Spring Runoff Predictions Bad News For Livestock Producers
If you have cattle and you live in the Moose Jaw area you had better start considering alternative feed, watering and pasturing options right away according to the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency.
“It is something to start looking at as far as grazing plans,” Patrick Boyle, spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency told MJ Independent when asked about the preliminary potential for Spring runoff in the Moose Jaw region and the potential impact on livestock producers.
Recently the Agency released its preliminary (February 1st) Spring Runoff Predictions and map and it shows the Moose Jaw region is predicted not to have problems with runoff this year unless there is significant precipitation between now and melting.
“The dry conditions in 2018 in some areas with no precipitation in the Fall and the land froze that way with tons of storage potential…leaves us predicting below normal to well below normal potential of runoff in the Moose Jaw region,” Boyle said.
“Any wetlands in the landscapes has lots of potential to take up any runoff,” he said.
Although runoff is not predicted to be a problem in the Moose Jaw region the Agency is calling for area cattle producers to start considering alternative grazing plans for their cattle as the dry conditions and lack of predicted snow melt may have a major impact.
The area just north of Moose Jaw is especially hardest hit when it comes to the predictions of runoff. The area just north of the city is expected to be well below normal in runoff predictions. Areas such as Chamberlain, Aylesbury, Craik are in the region with expected well below normal runoff. Areas towards Assiniboia are expected to see below normal runoff as of February 1st.
Boyle pointed out the area north of Moose Jaw, up towards Last Mountain Lake and Yorkton as areas of concern.
Snow cover is essential for protecting grazing lands and winter crops from damage and melting snows are likewise essential to get the grass growing in the Spring. Runoff not only dilutes but it also flushes out harmful elements from dugouts and other watering sources for livestock.
Asked if it was alarmist to issue and publish such a warning Boyle said it wasn’t and the Water Security Agency is set to start working with some communities in the province who get their water above ground as a precautionary measure in the next little while.
“We will be starting conversations with communities shortly,” he said.
Boyle does say there is a ray of hope and that is “with 8 to ten more weeks of Winter that could change” but it would take “pretty significant” and “well above normal” snowfall and other precipitation to change the preliminary prediction.
“It could happen assuming the normal going forward (is significant precipitation) but right now we are looking at below normal runoff (at Moose Jaw) and well below normal to the north”
With Spring melting and potential runoff a couple of months off Boyle said it is “not a problem area yet but it is best to get ahead of it.”