Here are some examples of Farmland Advantage at work on BC Farms and Ranches.
Preserving a Unique National Treasure
Rock-a-boo Ranch is located in Brisco, BC, half an hour north of Invermere, British Columbia in the East Kootenay. The property was first purchased in 1850. John and his family have farmed the land since 1910 (100+ years), and have been homesteaders in the region since 1888. In addition to cattle, the farm also has sheep, ducks, goats and chickens, as well as 2 guard donkeys. John, and the Rock-A-Boo Ranch was one of the first Farmland Advantage projects in the region. This was borne out of a need to protect the unique Lower Bugaboo Falls, the largest cedar grove/rainforest ecosystem in the East Kootenay and one of only 6 overall. Historically these were salmon spawning grounds and a location of meeting for the aboriginal people. John recognized the need to protect this site from having his animals use it for grazing and watering.
In addition to this ecologically and culturally significant site, John also fenced off an area of forest, building alternate shelter so that the trees would not be destroyed from over grazing and bark rubbing. And finally as part of the project, he fenced his cattle from being able to access the crown land of the Columbia wetlands. This saved him time in animal management and reduced mortality risk and also aided in preservation of the sensitive wetlands.
Project highlights include:
Through John’s foresight the Lower Bugaboo Falls and adjacent wetlands continue to be a fairly pristine wonder of the region contained on the private farm lands.
Having the community support saving this unique area is important.
– John Palmer
Rare Slough and River Bank Fencing - A riparian area
Trescher Farms is located in Brisco, BC, half an hour north of Invermere, British Columbia in the East Kootenay. The parcel of land where the ESI project is in place contains a rare slough habitat for many bird species and borders on the Columbia River. They run a cow-calf operation and have farmed the land for over 50 years (1962). Through the EFP program, 80 acres of riparian habitat were fenced off to preserve the riparian area, species at risk habitat, halt river bank erosion and reduce risk of cattle mortality through winter river ice.
Peter previously lost 11 cattle in one unfortunate accident where the cattle drowned falling through winter ice. Not only does this project help preserve bird habitat and reduce bank erosion, but Peter has also been able to reduce the risk of animal’s drowning. The project was carried out in conjunction with a Trescher Farms neighbour as there were shared benefits. Peter has added additional corrals to the project and now has greatly improved his cattle management time contributing to a very successful project overall.
There is more wildlife here now than when I was growing up.
– Peter Trescher
Knife Creek - A riparian restoration
The Wright Ranch is near 140 mile house in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia, 15 minutes from Williams Lake. The property has long been a farm and the Wright’s have run a cow-calf operation for many years. Through the EFP program, both sides of the creek were fenced to keep the cattle out in order to stop bank erosion and maintain the riparian area. 40 acres of riparian habitat was fenced off to preserve the riparian area, improve water quality and control weeds.
Project highlights include:
By fencing off the creek and now only allowing limited seasonal access for watering, the Wright’s are noticing reduced erosion, and overland water flow reductions due to filtering by creek bank vegetation (flood mitigation).
We are upstream on the watershed so what we do affects the ranches downstream.
– Iris Wright
Bunyan Lake - A riparian area
The Zehnder Ranch is located just outside of Invermere, British Columbia in the East Kootenays. They run a cow-calf operation and have farmed the land for over 40 years. Bunyan Lake is in the community water shed and was previously accessible by the cattle. Through the EFP program it was fenced off to help preserve the riparian area and improve water quality. This site served as the first ESI research pilot site to demonstrate the concept payment for ecosystem services and has been the most studied to date.
This project has been in place for three years and has proven successful in terms of:
This is a prime example of how one small change can have a positive effect on a much larger scale.
It is so much less stressful to see less animal health issues.
– John Zehnder