A recent ELC submission on behalf of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) to BC’s Auditor General says it’s time to examine the environmental and economic impacts of grazing leases and licenses on Crown land.
The provincial government has a duty to manage the province’s resources in the public’s best interest. When it looks like that’s not happening, BC’s Auditor General has the power to step in and investigate. In the past, the Auditor General has looked at the management of agricultural land, forest resources, groundwater, drinking water, grizzly bears and wild salmon.
Rangelands, which are found throughout BC, are to be sustainably managed for multiple users, including the ranching industry, guide outfitters, First Nations, government and non-government agencies, wildlife, recreationalists and the general public while maintaining environmental health. According to the government website, range tenures cover more than 34 million hectares (roughly one-third of BC’s land base.)
When BCWF asked us to look into how efficiently rangelands are being managed in BC, we discovered that old grazing leasing and licensing on rangelands are leading to environmental harm, creating public access issues, and costing the taxpayers more than it should.
The ELC report asks the Auditor General to consider whether all grazing leases should be phased out, whether measures should be taken to improve public access to Crown rangelands, whether grazing tenure prices should be raised to reflect market rates, and to determine the standards for grasslands and grazing leases that ensure sustainability of these ecosystems, including biodiversity and rare and endangered species.
For more information, see the BCWF website