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Released on October 18, 2006

The Spirit Creek Watershed Monitoring Committee (SCWMC) today presented the Province with the findings of its five-year report on the environmental impacts of intensive livestock operations in the Good Spirit Lake and Spirit Creek watershed areas.

"The work done by the Spirit Creek Watershed Monitoring Committee provides quantifiable proof of the effectiveness of our livestock development environmental regulations and the stewardship of our livestock producers," Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Wartman said. "Our livestock producers are good stewards of the environment and the report confirms this fact. Growing Saskatchewan's livestock industry is key to stimulating the province's rural economy. We are committed to ensuring that the development of rural Saskatchewan be done in a way that protects our environment and makes life better for all Saskatchewan families."

The study included odour monitoring by local residents and two specialists trained to detect and rate the intensity of odours. During two years of monitoring, local residents reported odour free conditions 98 per cent of the time. The committee sampled area soils to establish benchmark nutrient values prior to manure application. Soil testing indicated a general improvement in soil fertility and no evidence of increased risks to the environment. Water sites, including wells, dugout sites, reservoirs and run-off sites, were tested before and after liquid hog manure was injected into the land. Tests show no apparent additional stress on the quality of water within the Spirit Creek watershed.

The committee has also made recommendations to help ensure the environmental sustainability of the watershed environment. Upon further review of the report, government will consider the recommendations. Soil monitoring in the Spirit Creek area will continue, as recommended by the committee.

"This report's conclusions echo those of the interim report – namely that intensive livestock operations do not have to have a negative impact on the local environment," SCWMC chairperson Don Walters said. "Committee members appreciate the opportunity to address concerns regarding large scale hog production as it relates to the Good Spirit Lake watershed."

The SCWMC was established in 2000. It includes members of the public interested in the well-being of Good Spirit Lake and the Spirit Creek watershed environment. The SCWMC is the first committee of its kind in Canada and one of few groups to collect baseline data before an intensive livestock facility went into production. Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Saskatchewan Environment and Saskatchewan Watershed Authority provided resources for the SCWMC.

The SCWMC Five-Year Report is available at http://spiritcreek.ca/.


For More Information, Contact:

Donna Rehirchuk
Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 787-2359
Don Walters
Spirit Creek Watershed Monitoring Committee
Phone: (306) 783-4828

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