In which the writer proposes:

Splitting conventional wisdoms and inspecting for rot.
Wrestling with the status quo.
Weighing environmental and economic absurdities.
Disentangling metaphors.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


In 2010 the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary began a process for a Kettle River Watershed Management Plan (KRWMP). The Plan was finalized and published 2014/2015.
The process began after repeated appearances of the Kettle on the Endangered Rivers List.
The Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C.’s Endangered Rivers List of March 2011 listed the Kettle River as the #1 Endangered River in the Province. The Kettle reached this sorry position after climbing up the list over several years, having been #2 in 2010.

See our full critique here:

Our extended article critiques the way this process was initiated, the inadequate Terms of Reference and critical gaps, errors and omissions in the Technical Assessment (Summit Environmental Report) and the KRWMP Report. The article also criticizes the adequacy of the Plan in addressing current and future issues affecting the Kettle Watershed and in creating full public awareness of those issues. The KRWMP is less a “Management Plan” than a limited overview of the issues, lacking concrete actions to address the issues, and a Plan which largely suggests other levels of Government do what is needed.
Our extended article expands on the following topics:

·         Background

·         Terms of Reference

·         Process Structure,

·         How well did the KRWMP Structure Work ?

·         Public Meeting Format

·         Water Quality & Source Water Protection

·         Water Quality: Heavy metals & substances

·         Low water flows & High temperatures

·         Conclusions & Recommendations

Our final recommendation is that no one should use the KRWMP as a template.

Our extended article also links to our youtube video below.
If your devices and download speeds allow, video is available in up to 1920 x 1080 high definition.

Other KRWMP articles can be found on our website and the website page below:


Our full report on testing of representative rangeland (public land) streams in 2015 and 2016 is available in the link below.
As in previous reports, the patterns show that E.coli counts are almost entirely related to range-cattle presence or absence and that E.coli counts that could be attributable to wildlife (in the absence of cattle) are negligible or frequently nil.
The multi-year, multi-month scope of this study is unusual in that most studies monitor over shorter periods.
Our 2015-2016 results together with our other reports going back to 2007 provide compelling evidence that
E. coli contamination in streams relates directly to the presence or absence of range-cows.
Testing in 2015-2016 is a continuation of earlier studies, reported in earlier articles:

The 2013 Report has a full discussion of factors affecting stream contamination (in addition to tenure holders) including the roles of Ministry of Forests and Range, Forest & Range Evaluation Program, BC Cattlemen's Association.
 For all E.coli & Cattle related articles see our web page:



Friday, 17 March 2017


The sorry history of “range management” in the Gilpin continued in 2016.

For the complete story see extended article at:

 The video below tells part of the tale, and if your devices and download speed allow, the video is viewable at up to 1920 x 1080 high definition.

Drone views provide a new perspective.

In 2016 we saw repeats of earlier issues plus some new ones.
  • Range cattle invading, damaging, and  contaminating parkland, and a protected area at Gilpin Creek.
  • New wildlife unfriendly fencing installed in the Gilpin.
  • Flooding of Lost Lake area by tenure holder or agents through failure to set up cattle waterer.
  • Will the tenure holder do the right thing in 2017 to prevent damage? Will Range Branch, MFLNRO, ensure it?
  • Cattle grazing on public land makes no economic or ecological sense
For previous articles on problems in the Gilpin and on range cattle issues see


Timelapse is a global, zoomable, view on Google Earth showing how the Earth has changed over 32 years.
Navigate to areas of interest as usual within Google Earth, mosaics can be viewed at various speeds.

Navigate to the Boundary area BC, for a startling view of the extent of logging in the area. Although the Timelapse video indicates it covers the period 1984 to 2016 it appears that their info is taken from 2 year old source views, so the last couple of years of active logging in the Boundary don't show.

Our thanks to independent Biologist Brian Horejsi for the link.


New Zealand passed a bill recognizing the Whanganui River as a legal entity. A world first.

Ruling means the river will be entitled to representation in court proceedings.

The New Zealand Parliament passed the bill making it the first natural resource to be given a legal personality.

I know the initial inclination of some people will say it's pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality, " said New Zealand's Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson. "But it is no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies."


With extracts from BBC and Daily Mail
Our comment:
Good to think about the possibility of legal status for rivers here. Locally the Kettle River was given Heritage Status years ago, but Heritage Status and the recent Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, have failed to protect the Kettle River system from past, present and future threats.

A few days later:
An Indian Court, acknowledging the New Zealand action, has given similar protection to the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, "meaning that if anyone harms or pollutes either river, the law would view it as no different from harming a person."      See more:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


At the end of April 2014 a group of public minded citizens replaced a section of fence around Lost Lake in the Gilpin Grasslands to better protect the area from off-road vehicles and range cow damage. The new fence was constructed as fully wildlife friendly fencing.

The Story on the new fencing was originally reported Nov 2014  at:     
In spring 2015 Range Branch and Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resources (MFLNRO) and Ministry of Environment, installed signage and a seating bench at Lost Lake, some six years after their original fence construction.   The major message on that signage appears to have been prompted by the concerns raised in our original Nov 2014 article: see section on “Waterer Not Activated.”      
Incredibly the major message on the Governments new signage in 2015:  

  1. tried to justify the original placement of the fence as bounding existing riparian vegetation.
  2. introduced a long winded and misleading rationale for why there was no water in the waterer.
  Regarding (1) it became apparent over time that the older fence failed to protect existing riparian  vegetation which showed up outside that fence and also failed to provide any worthwhile setback from such vegetation. The original fence placement also did not prevent a throughway for off-road vehicles.  The new wildlife friendly fence installed by public minded citizens in 2014 fixed those problems.

 Regarding (2) the claim on the new signage blaming the City of Grand Forks for not providing water for the waterer, is contrary to what was claimed by MFLNRO in extended conversations with the writer  June 20 2014. See more detail on those discussions in our Nov 2014 article:

Crucially however, the Government’s claim on the sign, that the City of Grand Forks would not provide water for the waterer, is according to the City of Grand Forks, not true.

 In addition to the misleading (or worse) information provided on the sign, the sign is placed looking down the length of the new fence installed in 2014 by volunteers. Viewers of the sign might expect that this new wildlife friendly fence was the work of Government. On the contrary, Range Branch and MFLNRO have resisted such installations despite public concerns and the advice of the Forest Practices Board. MFLNRO was in fact engaged in “investigating who was responsible” for the “unauthorized” new fence while placing this misleading signage that suggests it is their work.

In addition to the serial misrepresentations of the signage, it was installed together with a bench and sign celebrating off-road vehicle usage in the area. The scars on the land from such activities will be apparent in upcoming articles. We wonder if those supporting or sponsoring the signage including the Trails signage are fully aware of the damage done to public land by range-cattle and off road activities.


youtube video 3.14 min
if your devices and download speed allow, available at up to 1080 HD


Our November 2014 article on installation of the new wildlife friendly fence:

made a number of complaints and suggestions regarding Government oversight of public resources and faulty installation of fences and waterers in the Gilpin Grasslands and elsewhere.

The misleading signage installed by Government in 2015 further demonstrates their lack of competence and inability to honestly deal with the damaging realities of Range use and oversight.


Extended pdf  version with additional pictures, background and  transcript of message on signage, available at:

Monday, 7 December 2015

Our Fencing Project on Nature Trust Land: Revisited


 As told in an earlier article July 2015:      

 A portion of damaged Nature Trust property in the Gilpin Grasslands has been fenced by volunteers to protect a spring and riparian area. This will be the first time since the property was acquired by Nature Trust in 1973, that this piece, approximately 6 acres, will be protected from range cows and off-roaders.

The fence was proposed at meetings of the Committee for the Enhancement of the Gilpin. Work began late 2014 and was completed June 2015.

Approximately 6 acres of Nature Trust land is now protected by wildlife friendly fencing as per recommendations of Montana State Wildlife Friendly Fencing Brochure. See details on Lost Lake blog of Nov 2014.
For more on that story see the link above.

Volunteers returned to the newly fenced area Oct 2015 to remove the dysfunctional fence installed a few years earlier by Range Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
That Range Branch fence deserves further comment as it was a non-wildlife friendly fence installed too close to a spring and seasonal flow to provide any worthwhile setback or protection from range cows. The Range Branch fence was constructed in a U shape, open at the North end where it was apparently assumed that dense brush would prevent cattle access. The assumption was wrong, cattle pushed into the supposed enclosure and having done so, exited through the wire, damaging the fence. The fence did not extend into the headwaters area of the spring which remained open to cattle damage. In order to construct that fence, Range Branch or designates felled numerous trees in the area and left them where they fell. That fence and the damage were done on Nature Trust property without permission or notice to Nature Trust.

Other examples of Range Branch’s work can be found in the Gilpin and elsewhere in the Boundary. Poorly planned, poorly executed, non-wildlife friendly fencing and fencing along the edge of riparian zones that are hazardous to wildlife. See more on that in our Nov 2014 article:

The following YouTube video shows the new fence construction and the take down of the older Range Branch dysfunctional fence.



 If your device and download speed allow, select up to 1080 high definition video.




It is our hope that this initiative will:

  • Allow recovery of the Nature Trust Spring and surrounding area.
  • Demonstrate improved natural values in the absence of cattle grazing and off-roading.
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of wildlife friendly fencing in the face of Range Branch’s reluctance to use same.

On the latter point we are less than optimistic. Range Branch has shown no ability or inclination to change their practices for the benefit of anything other than cattle grazing.

This article and video link are also available as a printable pdf at