Sun Reports Fraser Valley Agriculture Practices Under Investigation

The Vancuover Sun is reporting that damage or alteration to three Fraser Valley streams is being investigated by the federal and B.C. governments

The news comes as a result of a Sun investigation led by by Larry Pynn which reveals that agriculture practices, which clash with protection of streams and fish habitat, may lead to violators not being caught due to weaker laws and enforcement.

With the large economic role played by the agricultural sector in communities like Abbotsford and Chilliwack, the Sun’s investigation brings into question the ability or willingness of government to monitor the agriculture industry or adequately enforce existing legislation.

[excerpts] In one case, an Aldergrove nursery removed streamside vegetation and used an important creek as a dumping ground. In another, the headwaters of a river in Abbotsford were channelized as part of a land-clearing operation. In the third, a tributary of critical aquatic habitat in Agassiz was put through a culvert, covered over and converted to blueberries.

Far from isolated incidents, these cases hint at much broader issues involving the impact of farming on fish-bearing streams, and concerns about altering of fish habitat, and the deposit of manure and other pollutants into fish streams.

“It’s hard for me to go out for a day and not see something outrageous,” said consulting biologist Mike Pearson, a Fraser Valley fish specialist who assisted The Sun in its lengthy investigation.

The problem, Johnston argues, is that the cumulative effects of non-reviewed projects won’t get assessed, and there is an assumption that all projects within a given category will have the same effect.

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