|Sheep Vegetation Management Guidelines
2.1 General planning procedures
The Ministry of Forests and major
forest licencees are responsible for the management of forest areas. Sheep vegetation
management proposals are referred to MELP for review and comment. A decision to use sheep
for vegetation management includes the following steps:
Preparing a Silviculture Prescription
A Silviculture Prescription must state whether livestock
is proposed for vegetation management or for site preparation. (Refer to relevant parts of
Practices Code of British Columbia Act and the Silviculture
2.1.2 Determining the requirements for sheep vegetation management
Vegetation management is the control of
vegetation that could compete with and hinder the establishment and growth of crop
seedlings. Should the site forester decide that vegetation management is required, he or
she will determine what the best treatment would be and its objective.
At this time, the suitability of the
site, for vegetation management using sheep, should be assessed according to various
acceptability factors (Appendix 1 and Appendix
2). As well, other districts, licencees and contractors who have
had experience with sheep vegetation management should be consulted.
If sheep vegetation management is felt to
be a viable option and the technique is stated in the Silviculture Prescription, the
method is then investigated thoroughly.
Proponents are expected to submit the
locations and site evaluations of proposed areas to MELP for review. Allow 3 to 12 months
for the review. This gives MELP's Wildlife and Habitat staff and independent biological
and agroforestry consultants (as required), adequate time to assess the suitability of the
areas for this type of vegetation management. The designated MELP official, in each
region, should be consulted to determine the time required for review.
2.1.3 Site evaluation
During the site evaluation, the
acceptability of the site is evaluated, conditions at critical times of the year are
noted, and risks are identified. A written report of the evaluation is circulated to and
discussed among the affected ministries and proponent.
In the site evaluation, consideration is
given to those factors which may make the site acceptable or unacceptable (Appendix
1 and Appendix 2). Potential domestic sheep
impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat should be documented.
Once the review has been completed
and the project approved, several tasks should be completed before sheep vegetation
Sheep Health Protocol
The MAF has developed requirements for the health
management and inspection of sheep used for vegetation management. These requirements,
known as the Sheep Health Protocol (Appendix 3), apply to all
sheep regardless of source.Following project approval, proponents planning to use
sheep for vegetation management must notify MAF's Health Management Veterinarian. The
telephone number is 1-800-661-9903 or 1-604-556-3003.
Proponents should keep in mind that sheep producers may
require up to 1 year to adequately plan and prepare flocks according to the Sheep Health
Protocol. Any queries about inspection procedures should be directed to MAF's Health
with sheep health inspections and certification requirements
- Proponents and contractors are responsible for ensuring
that all the health and certification requirements laid out in the Sheep Health Protocol
are met (Appendix 3).
2.2.2 Authorization for sheep vegetation management on crown land
Authorization for sheep vegetation
management is granted through the Silviculture Prescription.
- A silviculture prescription is a site-specific operational
plan that describes the forest management objectives for an area. Statement of the use of
livestock for vegetation management or site preparation purposes under the silviculture
prescription authorizes treatment using this method without the requirement for a range
permit. Sheep vegetation management treatments are subject to the requirements within the Silviculture
Practices Regulation. For additional information refer to the Silviculture
Prescription Guidebook and applicable sections of the Forest Practices Code
of British Columbia Act.
2.2.3 Pre-project requirements
Once the sheep vegetation management
contract is signed, the proponent must notify MELP and MAF of the project start date,
location, contact name and phone number, at least 45 days before the sheep arrive.
health and welfare
Before the contract starts, contractors should make
arrangements for:off-site facilities for animals that require special
treatment and/or care during the project;
the transportation of sheep that may have to be moved from
the treatment area to off-site facilities; and
the transportation and disposal of dead animals in
accordance with the Agricultural
Waste Control Regulation and Code of Agricultural Practice
for Waste Management, in addition to ensuring that the Local
Government Act (formerly the Municipal Act), Health Act, and Highways Act are not violated.
- The local Conservation Officer Service (Appendix 4) must be notified approximately 45 days prior to
project start date so that officers can avoid relocating problem carnivores into areas
adjacent to project sites.
- It is recommended that an approved alternative grazing
site be selected before the contract start date. The alternative site should be located at
least one watershed distance away. If carnivore interaction develops or persists, MELP and
the proponent, in consultation with the contractor, may decide to vacate the site and
relocate the sheep to the alternative site
- The sheep contractor and forestry contract administrator
should view and evaluate the site within one week of the contract start date (April/May)
to ensure that adequate forage is available.
- The sheep contractor may take appropriate forage samples
and have them nutritionally analyzed to provide reference assessments for forage quality.
- It is the responsibility of the proponent to choose sites
and management practices that limit the spread of noxious weeds (Refer to Section 52 of
the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act). For additional information refer to Integrated
Weed Management An Introductory Manual. 1998. Province of British Columbia,
Ministry of Agriculture and Foods. This publication can be accessed on MAFs
website at: www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/pubs.htm.
- Supplementary feed sources should be arranged before the
start of the contract so that it is readily available if needed.
- Contractors must ensure that supplemental feed is free
from noxious weeds
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