Horsefly River Roundtable group appeals for community input in protecting watershed health

Posted by in Other on September 25, 2023 0 comments


Five years ago the provincial government declared the Horsefly River watershed  a “Fisheries Sensitive Watershed“. The Order defines its intent as:

2. The area of land comprising the watershed listed in Schedule A requires special Management to:
i. conserve the natural hydrological conditions, natural stream bed dynamics and stream Chanel integrity,
ii. conserve the quality, quantity and timing of water flow consistent with the needs of fisheries values,
iii. Prevent cumulative hydrological effects that would have a material adverse effect on fish and fish habitat, and

The Order requires limited harvesting in the watershed as dictated by equivalent clear cut areas, and for Forest Professionals to prescribe timber harvesting activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.  Rough calculations reveal that there are areas where clear cuts surpass ordered limits.  To date, there have been no changes to harvest plans, a few vague promises and zero solid commitments.

Oh April 20, 2023, Horsefly River Roundtable communicated concerns in a letter which requested a moratorium on harvesting activities until requirements outlined in the Order could be defined.  The letter asks for the Order to be upheld, accurate measurements of clearcut areas and a definition of when young stands are no longer considered as “clear cut”.

It is evident that harmful harvesting practices blindly carry on, local Licensees, the Ministry of Forests and the Forest Professionals who work in the watershed have failed to achieve the objectives of the Order,  Lack of ongoing dialogue or collaboration with Government and Industry has left the Horsefly River Roundtable frustrated as this short-sighted approach seems to fly in the face of the intentions of the Order.

You can read the letter here.

Meanwhile, the pristine waters and sparkling spawning gravels of fifty years ago are long gone. Today we are faced with rapidly increasing siltation of spawning habitat, reduced water quality and a river bed coated with a layer of grey- green slime.

The Roundtable feels strongly that if present practices continue we are going to be left with increased land slides and wildfires, and a badly damaged ecosystem.   Achieving the Orders intent will support healthy fish, healthy wildlife and continued biodiversity

Change takes courage and does not come without sacrifice and cost but we feel time is running out.  If you share these sentiments please write or email  your Member of Parliament or any Forestry or Government Official you may feel you have influence with.

The Roundtable invites you to have your say regarding future forest related planning.  Mark your calendars and attend their Forestry Open House at the Horsefly Community Hall on October 14th from 10:00am to 2:00 pm

Finally, the Roundtable also asks that you to be vigilant when you are out in the watershed and observe, record and report anything you feel is harmful to wildlife, fisheries and ecosystem health.  Below you will find contact information for directing your concerns. Any support in this regard is helpful.

Report All Poachers and Polluters  Conservation Office 24-hour hotline: 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Here is a step by step process for reporting infractions of all types.