In August 2016, the Board received a complaint asserting that a timber sale licence holder (TSL holder) under the BC Timber Sales program had removed portions of a fence on the complainant’s range agreement area, within the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District, to accommodate road access for timber harvesting. The complainant alleged that the actions of the TSL holder put their livestock at risk and that the TSL holder did not obtain the required authorizations from the district manager to remove portions of the fence.

In December 2016, the district manager issued a policy on implementation of section 51 of the Forest and Range Practices Act. The complainant is satisfied with the new district policy on range developments and with BC Timber Sales’ commitment to ensure the fence repairs meet ministry standards.

In October 2016 the Forest Practices Board audited non-replaceable forest licences (NRFL) A81942 and A84952, held by Norbord Inc. in the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District. The 100 Mile House Natural Resource District is located in south-central BC and includes the communities of 100 Mile House and Clinton.

Norbord’s operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, and fire protection activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations. The audit noted an area for improvement with Norbord’s fire hazard assessment procedures.

A rancher in the south Cariboo was concerned that West Fraser Mills Ltd. did not mitigate impacts to a natural range barrier when it harvested mountain pine beetle-killed stands on the ranchers’ Crown range tenure.

The Forest and Range Practices Act requires forest licensees to propose and carry-out measures to mitigate loss or impacts to natural range barriers on Crown range tenures. In this case, substantial harvesting occurred across the tenure by multiple licensees. Impacts to some range barriers were mitigated but the parties disagreed on whether one natural range barrier had been impacted by harvesting.

The investigation examined whether West Fraser complied with the measures in its forest stewardship plan and whether any licensees or government considered the cumulative effect of salvage harvesting of mountain pine beetle-killed stands by multiple licensees on natural range barriers across this range tenure.

In September 2014, the Forest Practices Board audited range planning and practices on three licences for grazing and one for hay cutting, all located about 20 kilometers northeast of 100 Mile House, south of Canim Lake. The audit involved assessing compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act including the required content of range use plans and whether license holders met practice requirements such as protection of drinking water quality, riparian areas, fish habitat and upland areas.

The audit found that all four licensees had plans that met the required content. Grazing licensees ensured that minimum stubble heights and maximum browse utilization in its plans were not exceeded. Range practices provided for the protection of water quality, licensed waterworks, riparian areas, fish habitat and upland areas. Also, range developments were functional and maintained. The hay cutting licensee had not cut hay for the past several years and no issues were identified.

In October 2014, the Forest Practices Board (Board) conducted a full scope audit of forest planning and practices on Kenkeknem Forest Tenure Ltd. (Kenkeknem) in the 100 Mile District. Kenkeknem’s activities were located in the Drewry Lake and Canim Lake areas. This was a full scope compliance audit with a two-year timeframe. All harvesting, road, silviculture, and protection activities carried out between January 1, 2013, and October 7, 2014, were included in the audit.

In January 2013, the Tsq’escenemc people of the Canim Lake Band were issued a First Nations woodland licence (FNWL) N1I covering 21 400 hectares of land within their traditional territory. The allowable annual cut for this licence is approximately 20 000 cubic metres. The tenure is managed by Kenkeknem Forest Tenures Ltd. and is a Band-owned company established to house and manage all forest tenures and forestry obligations. Kenkeknem manages approximately 24 000 cubic metres of allowable annual cut, of which the majority is within the woodland licence.

The audit found that the planning and field activities undertaken by Kenkeknem Forest Tenure Ltd. complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations, as of October 2014.

This investigation identifies fire preparedness issues facing those subject to the Wildfire Act; determines if there are differences in fire preparedness between various groups (e.g., small versus large forest licensees, certified versus non-certified); and highlights fire preparedness practices in the interest of contributing to fire prevention.

In British Columbia, use of Crown range is regulated by the Range Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). The Range Act provides the authority to grant range agreements, including permits and licences. These agreements include things like the tenure area and the amount of forage that can be consumed by livestock on Crown land. Similar to the former Forest Practices Code, FRPA provides the necessary authority for government to manage the Crown land resource. This includes authority to require the agreement holder to prepare a range plan and follow practice requirements.

The investigation found that the current framework for range planning under FRPA is not working well for agreement holders, MFR range staff or for management of the range resource. First, there is widespread uncertainty about what the objectives for range mean and what is required to achieve them. Second, agreement holders are expected to write measurable and enforceable plans, yet may not have the necessary qualifications and experience to do so. Finally, the preparation and approval of RUPs is a time consuming and challenging task for agreement holders and the MFR, and it is not clear if range planning is achieving any measurable benefit in managing the range resource.

This investigation assesses the effect of recent range practices in maintaining the ability of upland grasslands to provide forage for livestock and habitat for threatened and endangered grassland species. The investigation is limited to open grasslands in the Interior Douglas Fir (IDF) Biogeoclimatic Zone in the south central portion of BC, because half the grasslands in BC occur in that zone.

Timber harvesting and road planning activities undertaken by Ainsworth Lumber Company Ltd. on pulp agreement #16 and West Fraser Mills Ltd. on forest licence A20001, in the 100 Mile House Forest District, complied with the forest practices legislation.

Operational planning; timber harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; silviculture; and fire protection undertaken by BCTS in the 100 Mile House Forest District complied with forest practices legislation. The audit identified one area of improvement—better management practices to address pine beetle epidemic, which is the major focus of the logging activity in this area.