A proposed horse control strategy

Please click on the image below to download a draft of a final report on the Delphi surveys for horse control.  See "Horse update: November 2009" for more recent information.

Horse Control Strategy Draft Report cover page

The report outlines a proposed stratgegy involving fencing and range management.  Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Our next steps are to consult with the Penticton Indian Band, senior levels of government, and RDOS staff to flesh out the proposal.  I would like to see the result come to referendum as soon as possible.

Comments

Can area F or the RDOS locate funding to provide a estimate on fencing a service area.....

How is a  service area created... or can Husula, Sage Mesa & West Bench be the "Service Area"

Ken

Good Report Michael

We have already made strong hints to both the federal and provincial governments that we would like some help paying for this.  As for the actual details of the fence, this is up to the RDOS engineering department and the Penticton Indian Band.  Some fencing configurations will make more sense than others.  My own guess is that the new fence line will be well west of existing fence remnants (see rough map here).  The service area, which has to be approved by the Province, will include everyone who benefits from horse control.  Again, my expectation is that it would include the West Bench, Sage Mesa, Husula, and Westwood--all the neighborhoods with a horse problem.

Michael.  Livestock/range fences can be hazardous to wildlife such as deer especially when built across migratory pathways as indicated by the proposed location in the website orthophoto. Deer and bear both must move to lower elevation food sources along the bench in fall, winter and spring and will have to cross any new fence designed to exclude horses from the area.  Deer especially can get entangled when jumping over wire strand fences and animals can be hurt and sometimes killed trying to squeeze through or under such fences.  The province has some standard range fence designs but these are not necessarily wildlife-friendly.  Part of the design and construction of a responsibly-built fence to exclude horses should also be to minimize potential adverse affect on wildlife. Here is a copy and paste link to a pdf document on wildlife-friendly fence designs prepared as guidance to landowners in Montana:  fwp.mt.gov/content/getItem.aspx?id=34461 .   Also, as funding is secured to build a new fence, the means should be sought to also remove the old abandoned fences along the KVR and elsewhere. Those are a hazard to people, wildlife, dogs and horses. Perhaps some cooperative funding or work-in-kind might be arranged with Marathon Realty assuming it still holds title to the KVR right-of-way. Al Peatt, RPBio

Thanks Al, this is precisely the kind of information that we need as we move forward.  Obviously, the RDOS does not have much experience with wild horse control.  To this point, we have drawn on the services of a range consultant regarding these kinds of design issues.  We were also expecting the fencing contractor to provide some guidance on specifics.  It is certainly good to see how they are doing this in other jurisdictions.

Your point about bear and deer exclusion is interesting because I have some calls already from people excited about the potential of excluding these animals as a beneficial by-product of horse control.  My guess is that the fence, as it is currently envisioned, will be very porous in this regard.  As you can see by the map, we have included a cattle guard on virtually every back road that the fence encounters (the logic being that cattle guards are expensive but fence maintenance is even more expensive—we do not want people cutting it).  I am not sure how bears and deer deal with cattle guards, but my assumption is that these animals have no problems crossing such barriers.

As for clean-up, especially along the KVR trail, the central issue is ownership.  As you know, the PIB has expressed an intention to reacquire the KVR right away that bisects band lands (which includes most of the track in Area F).  The RDOS has an interest in maintaining this land as a public access, non-motorized trail. We will see how this plays out.

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