MAY 15 LETTER: Issues of Kettle River Management Plan and water protection

Does the Kettle River Management Plan warrant $50,000?

Editor:

RE: Wilderness society gets $50K (story, April 17 issue)

Does the Kettle River Management Plan warrant $50,000?

Why spend more on a study if there is no intestinal fortitude to talk about the real problem, cows and the politics of ranching?

Source water protection is the goal of all credible water management plans; no domestic animals in important water courses, vegetative buffers and restrictive manure management.

Source water protection is the law in Ontario thanks to an incident in Walkerton in May 2000. Seven dead, 2,300 seriously ill and over 40 with serious life time health problems, all from the E. coli from cow manure in the town’s water system.

Eholt Creek, a fish-bearing creek, is seriously compromised by horses, sheep and alpacas. There is no riparian area management and the manure is piled close to the creek.

This is just one of hundreds of examples you can find in domestic watersheds and the like throughout the Boundary.

Has anything changed politically that gives us hope that the public interest will prevail and the antiquated tradition of cows living in all our rivers and streams will come to an end?

Grand Forks is changing, many of the valley’s residents, including new arrivals, believe the cow needs to be controlled; a point re-enforced at the fall fair when discussing the Gilpin Wildlife Management Area designation.

This argument is further supported by the fact that a growing number of adults no longer want to recreate in the Kettle River.

Idle No More, the recent First Nations’ agenda, may well be the most important initiative that gives hope that water source protection will not be another lost opportunity to get it right; after all, First Nations have made it clear they have a right to potable water.

One of their strong supporters, a well-known BC Conservative politician, told me there was no stakeholder group more negatively impacted by the cow than First Nations.

The RDKB has stuck its neck out supporting the Kettle River Management Plan but will it publicly support source water protection?

Will ranchers and supporters engage the public in meaningful debate?

Barry Brandow, Grand Forks