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.
In February, 2017, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from the Lhtako Dene First Nation asserting that planned harvesting in two landscape units by Tolko Industries Ltd. will impact moose populations and landscape-level biodiversity in their Traditional Territory. The Lhtako Dene also said that communication with Tolko has been difficult and that they did not receive landscape-level biodiversity assessments they requested from Tolko in a timely manner. After meeting with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Tolko, the Lhtako Dene say that communication has improved and they are satisfied that their complaint has been resolved.
In August 2016, the Board received a complaint asserting that a timber sale licence holder (TSL holder) under the BC Timber Sales program had removed portions of a fence on the complainant’s range agreement area, within the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District, to accommodate road access for timber harvesting. The complainant alleged that the actions of the TSL holder put their livestock at risk and that the TSL holder did not obtain the required authorizations from the district manager to remove portions of the fence.
In December 2016, the district manager issued a policy on implementation of section 51 of the Forest and Range Practices Act. The complainant is satisfied with the new district policy on range developments and with BC Timber Sales’ commitment to ensure the fence repairs meet ministry standards.
In October 2016 the Forest Practices Board audited non-replaceable forest licences (NRFL) A81942 and A84952, held by Norbord Inc. in the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District. The 100 Mile House Natural Resource District is located in south-central BC and includes the communities of 100 Mile House and Clinton.
Norbord’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. The audit noted an area for improvement with Norbord’s fire hazard assessment procedures.
A rancher in the south Cariboo was concerned that West Fraser Mills Ltd. did not mitigate impacts to a natural range barrier when it harvested mountain pine beetle-killed stands on the ranchers’ Crown range tenure.
The Forest and Range Practices Act requires forest licensees to propose and carry-out measures to mitigate loss or impacts to natural range barriers on Crown range tenures. In this case, substantial harvesting occurred across the tenure by multiple licensees. Impacts to some range barriers were mitigated but the parties disagreed on whether one natural range barrier had been impacted by harvesting.
The investigation examined whether West Fraser complied with the measures in its forest stewardship plan and whether any licensees or government considered the cumulative effect of salvage harvesting of mountain pine beetle-killed stands by multiple licensees on natural range barriers across this range tenure.
The Forest Practices Board conducted a full scope compliance audit of NRFL A76553 held by Pacific Bioenergy Timber Corp. (PBE) and NRFL A76729 held by RPP Holdings Inc. in the Quesnel District. The audit included all harvesting, roads, silviculture and protection activities, and associated planning, carried out between June 1, 2013, and June 23, 2015.
PBE and RPP operations are located about 100 kilometres west of Quesnel near the village of Nazko. Both licensees target lodgepole pine stands that have been killed or damaged by mountain pine beetle. During the two-year audit period, PBE harvested approximately 94 479 cubic metres and RPP harvested approximately 540 828 cubic metres.
With the exception of one opportunity for improvement for PBE, the operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction, maintenance and deactivation and fire protection activities carried out by the licensees complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
In September 2014, the Forest Practices Board audited range planning and practices on three licences for grazing and one for hay cutting, all located about 20 kilometers northeast of 100 Mile House, south of Canim Lake. The audit involved assessing compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act including the required content of range use plans and whether license holders met practice requirements such as protection of drinking water quality, riparian areas, fish habitat and upland areas.
The audit found that all four licensees had plans that met the required content. Grazing licensees ensured that minimum stubble heights and maximum browse utilization in its plans were not exceeded. Range practices provided for the protection of water quality, licensed waterworks, riparian areas, fish habitat and upland areas. Also, range developments were functional and maintained. The hay cutting licensee had not cut hay for the past several years and no issues were identified.
In October 2014, the Forest Practices Board (Board) conducted a full scope audit of forest planning and practices on Kenkeknem Forest Tenure Ltd. (Kenkeknem) in the 100 Mile District. Kenkeknem’s activities were located in the Drewry Lake and Canim Lake areas. This was a full scope compliance audit with a two-year timeframe. All harvesting, road, silviculture, and protection activities carried out between January 1, 2013, and October 7, 2014, were included in the audit.
In January 2013, the Tsq’escenemc people of the Canim Lake Band were issued a First Nations woodland licence (FNWL) N1I covering 21 400 hectares of land within their traditional territory. The allowable annual cut for this licence is approximately 20 000 cubic metres. The tenure is managed by Kenkeknem Forest Tenures Ltd. and is a Band-owned company established to house and manage all forest tenures and forestry obligations. Kenkeknem manages approximately 24 000 cubic metres of allowable annual cut, of which the majority is within the woodland licence.
The audit found that the planning and field activities undertaken by Kenkeknem Forest Tenure Ltd. complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations, as of October 2014.
As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Quesnel District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected forest licences (FLs) A65926 and A81934, held by Ndazkhot’en Forest Management Ltd. (NFM) and located in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area (TSA), for an audit.
NFM operates on two forest licences within the TSA. Forest Licence A65926 was issued on February 15, 2002, with a term of 15 years and FL A81934 was issued on January 1, 2008, with a term of 5 years. The licences have an allowable annual timber harvest volume of 70 000 cubic metres and 125 000 cubic metres respectively. Most of NFM’s operations are near the village of Nazko, approximately 100 kilometres west of Quesnel. During the two-year audit period, NFM harvested 441 000 cubic metres; 221 000 cubic metres from FL A65926 and 220 000 cubic metres from FL A89134. All harvesting was carried out using ground-based systems, and mountain pine beetle infested lodgepole pine accounted for 88 percent of the harvested volume.