As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2018 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Peace Natural Resource District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected five woodlot licenses near Fort St John for audit: W0604, W1780, W1781, W1950 and W2101. This report covers W2101.

W2101 is located approximately 120 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John and about 55 kilometres north of Hudson’s Hope.

The audit found that the licensees’ practices mostly complied with FRPA and the WA, but found a significant non-compliance for harvesting within a riparian reserve area.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2018 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Peace Natural Resource District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected five woodlot licenses near Fort St John for audit: W0604, W1780, W1781, W1950 and W2101. This report covers W0604, W1780, W1781 and W1950.

Two of the woodlots (W1780 and W1781) were affected by the Beaton Airport Road fire in 2016 and have had significant salvage harvesting.

The audit found that the licensees’ practices complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

In June 2018, the Board audited BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) forestry operations of the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area (TSA) portion of Peace-Liard Business Area. The audit includes those operations that took place over a two-year period starting in June 2016. The Dawson Creek TSA covers about 2.3 million hectares in Northeastern BC and the main communities within the TSA are Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, and Hudson’s Hope.

The audit found an area requiring improvement related to BCTS’s bridge maintenance, an unsound practice for two timber sale licence holders for excessive soil disturbance, and an area requiring improvement for timber sale licence holders for not completing hazard assessments. With the exception of these findings, 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.

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.