Peachland residents concerned about watershed

“We need to develop a plan to protect our jobs, our recreation, and our water quality.”

A growing number of Peachland residents have had enough of the four month stretch of boil water advisories, creek washouts, slides and floods.

Now there’s a call for a comprehensive watershed protection plan.

Peachland city council is holding a meeting at 9 a.m., Tuesday June 13, asking the four area logging companies to present their forest stewardship plans again to city hall.

“We’re concerned that unrestricted logging, especially clear-cut logging, is having a negative effect on our watershed’s health,” said Joe Klein, chair of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance, in a press release.

“We need to develop a plan to protect our jobs, our recreation, and our water quality.”

At the recent town hall meeting that attracted nearly 100 residents, a diverse group of area experts said that Peachland wasn’t adequately protecting its water source.

In addition to mining, roads, range cattle, recreational vehicle use, the major threat to drinking water is industrial forestry with its ditching, culverts stream conversions, three kilometers of road for every single square kilometer of land, and clear cuts in the watershed.

“The more roads and logged areas, the greater the potential for sediment to be collected and delivered into our water intakes,” said Lorne Davies, a water consultant.

Experts detailed how the extra accumulation of snow and precipitation on cleared lands (up to 72 per cent more than on a natural forest canopy) can lead to a 40 per cent greater/faster melt and run off, so in a steep watershed like Peachland’s, excessive runoff, severe erosion, sedimentation and flooding are inevitable.

At the end of the meeting, Peachland residents requested a mapping of the municipality’s entire watershed, with all industrial logged areas, current cut blocks and planned clear cuts detailed for the next 100 years (the time needed for reforestation and full re-growth).

The Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance is a non profit organization that endeavours to promote the preservation and protection of all watersheds in the community and provide the assurance of a consistent quantity and quality of water. The alliance is also dedicated to ecosystem research, public education and sustainable rural communities.

while encouraging the development of public forests in the Peachland and Trepanier watershed area according to site sensitive, ecologically based forestry practices.