In September 2018, the Forest Practices Board audited the Small Scale Salvage program in the Cariboo Chilcotin Natural Resource District. Small scale salvage is the harvest of individual trees or small patches of dead or damaged timber.
During the one-year audit period, almost all small scale salvage activity in the district was aimed at addressing a Douglas-fir bark beetle infestation. A small amount of salvage harvesting involved fire-damaged timber.
26As part of its 2012 compliance audit program, the Forest Practices Board selected Amabilis Contracting Limited’s (Amabilis) non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A79575 for audit. Amabilis is part of the Pioneer Family Timber Partnership, based in Williams Lake.
Amabilis’ NRFL lies within the Williams Lake timber supply area (TSA), and nearby communities include Williams Lake, Horsefly and Likely. The terrain of the interior plateau is flat to rolling and the predominant tree species is lodgepole pine.
The Board conducted a full scope compliance audit, in which all harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities and associated planning done between June 1, 2010, and June 22, 2012, were included in the audit.
A rancher complained that, during the summers of 2009 and 2010, his ranch southwest of Williams Lake had run short of water. The complainant asserted that salvage logging upstream of the ranch had caused earlier, faster and greater runoff during spring, which removed water from the system, and ultimately led to summer water shortages. Mountain pine beetle attacked the pine-dominated watershed in the mid-2000s, killing much of the mature pine. Extensive salvage harvesting began in 2006.
The Board found that the reduced summer streamflows at the ranch were likely the result of depleted soil moisture and groundwater following a series of dry years, but salvage harvesting may have added to the problem by increasing the potential for accelerated runoff.
In 2011, a complainant experienced an unexpected loss of water and two floods. Concerned that his property, livelihood and the value of Twinflower Creek to his interests were at risk of harm from the cumulative effect of current weather, climate change, mountain pine beetle, and salvage harvesting, he contacted the Board to investigate.
The complainant expressed frustration that, under the framework of the Forest and Range Practices Act, it is the forest licensee that decides whether to proceed with forest activities on Crown land that could negatively affect values on which he depends, as well as his assets and livelihood.
This is the Board’s second investigation of a complaint about the effects of pine beetle salvage logging on this watershed.