As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2017 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Natural Resource District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected 11 woodlot licences near Burns Lake for audit: W0116, W0117, W0128, W0198, W0199, W1534, W1687, W1690, W1691, W2050 and W2065. This report explains what the Board audited and the findings for woodlots W1687, W1690 and W1691.

Burns Lake is surrounded by the Nechako Plateau’s low-rolling terrain and is forested with pine-dominated stands, where salvaging mountain pine beetle damaged timber has been a priority for several years. The government issued cut control exemptions or temporary cut uplifts to many of the woodlot licensees, providing them with the opportunity to salvage the damaged timber and regenerate young, thrifty stands.

The audit found that the licensees’ practices complied with FRPA and the WA, but also found that the licensees’ fire hazard assessment practices require improvement. While licensees are abating fire hazards as a standard practice, they cannot demonstrate that they have been diligent in assessing the hazard, which is a non-compliance with legislation.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2017 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Natural Resource District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected 11 woodlot licences near Burns Lake for audit: W0116, W0117, W0128, W0198, W0199, W1534, W1687, W1690, W1691, W2050 and W2065. This report explains what the Board audited and the findings for woodlot W2050.

Burns Lake is surrounded by the Nechako Plateau’s low-rolling terrain, forested with spruce and pine, where salvaging mountain pine beetle damaged timber has been a priority during the last several years. The government issued cut control exemptions or temporary cut uplifts to many of the woodlot licensees, providing them with the opportunity to salvage the damaged timber and regenerate young, thrifty stands.

The audit found that the licensee’s planning and practices complied with FRPA and the WA.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2014 compliance audit program, the BC Timber Sales (BCTS)  program and timber sale licence (TSL) holders in the Morice Timber Supply Area (TSA) portion of the BCTS Babine Business Area, in the Nadina District, was randomly selected for audit. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out by both BCTS and TSL holders over two years, commencing in July 2012.

The Morice TSA is situated on the western edge of British Columbia’s central interior plateau, extending from the most northerly tip of Babine Lake in the north to Ootsa and Whitesail Lakes in the south. During the two-year audit period, BCTS harvested about 667 000 cubic metres of timber, in accordance with their forest stewardship plan.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by BCTS and the TSL holders complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Resource District as the location for an audit. Within the district, the Board selected non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A72921, held by 639881 BC Ltd., owned by Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out between September 2011 and October 2013.

639881 BC Ltd. conducted its operations within a 50-kilometre radius of the community of Burns Lake. During the two-year audit period, the licensee harvested approximately 121 704 cubic metres of timber, primarily to salvage trees killed by mountain pine beetle.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by 639881 BC Ltd. complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, with one exception, a significant non-compliance related to the control of invasive plants.

The audit also found an unsound forest practice pertaining to soil disturbance and an area of improvement related to annual reporting to the government.

The audit found that fire protection activities undertaken by 639881 BC Ltd. failed to comply with the Wildfire Act and related regulations, and in particular with requirements to assess and abate fire hazards following harvesting.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Resource District as the location for an audit. Within the district, the Board selected non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A66762, held by Burns Lake Specialty Wood Ltd. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out between September 2011 and October 2013.

Burns Lake Specialty Wood conducted its operations within a 50-kilometre radius of the community of Burns Lake. During the two-year audit period, the licensee harvested approximately 90 682 cubic metres of timber, primarily to salvage trees killed by mountain pine beetle.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by Burns Lake Specialty Wood complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, with two exceptions:

  1. A significant non-compliance related to planting appropriate seedlings.
  2. A significant non-compliance related to the control of invasive plants.

The audit found that fire protection activities undertaken by Burns Lake Specialty Wood Ltd. failed to comply with the Wildfire Act and related regulations, and in particular with requirements to assess and abate fire hazards following harvesting.

In September 2011, the Board conducted a full-scope compliance audit of forest planning and practices on Babine Forest Products’ (BFP) Forest Licence A16823. This is the first time this forest licence has been audited by the Board. The audit assessed over 80 cutblocks and close to 300 kilometres of road activities and obligations, as well as operational planning, and found that BFP complied with the legislated requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, as well as the Lakes District Land and Resource Management Plan and the Lakes North Sustainable Resource Management Plan.

British Columbia is engulfed in a province-wide mountain pine beetle outbreak. Salvaging value from the dead pine trees is a government priority. To facilitate the salvage effort, government increased the allowable annual cut (AAC) by 80 percent in the three most severely affected timber supply areas; the Lakes, Prince George and Quesnel TSAs, which are also the study areas for this project.

The increased AAC led to concerns about the stewardship of non-timber values such as wildlife and biodiversity. To accommodate these concerns, the “timber uplift” (AAC increase) was to be accompanied by a “conservation uplift” (an increase in retention of mature forest structure in harvested areas).

An audit of the Burns Lake Community Forest in the Nadina Forest District has determined that the operation complied with forest practices legislation. The audit found generally good practices on the ground, but identified four cutblocks with excessive soil disturbance.

The special investigation compared reforestation efforts in the Quesnel, Nadina and Vanderhoof forest districts with the other forest districts in the Interior of B.C. The reforestation of areas most heavily affected by B.C.’s mountain pine beetle infestation is as prompt, or quicker, than in areas not affected, or affected to a lesser degree. An increase in mixed species planting, as opposed to pure pine plantations were reported along with good reforestation efforts in the three mountain pine beetle districts in these areas.

The Burns Lake Indian Band complied with forest practices legislation on non-replaceable forest licence A72919, while harvesting beetle infested stands located southeast of Burns Lake, in the Nadina Forest District. The band is focused on public awareness and is actively involved to promote Band’s harvest planning and practices among other forest users in this area.