In December 2018, the Province of BC requested the City’s comments on the impacts of direct cattle access in the Kiskatinaw River Watershed to assist with the development of Livestock Watering Regulations. In response, the City’s Watershed Stewardship Program completed a full review of past reports and management plans.
These findings have Council concerned about the elevated levels of bacteriological contaminants such as fecal coliforms and E.coli in multiple locations throughout the watershed. Sources of contamination could be attributed to human, wildlife, horses or cattle; however, reports identify direct cattle access as one of the main contributors.
Cattle ranching in the Peace Country is vital to our region’s economy and cultural heritage. A multi-facetted approach through education, regulations, funding support, and range use plans is recommended to avoid compromising stream health for downstream users, including livestock and aquatic life.
As a water purveyor, the City has an on-going legal responsibility to monitor water quality and respond to source water protection concerns. Council wants to reassure the citizens of Dawson Creek that the City’s drinking water continues to meet and exceed Canadian drinking water guidelines and that the Level 4 Treatment Facility continues to provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water.
Council’s concern is with the potential health hazards that these elevated levels of pollutants may pose for those in and around the Kiskatinaw who may partake in recreational activities along the watershed in areas upstream of the drinking water intake at Arras, as some samples report contamination levels above the BC Recreational Water Quality Guidelines.
The City has requested the Province address these water quality concerns by encouraging the adoption of beneficial management practices on both private and crown land.