Dan Denesiuk, A.Ag.
Areas of Practice and Expertise
I recently began working as a Range Agrologist with the MFLNRO Range Program in Vernon and have already become very involved in ensuring effective range use planning on our crown land. I have taken a special interest in the South Okanagan Wildlife Management Area (SOWMA) near Oliver and Osoyoos. This area has very high ecological value, consisting of low-lying wetland areas and oxbows from the Okanagan River, and adjacent dry, sandy upland areas dominated by bunch grasses and antelope-brush. I am working on a report that documents grazing management in SOWMA, in conjunction the variety of other values derived from this unique landscape such as recreation, wildlife conservation and viticulture.
Over the past four years I’ve been working towards my Masters of Environmental Science degree at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). My research looks at innovative grazing practices in the BC Interior and how they can help ranchers both mitigate, and adapt to climate change. Throughout this study, I have been working closely with ranchers to understand historical and current management techniques, and relating them to the amount of carbon I find in the soil of their pastures.
Why did I choose this career?
I am passionate about environmentally sustainable land management and absolutely love the outdoors. I am very driven to better understand the world around us, from geomorphology and landforms to the interconnectedness of ecosystems as a whole. In my opinion, working in the field of natural resource management is the best way to work these passions into my long-term career goals.
Rangelands in particular deserve a lot of attention these days, for several reasons; for one, they provide resources such as timber and forage, but they also encompass many of our community watersheds, providing clean drinking water and key habitat for fish and wildlife. The proximity of these areas to communities also makes them at risk of being developed, or severely deteriorated from over-use.
Although rangelands areas are impacted by an array of different interest groups, public perception of livestock grazing often focuses on the potential negative impacts (resulting from mis-management). In reality, grazing not only provides valuable a valuable economic asset to our province, but is also one of the few land-uses conducive to preserving natural ecosystem structure and function under proper management. With effective communication and cooperation between the various user groups and their values, grazing can -and should- continue to be incorporated into the multiple-use directive of managing the BC’s crown resources.
Why did you become a member of BCIA?
In BC, obtaining a professional designation can be an important career step, as it binds you to industry standards of excellence and makes you accountable for the work you produce and decisions you make. That being said, I committed myself to becoming an Articling Agrologist (and eventually obtaining my P.Ag. status ) when I pursued employment with the Range Program at MFLNRO.
What do you do in a typical work day or week?
I don’t really have a ‘typical’ week, though I can expect anything from scanning and filing range use plans (RUPs) to wading through wetlands -trying to avoiding poison ivy and mosquitos- to assess the condition of range infrastructure and efficacy of grazing practices. As the summer progresses, I am beginning to focus more on RUP effectiveness monitoring, which includes assessment of range health, forage supply (and demand) and invasive species.
Share some interesting "perks" and / or experiences of your job.
I absolutely love the fieldwork, even if it means I have to walk through cactus patches and check myself for ticks at the end of the day! But when I’m at the office, I really appreciate the comradery and supportive team environment here at the Ministry office; everyone is very kind and helpful, and there are lots of events to support a safe and healthy workplace.