The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food (AF) is undertaking a new initiative on Stewarding Agricultural Watercourses (SAW). BC farmers are experiencing challenges with navigating legislation related to watercourse stewardship such as the Fisheries Act, Water Sustainability Act, Agricultural Environmental Management Code of Practice, Riparian Areas Protection Act, and Local Government Bylaws and are feeling the weight of regulatory oversight from various government agencies. Additionally, we have heard of cases where farmers struggle to obtain permits to complete projects that will improve watercourse stewardship. Through this project we want to better understand how farmers and ranchers are managing riparian areas and watercourses on agricultural land, understand where the struggles or roadblocks are, and determine ways that we can support farmers in overcoming some of these challenges.
The first engagement opportunity is through an online survey, which can be found at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/StewardAgWatercourse. The closing date for this survey is June 30th, 2022.
The voices and experiences of BC’s farmers are critical.
By participating in this survey, you are helping to showcase where agriculture is excelling at watercourse stewardship and explain where the difficulties and challenges lie. The results of this first phase of the SAW project will help AF advocate for agriculture and allow us to work with the regulatory agencies (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Forestry, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans) to find alternative solutions where possible. The next step after this initial engagement phase will be to develop a Discussion Paper and an eventual Action Plan that we will share for further feedback.