Tolko walked back on its plans for a cutblock above the Greater Vernon area’s primary water source, the Duteau Creek watershed. (RDNO photo)

Tolko walked back on its plans for a cutblock above the Greater Vernon area’s primary water source, the Duteau Creek watershed. (RDNO photo)

LETTER: B.C. watersheds should be protected

Reader offers praise to Regional District for speaking out against Tolko’s proposed cutblock above Duteau Creek

I would like to thank the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) for speaking out to protect our watershed from logging.

Many are just now realizing that if Tolko had not voluntarily backed away from their planned cutblock, just 500 metres above the Duteau Creek water intake, then there was nothing that the district manager (BC Forests) could have done to stop the logging.

There is currently no legislation in place to protect watersheds from logging. Duteau Creek supplies 60 per cent of the water that services our area.

A government publication called, Resource Values recognizes that the quality and quantity of water within a watershed is largely a function of the intact forest cover.

Tree cover controls snow storage and melt rates. Tree cover captures snow, provides shade, holds snow and cuts out the wind. This influences both the yield and streamflow. Peak flows with their resulting high soil erosion rates are reduced by intact forest cover.

In snow-dominated forested watersheds, seasonal snowmelt rates are less and runoff from rain-on-snow events is less than in deforested watersheds.

Forested watersheds have landslide rates many times less than comparable logged watersheds. Slope stability is enhanced by the tree roots anchoring the steeply sloped soils. An intact forest cover shields the soil from raindrop erosion, as do the organic soil horizons that run directly under, and parallel to, the soil surface.

If there was ever an issue where the public needed to speak up, this was it… and speak up they did!

Many contacted the RDNO, our MLA’s office and the provincial government. A protest was planned. Citizens connected on social media to notify others about our watershed being threatened. Five hundred and 40 people immediately signed CodeBlue BC’s petition to stop the logging.

When people work together, they have the power to make positive change.

Thanks to every single citizen that spoke up. Many believe the B.C. government needs to bring in legislation to protect our watersheds. Water is scarce now and will become even scarcer in the near future. Protecting watersheds throughout B.C. is a no brainer.

Water is life.

Jane Weixl

Vernon, B.C.

READ MORE: Vernon mayor pushes for water sustainability action now

READ MORE: Tolko walks back plans for cutblock above Greater Vernon water source


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