In September 2016 the Forest Practices Board audited the Little Prairie Community Forest Inc. in the Peace Forest District. The community forest is a cooperative venture between the District of Chetwynd, the Saulteau First Nation and West Moberly First Nation.

The community forest’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.

This was a full scope compliance audit with a two-year timeframe from September 1, 2014, and September 27, 2016.  Community Forest Agreement K2O is held by the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Corp.

The operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction, deactivation and maintenance, silviculture, or fire protection activities carried out by Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Corp. complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations. All activities were well done including harvesting fire interface areas adjacent to the town of Tumbler Ridge.

The Board conducted a limited scope compliance audit focusing on compliance with the Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation of three oil and gas companies operating under master licences to cut in the Lower Beatton Landscape Unit. Auditors examined fire hazard assessment and abatement activities for land clearing activities carried out by Venturion Oil Limited, ARC Resources Limited and Tervita between September 1, 2013, and September 23, 2015.

The audit found that Land clearing for all sites was well done, roads and pipelines were well constructed and fire hazard was abated in a timely and effective manner. However, licensees did not assess the fire hazard before they abated the hazard. Assessing fire hazard is a legal requirement and must be completed regardless of whether the hazard was abated. Consequently, the licensees are non-compliant with legislation but is not considered significant since fire hazards are being abated in an effective and timely manner. As a result, this is an area requiring improvement.

In August 2012, the Forest Practices Board (Board) conducted a full scope audit of forest planning and practices on Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor) Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 48 near Chetwynd in the Peace District.

This is the second time the Board has audited this TFL. The Board is pleased to see that Canfor is doing a good job meeting its forestry obligations and has met its legislative requirements. However, the Board is concerned about the tremendous increase in other resource extraction activities now taking place on this TFL.

This mix of developments is outside of Canfor’s control and is an issue for government to deal with, as discussed in our bulletin on cumulative effects management,1 but it is important for Canfor to be made aware of all of these other activities so it can continue to manage the TFL appropriately.AC

The Forest Practices Board has had growing concerns about the cumulative effects of resource use on the British Columbia (BC) land base for a number of years. In our work examining forest and range practices, it was often apparent that other activities were impacting the land and water; activities that were not regulated under the Forest and Range Practices Act.

The Board decided to undertake a cumulative effect assessment case study in the Kiskatinaw River watershed near Dawson Creek, looking specifically at effects of resource development on drinking water, soil and caribou habitat. The Board also reviewed current literature relevant to the subject of cumulative effects assessment. At the same time, the Board reviewed a project-specific cumulative effects assessment as part of the investigation of a public complaint about an independent power project. This summary report is about the learning gained from these separate but related processes.

Related Videos

Cumulative Effects Web Presentations
by Marvin Eng, FPB

The audit examined forestry, oil and gas, and range activities, specifically with respect to soil conservaton, water quality and associated planning, in the Kiskatinaw River watershed. This audit involved several licensees:

  • forestry – Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd.
  • oil and gas – Apache Canada (formerly BP Energy Canada Ltd.), Shell Canada Ltd. (formerly Duvernay Oil Corporation), and Encana Corporation
  • range – Bear Mountain Grazing Association, and three range tenures held by individuals

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.

The Ministry of Forests and Range (MFR) Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) program is responsible for promoting compliance with, and ensuring enforcement of, the province’s forest legislation. Conducting inspections to determine licensee compliance is a key activity of this program, and is the ministry’s primary source of information to assess compliance.

This investigation examines, at the district level, the number of compliance and enforcement (C&E) inspections completed in 2005 and 2006, and the range of alleged non-compliances identified in inspection reports for six forest districts: North Coast and Campbell River in the Coast Region; Skeena-Stikine and Fort Nelson in the Northern Interior Region; and Kamloops and Chilcotin in the Southern Interior Region.

BCTS and timber sales licence holders near Fort St. John have achieved full compliance for their operation under a Forest Practices Code pilot project. In the Fort St. John pilot project area, licensees commit to measurable targets for forest practices and are subject to regular third-party verification of compliance under the pilot regulation.

In January 2004, the Forest Practices Board initiated an investigation of bridge and major culvert inspection and maintenance practices on forest service roads (FSRs). This special investigation assessed Ministry of Forests’ compliance with the Forest Practices Code requirements to inspect, repair and maintain bridges and major culverts. The investigation, consisting of both office and site visits, was conducted in the winter and spring of 2004. The Board examined bridges and major culverts on FSRs in six forest districts: Sunshine Coast, North Coast, Peace, Headwaters (including both former Clearwater and Robson Valley districts), Central Cariboo, and Kootenay Lake.