Ministry of Forests in hot water for damaging Okanagan protected areas

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Unauthorized work by the Ministry and improper cattle grazing caused damage

Canada News, Canada Headlines

Unauthorized work by the Ministry of Forests and improper cattle grazing damaged protected grasslands according to an investigation by the B.C. Forest Practices Board.

The damage was from a water diversion, one of the pieces of work undertaken by the Ministry of Forests. In total the ministry put in 19 kilometers and two diversions without authorization. “The area where soil was removed for the diversion has been irreparably altered,” said Keith Atkinson, chair of the Forest Practices Board. “No attempt was made to salvage the productive layer for future restoration. Additionally, investigators found the excavated soil had been mostly side-cast onto steep slopes, where it entered stream and riparian areas and covered - to the point of destroying - native plant communities, some of which are highly endangered.

BC Parks, which the Ministry has a memorandum of understanding with over protected areas and was required to go for authorization, had no record of the construction. Watering tanks for the cattle were overflowing and some recently installed pipe was already exposed due to erosion.

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