Study looks at Big Creek watershed

The Big Creek Watershed southwest of Williams Lake will receive some attention over the next few months.

The Big Creek Watershed southwest of Williams Lake will receive some attention over the next few months as it undergoes a watershed storage assessment.

The assessment is to determine the feasibility of increasing water storage to benefit agricultural operations, wildlife, waterfowl and fish.

That study is long overdue, says rancher Randy Saugstad who had approached the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Coalition (CCBAC) requesting that a research project take place.

“I went to the beetle action committee in June and asked if they could help us do something because all our water runs away in May and June and then we’re left with nothing for the rest of the summer,” Saugstad says. “They said ‘yes’ they would look at it.”

At a follow-up meeting on Sept. 8, King Campbell, head of agricultural programs for Ducks Unlimited Canada, made a presentation to the CCBAC board outlining the need for a study.

“They (Ducks Unlimited) have the expertise. They’ve built hundreds of these projects around the Chilcotin and can do it the cheapest and probably most efficient way,” Saugstad says.

Campbell’s presentation was enough to convince the board that research was necessary and, on Dec. 7, CCBAC announced it is giving the project a $30,000 grant.

The remaining $40,000 needed for the project is coming from Ducks Unlimited Canada, Cariboo Region of the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, Yunest’in Government Office, Williams Lake Timber Sales Association and Big Creek Livestock Association.

For two days in December, professional engineer Jeremy Cooke from WMI Water Management International Inc. in Kamloops was in the Big Creek area interviewing ranchers.

Of the eight ranchers who are part of the study, Cooke spoke with all but two, whom he says are away for the winter.

Others ranchers in the area might not be on board because they aren’t directly affected by any of the nearby logging or experienced any water shortages, he says, adding he also touch based with members of the Yunest’in (Stone) First Nation because the watershed is in their territory.

Cooke will do a technical study of the watershed, looking at levels of erosion and at the possibility of creating extra storage to hold back a little bit more water.

“They’re running out of water at the beginning of June, end of July, which is totally abnormal,” he says. “It could be for various reasons, I don’t think it’s any one reason. It’s not about pointing fingers but about finding solutions and using those ideas in other catchments.”

CCBAC board member Marg Evans also says it’s hoped the results of the project will be used as a template in other areas having the same concerns.

Evans is also the co-ordinator of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society and says she would love to see more proposals put forward along the same lines.

“If our communities are going to have healthy systems, including economic, then we have to take care of the environment naturally, especially when it’s things like forests and agriculture we’re looking at,” she says.

Scott McCullough, whose Sky Ranch has water licenses on two of the Big Creek Watershed’s tributaries — Ray and Cooper Creeks — is also participating in the project.

“Our ranch had 90 years with no erosion problems and now we’re having problems,” he says, describing flooded hay fields and creeks splitting into channels that were never there before.

“We have to have water, but we also have to be able to control it,” McCullough says. “We had both of those things before, but now we’re losing water when it’s dry and we’ve lost the power to control it.”

By January, Cooke expects to know what direction the study will take. He hopes the study will finish up by the spring.

Just Posted

Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort on Puntzi Lake has been purchased by Tsideldel First Nation. (Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort photo)
Tsideldel First Nation buys Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort at Puntzi Lake

“It’s a good opportunity for the band, our children and our future,” said Chief Otis Guichon

Demolition work is underway at the corner of Oliver Street and Mackenzie Avenue. (Angie Mindus photo)
Demolition work begins on Ming’s Restaurant building in Williams Lake

The historic building suffered extensive water damage during a large fire downtown in 2019

Williams Lake courthouse. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Preliminary inquiry gets underway May 17 into 2018 murder north of Williams Lake

Wyatt Lee Boffa, Daine Victor Stump are charged with first degree murder

Talia McKay of Williams Lake is a burn survivor who remains grateful for the support she received from the Burn Fund (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
’You have to allow yourself the grace to heal’: B.C. burn survivor reflects on her recovery

Learning how to stand straight and walk again was a feat said Williams Lake resident Talia McKay

‘COVID to COVID’ lung transplant patient says he’s grateful at a May 14, 2021, news conference in Chicago. (CP screenshot)
‘COVID to COVID’ lung transplant patient grateful

Renato Aquino became sick from COVID-19 in May 2020

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A pedestrian wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 is bundled up for the cold weather as snow falls in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, February 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snow possible in mountain passes as cold front hits southern B.C.

Much of B.C.’s southern interior will see temperatures plunge from highs of 30 C reached over the weekend

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Most Read