Lake Country Mayor James Baker displays the 2013 Regional Premier’s Award received for a pilot project on Vernon Creek.

Lake Country Mayor James Baker displays the 2013 Regional Premier’s Award received for a pilot project on Vernon Creek.

Lake Country project wins regional honour

The Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards showcases the work of government

The District of Lake Country was a key partner in a silvopasture pilot project which won the 2013 Regional Premier’s Award in the partnership category.

The Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards showcases the work of government and its partners and collaborators that exemplify good management practices, innovation and excellence.

“We are very happy this growing food and fibre in a community watershed pilot project received acknowledgement from the premier’s office as an exemplary partnership,” said Mayor James Baker.

The first of its kind in B.C., this water-management partnership arose out of the need to protect drinking water in the Okanagan Shuswap district.

Lake Country’s Vernon Creek watershed provides drinking water and is an important source of timber, forage and recreational activities.

Concern that livestock grazing and other activities in the watershed may affect water quality led to a unique partnership between provincial and local government agencies and key stakeholders and partners.

Their approach integrated the management of forestry and livestock productions with conservation practices to protect drinking water while also promoting industry.

“Lake Country provided analysis of water samples, delivery of bacteriological/chemistry samples to lab, and was instrumental in the development of water quality sampling protocol,” said Patti Meger, Lake Country’s water quality technician.

The project was led by the Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with the  Ministry of Forests, Agriculture Canada, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the District of Lake County, Coldstream Ranch, Tolko Industries, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Legerwood Natural Resources, the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, the Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program and AgForInsight.com