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Posted: March 21, 2019

Rocky Mountain ranchers pass FPB audit

An audit of five range agreements for grazing cattle in the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District found that ranchers in the area met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, according to a report.

“Range practices followed most range-use plan and legal requirements, and protected drinking water quality for downstream water users,” said Kevin Kriese, chair, Forest Practices Board. “These ranchers did a good job of protecting resources while grazing their cattle on Crown land.”

The audit did find two minor issues involving notification of government when timing of grazing differs from the approved grazing schedule. In one case, the cattle were not put out on the range at all, and in another, they were taken off the range early, so there were no consequences to the land. These are considered areas of improvement.

The district was randomly selected for a range audit and these five tenures were chosen because they all have at least 20 licensed water users within 500 metres of the tenure boundaries.

The tenures cover about 70,000 hectares in total and are located near the communities of Fernie, Cranbrook, Invermere and Golden.

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 maintenance of range developments, such as fences, and compliance with requirements to protect riparian areas, upland areas, drinking water quality, licensed waterworks and fish habitat.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

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