens with a moral compass disgusted with the sorry state of wildlife management in BC.

Do you believe the province of BC’s wildlife resource is a valuable asset and do you believe the province’s wildlife resource is more important than hunting, outfitting and trapping?-consensus- yes

Everyone agreed that the Boundary mule deer population has been in serious population decline since the mid nineties and also agreed that we should not be hunting the mule deer in the rut when he is vulnerable. It is a question of ethics.

Other than the questionable reasoning of Glen Miller one of the architectures of the Boundary deer count we had consensus on three whitetail questions. Everyone agreed that most whitetail deer seen in their journey is on or adjacent to private land. Likewise everyone agreed the rifle whitetail doe season has dramatically reduced the whitetail deer population and also agreed that the rifle and bow season is so long very few young bucks are recruited into the adult population.

The Boundary deer count is an issue because it is one of the four wildlife inventory tactics that or wildlife biologists have used (reliable field observations from a variety of sources) to conclude the province has an estimated whitetail population of 113,000- statistics dribble of the highest order.- Whitetailed Deer: A Review of the 2010 Provincially Co-Ordinated Hunting Regulation

The newsletter is already long so I will sign off and continue the story before the BC Liberal Government presents their budget Feb. 21, 2017. There is a political exercise in the BC Legislature Budget Estimates that takes place following the provincial budget and is an opportunity for members opposite to ask questions of each minister. The most important wildlife management question to ask the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson is to provide helicopter wildlife inventory counts and square those numbers with provincial wildlife population estimates.

Barry Brandow Sr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER November 29, 2016

If you live within a reasonable driving time from Rock Creek I urge you to attend a meeting December 1st at 7PM at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall immediately adjacent to the Rock Creek Fairgrounds on the north side of the road. A short drive up hill and you are there.

NDP MLA Katrine Conroy will present and discuss with the audience her “Sustainable Wildlife Management Act which would require scientific based objectives and peer review for habitat and wildlife management.

The event has been advertised in the Rock Creek area the past few weeks.

In my strong opinion no MLA is more qualified to speak for wildlife and hunting than Katrine. She and her husband Ed live the rural lifestyle in Castlegar and during their journey have had conversations with British Columbians upset with the sorry state of resource management on our mountains. Katrine is one of the very few politicians you will meet not afraid to make a call.

Les Johnson will film the event and it will soon be on the internet- http://www.wildlifeheritageforever.com or www.wlhf.org

For the record during the BC Liberal Leadership Race I spoke to candidates; Kevin Falcon, George Abbott and Christy Clark and reminded them that what the BC Liberals were doing on our mountains was economic and scientific madness.

Agenda items that are the root of the problem that has many wildlife populations in serious decline:

  1. Example- Moose Enhancement and Recovery Strategy July 29, 2016 page 9

“Regional and provincial moose population estimates are updated every three to five years based on regional surveys, density extrapolations and expert opinions.”

 

There is no such thing as expert opinion for the simple reason that an honest assessment of moose management in BC will guarantee you will not be shortlisted for a job with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

 

  1. Extrapolation

The long sorry tradition of wildlife management in our province is driven by maximizing hunting opportunity by conveniently manipulating the harvest data to justify generous bag limits and long hunting seasons. A point made if you read The Boundary Deer Herd DJ Spalding page 11-20.

 

  1. Access Management- a non-sequitur (a non-event)
  2. Forest Practices Board December 2005

Access Management in British Columbia

Issues and Opportunities

 

  1. Forest Practices Board

Access Management and Resource Roads 2015 Update

 

Dots connect so whatever your agenda on the mountains COME!

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER September 20, 2016

A cursory examination of the facts suggests the Mike Morris Report; “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia” is yesterday.

“There is an urgency and heightened concern amongst resident hunters, guide outfitters, trappers and wildlife viewing industry and conservationists that the province is not acting quickly enough to address the decrease in wildlife populations and the degradation of wildlife habitat.”

The final report of the current moose recovery project “Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia” will be the measure of Minister Thomson’s resolve to step aside from the politics that has seriously compromised the province’s wildlife resource and accept the judgment of the credible voices who know the way forward to rebuild the province’s moose population.

The moose recovery plan will obviously draw attention to the impact of predators on the moose population especially the wolf, lack of access management to provide space for the moose and the sorry state of habitat management principally a function of logging practices especially the large clear cuts.

But will there be a discussion of the impact of hunting on the moose population? For starters will participants in the moose recovery plan discuss the negative population impacts on bulls by the implementation of the spike-fork bull season- a bull moose having no more than two tines on one antler?

How many moose are killed or wounded that had more than two tines and what is the realistic statistics on moose wounded that are not found and subsequently die? Remember on page 47 of the Alberta Management Plan for white-tailed deer the following quote- “Crippling losses from hunting have not been quantified in Alberta although the Fish and Wildlife Division reported that a survey of the literature showed average losses of 23 and 27 percent of reported kill in either sex and buck only seasons.”

How many provincial biologists believe we cannot compromise wildlife populations by hunting? A few years ago Globe and Mail columnist, Mark Hume wrote an article on the declining moose population in Region 5 and the provincial government biologist quoted ( I have lost the article) said that the hunting was obviously not part of the problem as the number of hunters had not increased.

A hollow vacant comment from a provincial government biologist whose terms of employment demanded he sign a contract which strongly stipulates termination if he should dare criticize the provincial government publically.

If you are an ardent knowledgeable hunter or if you have read my newsletter for years in which many sources of anecdotal and scientific information are quoted then ask yourself why would Minister Thomson endorse a moose recovery project and instantly put a cloud over the credibility of the initiative by including former provincial government biologists; Mark Williams and Brian Harris?

I can’t run the numbers on biologist Mark Williams but I certainly can with Brian Harris who I have known for many years and no better source of information than the 2016 and 2017 September/October issue of BC Outdoors. This year like last Brian authored a report titled “2017 Hunting Forecasts”.

There are many quotes from the BC Outdoor article that have no connection to responsible wildlife management but I will start the process in the near future of challenging Brian’s credibility with his comments on Mule and whitetail deer numbers in Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary 2016-2017 which are over the top and go a long way to explain the contempt many hunters and concerned citizens have for wildlife biologists and managers.

In view of the fact that the hunting opportunity agenda grows every two years via the new Hunting Regulations that showcase new opportunity that invariably relies on wildlife population inventory that is not true and remember not true in civil court is called lying, I will expand generously in the near future on the following quotes especially now that the deer bag limit in Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary is three.

  1. “Mule deer are doing really well in this region and hunter harvest continues to climb”.

 

  1. “Whitetail deer are also doing well. Spring surveys found their numbers to be stable even with the month long general open season for antlerless deer”.

There are three former Penticton provincial government biologists connected to the moose recovery plan; Al Peatt, Tom Ethier and Brian Harris.

Al Peatt was hired in the early eighties and left the ministry in the mid nineties which coincided with Premier Glen Clark’s mandate of demanding more revenue from the province’s natural resources.

I got to know Al and senior biologist Bob Lincoln well thanks to many meetings especially the stormy meetings with ranchers and range staff that were steadfast in trying to stop the 1985 Bighorn Sheep transplant with a thirteen point argument full of holes. Even though reasoned thought prevailed and bighorns won the fight unbeknown to all of us save a few senior bureaucrats this was the end of the vision that justified the $190,000.00  the August 1972 Social Credit Government spent to purchase the 1470 acre Boothman Ranch.

To-day Al works for the West Bank First Nations and is a participant in the moose recovery program. I last talked to Al at the June meeting of the Wildlife Stewardship Council and his immediate words when we met- “I cannot believe the denial”.

Brian Harris was hired in the mid eighties and his presence in meetings at the Okanagan Boundary Wildlife Advisory Round Table; Co-ordinated Resource Management Plan (cows)and Outfitter Meeting was minimal and at no time did regular participants believe he had the measure of a qualified provincial government biologist. He was a pleasant, friendly lightweight.

Tom Ethier is the Assistant Deputy Minister on the point overseeing the Moose Recovery Plan. In a previous journey he was hired in the mid/late nineties as a Penticton Provincial Government biologist. Joe Carvetta, one of the better conservation officers brought Tom to the house and introduced him.

As we know now, Tom’s tenure started at about the same time as Premier Glen Clark’s 1996 mandate that demanded more revenue from the province’s resources. Once again punch in Jim Walker, Director of Wildlife on your electronic device and you will find the letter embraced by the Glen Clark NDP and supported by the BC Liberals via the Minister’s message on page two of the current 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis that forced wildlife managers to ruthlessly exploit the province’s wildlife resource.

One thing for sure both Tom Ethier and Al Peatt know the measure of Brian Harris!

Based on previous conversations I have witnessed John Henderson, First Nation President of The Wildlife Stewardship Council will make it very clear to all participants of the Moose Recovery Plan that we have to respect wildlife and remember the seventh generation.

In his own way he will also remind participants including the Minister and his Cabinet Colleagues that First Nations are literally standing in the Cat Bird seat, the tallest mast on the old schooners.

First Nations have a constitutional right to hunt that has been seriously compromised by the utter collapse of scientifically driven wildlife management that respects wildlife in B.C. That plus the June 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision that strengthens First Nation Land Claims has resulted in a political force that cannot be denied!

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER August 15, 2016

A short story with pictures that showcases a current example of the sorry state of range management on the Gilpin Grasslands.

Approximately 50 cows have been allowed to crop the grass to ground level in the Gilpin Grassland Class A provincial park immediately adjacent to Highway #3; a November cow range!

There are two parts to the story.

Range staff has made no attempt to move the cows even though their presence has been clearly visible to the driving public for a good five weeks.

The cows have destroyed a habitat enhancement project within a small fenced area constructed to exclude cows from Gilpin Creek adjacent to the Boothman Ranch house site.

Subsequent to the fence deciduous tree saplings were planted either side of the creek within the closure. White plastic pipe were used to protect most of the saplings, probably to protect them from rodents.

The guts of this story are driven by the fact that there was a fire early June caused by a vehicle dragging a muffler on Highway #3. The same vehicle caused an earlier fire on the north side of Highway #3 adjacent to the Stewart Creek gravel road east approximately 5 KM.

Sporadic rainfall for weeks resulted in a vibrant recovery of the grass which meant the inevitable- cows.

Statutes from the B.C. Range Planning and Practices Regulation

  1. Objectives set by government for water
  2. maintain or improve water resources.
  3. maintain or promote healthy riparian and upland areas.
  4. maintain or promote riparian vegetation that provides sufficient shade to maintain stream temperature within the natural range of variability.
  5. maintain or promote desired plant communities.

Another example from B.C.’s past that illustrates the sorry state of range management on Gilpin:

Range Management- Handbook for British Columbia- edited by Alistair McLean p.Ag, PhD Research Scientist

Agriculture Canada Research Station Kamloops 1979

“Grazing by domestic stock and wild ungulates is not always compatible but conflicts can be reduced or eliminated by good range management. For example individual range areas that are critical for the survival of game are seldom large. Wildlife should therefore be given preference over most other uses on such areas because grazing habits of game animals cannot be easily changed.”

Gilpin Creek is virtually the western boundary of the Gilpin Grassland Park. The NW corner of the park is 100 meters north of the 3KM board on the Gilpin Road. If you park your vehicle adjacent to a primitive barbed wire gate and open your eyes as you quickly descend a steep cow trail to Gilpin Creek you will witness the most outrageous example of erosion I have witnessed in 38 years of walking the mountains in the East Boundary.

If you walk adjacent to the creek to the Boothman Ranch house site you will find at least another 7 sites although not as outrageous that validate a recommendation by Doug Fraser, Range Practices Officer in his Nov. 2007 report titled “An Evaluation of the Streams and Adjacent Uplands in Overton Moody Range, the bookend watersheds on the Gilpin Grasslands.“ “Develop off-stream water to limit the use of Gilpin Creek by livestock”.

Of course Doug’s recommendation was ignored. My first field trip stop on Gilpin has always been the 3KM corner but I will leave the hundred plus pictures of cow damage on Gilpin Creek for another day!

Barry Brandow Sr.

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER July 29, 2016

Every year since the collapse of the land management vision advertised in 1994-96 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment that came to nothing I do something that makes the point that the management of the province’s wildlife resource is abysmal.

This year a wildlife friendly fence was constructed on the south side of the Lost Lake Marsh approximately 3-4 KM north of the City of Grand Forks.

I will send you pictures of before and after.

Thanks to the generosity of the city the use of their water license on Overton Creek has not been denied contrary to the silly self serving message on the back of the bench immediately adjacent to the marsh. Albeit a small story the results are impressive!

Will the marsh be compromised? Probably! Range management in B.C. to-day is best described by David Borth, the former provincial government range manager who in his earlier life was the Executive Director of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.

I had convinced David to accompany me on a field trip on Gilpin July 2007. Give him credit; he wasn’t shy in striking his colors “we will never change”.

He also surprised me with his honesty when I asked him why Range Manager, Werner Baliko gave a prestigious North American Grazing Award to ranchers, Wally and John Mehmal November, 2006. “Werner was pressured to do something”.

Remember “Welfare Ranching” which you can find on your electronic device is a serious indictment of range management.

www.boundaryalliance.org will also give you information that challenges range management in B.C. especially in the Boundary. Check out E’Holt Creek, a fish bearing stream adjacent to Highway #3.

I will also send you a few pictures in the near future of the six acres of Nature Trust fenced last year. The fence has been vandalized twice by rancher, John Mehmal’s hired hand. I can’t prove it but when I came off the mountain late in the afternoon early May after walking the perimeter of the six acre fence I spotted Mehmal’s hired hand on an old quad bike repairing a fence near the quad bike loading area near Highway #3. Next morning I returned and discovered the six acre fence cut in three places.

A week later it was cut again adjacent to the Overton Road. Hardly surprising, the range bureaucracy is indirectly supporting this conduct.

Remember good government will support ranching but good government will also mandate the removal of domestic animals from; important water courses, quality recreation sites like parks and areas critical to wildlife!

It has been four years since Bruce Davidson, the activist from Walkerton, Ontario told the Walkerton story at the Grand Forks High School auditorium March 14, 2012. The story is driven by the fact that 7 people died, over 40 were left with lifetime health challenges and 2300 were violently ill all because of the dreaded 0157 e-coli bacteria pathogen in the town’s water supply. The Walkerton Water Management training facility verified that the final cost of the 0157 bacteria pathogen story will be either side of $200,000,000.

The next chapter is going to center around  Jeff Holliday’s story a pancreas/liver transplant recipient from Walkerton and the president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association president, Elaine Stovin’s insulting hollow story that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette March 14, 2012 “All too often the finger is pointed at cattle when the science proves otherwise”.

Jeff’s biography which he sent to me, is brutal and will be my push to get media attention; dialysis for 3 years, 40 pills daily, blind from broken vessels in eye, liver/pancreas transplant June, 2005 a large section of bowel removed, heart attack, eye cataracts removed.

A few months ago I received a phone call from Perry Grilz. Even though I had phoned him and left a message I was surprised he returned my call.

As I told you recently I had an unexpected illuminating conversation last August with recently retired provincial government range agrologist, Werner Baliko.

Werner had responded to my declaration that range management doesn’t exist because you cannot control the erosion from the cow and the resulting weeds nor is it possible to manage riparian areas. The cost and magnitude of just two problems get no attention because you can only play at a solution.

Werner’s response surprised me when he said range management was an oxymoron in other words a contradiction. But he also made the case that David Borth’s replacement Perry Gilz actually cared about the province’s grassland ecosystem.

I don’t believe my behavior is quite as bad as my reputation so I hope he does follow up with his suggestions and connect with me.

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

These are BEFORE!

These are AFTER!