Cattle rancher fined $20,000 and ordered to carry out restorative work

    SMITHERS, BC, Aug. 11 /CNW/ - As a result of a joint investigation
carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Environment Canada's
Environmental Enforcement Division, a cattle rancher was convicted in
Smither's Provincial Court on June 13, 2008, of committing several offences
contrary to the Fisheries Act.
    The court ordered Mr. John Boonstra, of Telkwa, B.C. to pay a fine of
$3,000 in relation to the convictions. As well, Mr. Boonstra was ordered to
pay the Receiver General of Canada $17,000 as a contribution to the
Environmental Damages Fund, for the purpose of promoting the conservation and
protection of fish and fish habitat within the area of the Bulkley River
watershed of British Columbia.
    In sentencing, the court ruled that between April 30, 2003, and July 31,
2004, Mr. Boonstra carried out cattle ranching that resulted in harmful
alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat in Robin Creek, a small
tributary to Bulkley River, which is an important area for the spawning and
rearing of several fish species.
    The court also ruled that between May 28, 2003, and July 1, 2003, Mr.
Boonstra failed to comply with a condition issued by an officer from
Environment Canada, pursuant to the Fisheries Act, to submit for review a
detailed farm plan that would prevent future harmful substances from entering
Robin Creek.
    A third conviction against Mr. Boonstra stated that between July 13,
2004, and August 1, 2004, he failed to comply with a condition issued by a DFO
fishery officer, pursuant to the Fisheries Act, to submit for approval a plan,
of a preventative measure, that would ensure this cattle did not have access
to a portion of Robin Creek.
    In addition to payment, Mr. Boonstra was further ordered by the court to
carry out restorative work on his property including the planting of 40-50
willow whips along the banks of Robin Creek by October 31, 2008, to the
satisfaction of a DFO habitat biologist who must also monitor the planting
success in the spring of each year following planting, for a three-year
period, to ensure 90 per cent survival; replace dead or dying vegetation each
spring, subject to the same survival criteria; submit a letter summarizing
survival and replacement planting to DFO in Smithers by June 15 of each year;
and submit a written report for advanced approval to a DFO habitat biologist
at Smithers outlining a method to armour the stream bank at the livestock
watering area in Robin Creek. This armouring must be completed by October 31,
2008, unless use of that livestock watering area is discontinued and replanted
with vegetation to prevent cattle access in future.
    The sentence imposed by the Provincial Court Judge is now under appeal by
Mr. Boonstra.

    DFO acts to end illegal fishing activity. As part of this work, the
Department is asking the general public for information on activities of this
nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Anyone with
information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

For further information:

For further information: Hannah R. Mahoney, Communications Advisor,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, (604) 666-7120

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