Tag Archives: 2017

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.