Lake Country mayor James Baker displays the award Lake Country won for a unique pilot project.

Lake Country mayor James Baker displays the award Lake Country won for a unique pilot project.

Lake Country wins award for unique silvopasture project

Project attempted to keep cattle out of fresh water sources while they grazed

The District of Lake Country has been selected as the recipient of a 2013 Regional Premier’s Award in the partnership category after a unique silvopasture pilot project.

The Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards showcases the work of government and its partners and collaborators that exemplify good management practices, innovation and excellence.

“We are very happy this Growing Food and Fibre in a Community Watershed pilot project received acknowledgement from the Premier’s office as an exemplary partnership,” said Mayor James Baker. “Anyone wanting more details about what was involved can watch a brief very interesting video about the project on YouTube.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uMsR5UN3xY)

The project is described as a first of its kind in BC and attempted to draw grazing cattle away from fresh water sources by blocking the path to the water and moving them in a different direction to avoid any contamination in the water-shed.

“The Silvopasture pilot project was an exciting multi-jurisdictional project,” said Patti Meger, Water Quality Technician. “Lake Country provided analysis of water samples, delivery of bacteriological/chemistry samples to lab, and was instrumental in the development of water quality sampling protocol. This pilot project is the first like it in BC and could prove to be an effective form of management drawing livestock away from sensitive riparian zones and improving water quality.”

The first of its kind in B.C., this water-management partnership arose out of the need to protect drinking water in the Okanagan Shuswap District. The Vernon Creek watershed is a community watershed that provides drinking water and an important source of timber, forage and recreational activities. Concern that livestock grazing and other activities in the watershed may affect water quality led to a unique partnership between provincial and local government agencies and key stakeholders and partners. Their win/win approach integrated the management of forestry and livestock productions with conservation practices to protect drinking water while also promoting industry.