In June 2019, the Board audited BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) forestry operations in the Quesnel Natural Resource District portion of BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) Cariboo – Chilcotin Business Area. The audit was a full scope compliance audit that included those operations that took place over a one-year period starting in June 2018. During this period BCTS harvested about 450,000 cubic metres.
With respect to BCTS activities, the audit identified a significant non-compliance for not ensuring a road and three bridges were structurally sound and safe for industrial use; a significant non-compliance for not reporting silviculture activities; and an unsound practice due to inadequate record documents for constructed bridges.
The audit also identified a significant non-compliance for not having a water delivery system on two cutblocks; an unsound practice for not following the recommendations in a terrain field assessment; and an opportunity for improvement for not completing fire hazard assessments. All these findings are related to timber sale licensees’ activities.
With the exception of these findings, the audit found that 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 April 2018, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from the Lhtako Dene Nation alleging that Tolko (the forest licensee) did not follow through on commitments it made as part of the resolution of a previous complaint to the Board. The new complaint also said that the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development approved an extension to Tolko’s forest stewardship plan without consulting the Lhtako Dene Nation. Tolko requested another extension, but it was not approved.
Two trappers in the Nazko Area, near Quesnel complained to the Board that logging practices to salvage mountain pine beetle killed pine trees have removed fisher habitat on their trapline. They claim habitat loss will affect their livelihood and were concerned that salvage operations were not being managed to maintain fisher and other wildlife habitats.
The Board investigated planning and management by both government and licensees operating in the Nazko Area . The Board conducted site visits and analyzed logging activities. During the investigation the area also experienced widespread forest mortality from forest fires.
The Board found the complainants’ concerns were justified, government did not use the legal tools available to protect fisher habitat and did not monitor or follow up to check if guidance had been followed. Some licensees made attempts to retain habitat for fisher habitat, but the efforts were uncoordinated and ultimately insufficient given the extent of salvage harvesting.
In October 2017, the Board audited forestry operations on Tree Farm Licence 52 held by West Fraser Mills Ltd.(West Fraser) within the Quesnel Natural Resource District. This audit included harvesting, roads, silviculture, wildfire protection and associated planning that took place over a 16 month period starting in July 2016.
West Fraser’s activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.