New system to simplify rangeland management
Over 2,000 range agreement holders in British Columbia can now use an online system called MyRangeBC to more easily create, update and manage their range use plans.
The B.C. government’s Range Program allocates and administers hay cutting and grazing agreements on Crown rangeland. Each agreement requires an approved and current range use plan.
Range use plans contain details about rangeland resources, grazing activity and hay cutting operations that the government and agreement holders need to effectively manage rangeland resources and meet their stewardship and business objectives. About 60 provincial Range Program staff have access to the new system and can use it to communicate directly with users.
Until now, agreement holders – such as livestock producers and guide outfitters – have used a paper-based system that requires time, effort and money to prepare and submit.
Paper range use plans quickly become outdated as the needs of agreement holders change or as operational and environmental conditions fluctuate. With the new system, users will spend less time filling out paperwork and more time out in the field.
Range agreement holders can now use a web browser to access MyRangeBC. The transition to a fully digitized system is expected to happen over several years as paper-based range use plans expire or are amended, and are then incorporated into MyRangeBC, explained a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development media release.
“This is another example of how technological innovation can make a positive contribution to these time-honoured industries,” said Donald Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Rangeland users and government staff worked together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
“Rangelands are the lifeblood of B.C.’s ranching industry and the care and management of these resources are extremely important to the people of B.C. and our ranchers,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “I believe that this app will make the development and maintenance of range use plans more effective, with clearer information and a more accurate, understandable end product. These efficiencies will give ranchers more time to ranch and provide Range Program staff better opportunities to manage the land.”
Over 34.9 million hectares of Crown rangeland (over a third of B.C.’s land area) are currently covered by grazing and hay cutting agreements.