Update: Cherry Ridge Management Committee

Submitted by Joyce Fleury, President, CRMC

Recent CRMC monthly general meetings have been held via Zoom teleconference, due to Covid pandemic restrictions for in-person meetings.

The CRMC constitution has been updated with a number of changes suggested by legal counsel, along with other changes to address management responsibilities for the Cherryville Community Forest. An information package with ballots for a special resolution vote was mailed to Cherryville residents, with ballots returned unanimously in favour of the changes to CRMC’s constitution. The revised constitution has been uploaded to the BC Societies Registrar web site.

CRMC maintains a number of special financial accounts, in support of its environmental and community forest mandate, including:

CRMC Heritage Fund

The annual interest from this longstanding Heritage Fund is made available for grants to local individuals and organizations who apply for financial support in undertaking environmental projects that meet CRMC established requirements.

CRMC Wildlife Enhancement Fund

The CRMC Wildlife Enhancement Fund is intended to support a proposed Wildlife Enhancement Program, in consultation with local residents and qualified advisors. Ten percent of any profits at the end of each fiscal year derived from annual logging operations is added to the fund at the time of maturity.

Cherryville Water Stewards Account

This account holds grant money from the Regional District, strictly dedicated to funding projects related to local water testing activities performed by the independent Cherryville Water Stewards group of volunteers.

CRMC Operating Account

This is the main chequing account used for bill payments related to day-to-day CRMC operations and Society administration.

Student Bursary Fund

$100K is allocated for a Student Bursary Fund with the annual interest to be used for scholarship grants.

General Education Fund

Funds in this account are designated for training which promotes a vision for Cherryville’s future natural and social environments, aligned with the CRMC constitution.

CRMC Community Projects Account

This account is allocated for various other worthy community projects that may be suggested in future, of a nature compatible with CRMC’s constitution.

Cherry Creek Watershed Studies

In consultation with RDNO, CRMC transferred the entire amount of approximately $16,000 to the Cherryville Community Club from a fund that was dedicated for Cherry Creek watershed projects, toward costs from last year’s flood mitigation effort and related projects this year, in support of reparations in Hanson Park under the astute management of community club directors.

The annual year-end financial review for 2020 has been compiled by CRMC’s chartered accountant. CRMC treasurer’s reports are reviewed regularly at monthly general meetings.

Several student bursary application letters have been received from Cherryville’s 2021 graduating students at Charles Bloom secondary school.

Discussions about contracting a biologist for the community forest are on the agenda as an important action item. Biological assessments are required as part of the Forest Stewardship Plan for community forests. CRMC directors are actively looking for a candidate biologist.

CRMC continues to act as a financial management resource in support of independent water testing activities performed by the Cherryville Water Stewards. Dedicated CWS volunteers conduct regular water sampling and analysis surveys to provide Cherryville residents with important professional baseline reports on local water quality at various locations.

CRMC directors have met with personnel from Crown Lands and the Vernon Forest District at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for continuing discussions regarding CRMC’s proposal to purchase several Crown lots in the Richlands area under a Crown grant application as a community resource. CRMC remains committed to pursuing the option to purchase as the long-term goal. As an interim objective, however, a formal designation of these Crown blocks as an Old Grown Management Area may be possible to address the community’s immediate concern for preserving these forested lots. OGMA blocks are designed to protect healthy trees; the only logging allowed would be for forest health requirements, which is consistent with CRMC’s mandate. CRMC adoption of OGMA-equivalent standards for the property may be an asset in purchase negotiations as a commitment to “community use” values. No matter what status is ultimately determined for this area, First Nations approval is a fundamental requirement.

Special thanks go out to all the local volunteers who participated in the annual Earth Day clean-up in April. Thanks must also be acknowledged for all the volunteers who have included their names in the revised Cherryville Fire Control Guide, offering their equipment and services for the protection of our community.

Fencing on Heckman Ridge was completed to maintain a barrier between range cattle in the community forest and adjoining private properties.

CRMC’s operations in the Cherryville Community Forest in recent years have led to a significant overcut, due to heavy fir bark beetle infestations and windfall. This is expected to be offset by a reduction in future Annual Allowable Cut volumes. After the beetle problem is determined to be under control, a re-inventory may be required to reduce the AAC to a lower sustainable level.

The bug risk on Cherry Ridge now should be minimal. Green bug attack trees were hauled out with last year’s blow down and about 2500 cubic metres (60 loads) have been removed in this year’s logging effort.

In recently completed silviculture work, more than 41,000 trees have been replanted on Heckman and Cherry ridges this year, for a total of about 145,000 trees planted in the past 4 years.

Every effort is made to enlist local contractors whenever possible for all operations in the Cherryville Community Forest.

The 2021 CRMC Annual General Meeting has been postponed, awaiting a time when larger in-person gatherings of people can be safely accommodated. A fourth annual S-100 fire-fighting course, community barbeque and public tour of the community forest will also be back on the agenda. In the meantime, if you would like to join us for a monthly CRMC general meeting – or if you have any questions at all – please contact me for more information.

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