Friday Night Forum - ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES OCTOBER 1, 2010 – Dora McMillan
The Baker Creek Enhancement Society was founded because of a need in the region for an environmental group that had a holistic view and yet with a soft approach to addressing the issues.
I have been working in the environmental movement for thirty years and recognized that being radical was not the way to go.
The board of directors of the BCES is a well rounded and broad based group; we have a retired Dr. Retired community nurse, a member of Rotary and a member from .Lions and the Naturalists. A member from the financial community, and a retired teacher.
Our mandate is to promote public awareness and stewardship on the environmental issues including land air and water integrated with a holistic approach.We are well integrated into the community where we have directors or staff sitting on all environmental committees.These include land use planning, forestry certification, communities in bloom, city environmental committee, Parks committee. City Sustainability committee. We are an umbrella group for other stewardship groups in the region. We have representatives not only locally but also regionally and provincially on various stewardship initiatives.We have had to broaden our scope for financial reasons in order to survive.We have to look wherever we can for the dollars. And still keep our mandate.
The Cariboo Region has a magnitude of issues mainly because it’s such a large diverse area.
-There are ranching issues you know where a ranch is situated on both sides of a stream but the rancher tells us his cows don’t walk in the water.Unique to the Cariboo I’m sure flying cows
-The mining has been going on in this region for 150 years and most of the streams have been mined on with some of them still containing Mercury. Mining was the first industry to open the province therefore their regulations precede others.The restoration work of the riparian area could be a several year project alone.
-Forestryimpacts of logging and the pine beetle that really hit this region with a vengeance...The huge clear cuts are affecting the water flows. .Of course we also had a great many fires in the western half of the region that burned out a lot of the good timber and many of the areas that had been seeded.This was a very different type of forest fire it was so dry and with all the dead trees, of course with fire fighting so controlled over the years the duff in the forest had built up that this fire just raged through. Forest practices have changed over the last few years and now a lot of debris is being left on the clear-cut floor.The fire then had a lot of fuel to keep p it burning.These massive piles of ash are free to work their way into streams.This region has been identified as a reservoir for cold water storage for the major streams in the climate change ahead.These issues I have just mentioneddo not make this job any easier.
-The recreational use of our back country is growing and with the ATV’s in greater numbers the damage to streams just increases.
Our biggest problem now is funding that will pay for coordination to write proposals and supervise the projects.So we may continue to educate the public and continue to be the environmental group that will help the area reach a state of sustainability..