OP/ED: Protect water sources from free ranging cattle
I am sharing a few pictures that represent a typical water/grassland scene on the Gipin Grasslands.
The pictures showcase the largest tributary to Morrissey Creek before the creek drops into a canyon and an adjacent meadow that was the site of a recent forest thinning burn. Morrissey Creek watershed is one of five watersheds within the Proposed Gilpin Grasslands Wildlife Management Area designation.
In July 2007 I had convinced Range Manager, David Borth from Kamloops to accompany me on a field on the Gilpin Grasslands and once David discovered my behavior wasn’t as bad as my reputation we got along. We both are old grads from UBC so the ongoing discussions were cordial but blunt.
Not long into the field trip David informed that he recently had been Executive Director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association. I immediately realized why the Minister of Forest Range at the time, Rich Coleman glared at me and defied me to shake his hand at a meeting in his Aldergrove office in early November 2005.
I asked David why Range employee, Werner Baliko had given the prestigious North American Grazing Award to ranchers John and Wally Mehmal which was well advertised in a feature picture story in the Grand Forks Gazette November, 2006. His quick response-Werner was pressured to do something. In other words the ranchers were getting weary of my constant criticism which wasn’t much of a cross to bear when you consider that virtually every important water course, quality recreation site and areas critical to wildlife in the Boundary are seriously compromised by the cow.
As you would expect if you know squat about the history of range management in BC he forcefully reminded me “We will never change”. Walkerton, Ontario; seven deaths, 2300 ill and over 40 with life health challenges all from cow manure in one of the town’s wells May 2000 was an event of no consequence for the BC ranchers.
Eventually our field trip took us to the meadow in the pictures and we both agreed that a forest thinning/ fire project to create more browse and grass had merit. I supported the project which took place 2 ½ years ago but as expected cows remained at the site until the grass and browse had been severely cropped.
I submitted a formal complaint that resulted in a field trip Sept. 24th with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources employee Terry Corley. It is a go around for sure but ranchers are going to learn sooner than later their behavior has a dark cloud hanging over it. So it begs the question is it possible to get a pro bono (freebie) from a capable environmental lawyer and start the process of a Class Action Lawsuit directed at getting domestic animals out of our important water courses, quality recreation sites like parks and areas critical to wildlife?
If you subscribe to Netflix check out “Cowspiracy” which you can find under the label, political documentaries!