The purpose of this special report is to identify key opportunities to improve the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). It is based on a review of Board recommendations from reports published since 2010 and the British Columbia government’s response to those recommendations.

In this report, the Board identifies five priority recommendations, discusses why they continue to be priorities in 2017, and describes the status of government’s implementation.

Monitoring and continuous improvement is a foundational piece in the BC results-based model of forest and range stewardship. The role of government’s Forest and Range Evaluation Program (FREP) is to monitor results on the ground to ensure planning and practices, as well as policy, are effective in meeting government objectives for sustainable forest and range management, as established in the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).

The Forest Practices Board evaluated FREP’s progress in implementing its effectiveness monitoring role in the FRPA framework, using FREP’s intended program outcomes as the evaluation criteria. This is a report on the Board’s findings.

This is a Board special investigation to determine whether the parties who construct resource roads on steep terrain are meeting legal requirements of FRPA and following professional standards of practice and the related guidelines of the professional regulatory bodies. Are the roads stable, safe for industrial and public use, constructed according to plan, and is the potential for damage to the environment being mitigated?

In 2015 and 2016 the Board reviewed construction of 26 steep road segments in five resource districts across the province. The investigation found that while most of the road segments had qualified registered professional involvement and met the legal requirements, only 10 followed all of the professional practice guidelines. The Board also found that 6 of the road segments were considered structurally unsafe, and that 5 of the 6 were constructed in a manner that did not reduce the likelihood of a landslide or ensure protection of the environment. None of these road segments involved a qualified professional in the road design or construction.

These findings reflect all sizes and types of forest licensees—there is no trend.

A special investigation examining whether government’s compliance and enforcement framework is appropriate, with a focus on the Forest and Range Practices Act and Wildfire Act.

The Board will report to the public on the results of this special investigation, addressing the structure and delivery of the Compliance and Enforcement program, after the completion of interviews, office work and analysis. The Board may make recommendations for improvement.

This bulletin explores why fire hazard assessment is important; recent Board audit findings; and provides some FAQs.

A fire hazard assessment considers the risk of a fire starting, the hazard associated with the industrial activity, the difficulty in controlling a fire and the potential threat to values.

The Forest Practices Board (Board) is British Columbia’s independent forest and range watchdog. On behalf of the public, it monitors and reports on forest and range practices on public land. One of the main ways it does this is through field-based compliance audits of forest and range licensees.

The purpose of this guide is to help licensees prepare for a Board range audit and discuss how to conduct their practices to avoid issues most commonly found in past audits. This guide answers some frequently asked questions and provides potential auditees with background information on the audit process.

This bulletin explores stewardship from a Forest Practices Board perspective. It is intended to foster discussion and promote stewardship of public forest and range resources.

The Forest Practices Board defines stewardship as ensuring responsible resource use today, while maintaining the health of the land for future generations.

Mountain caribou are at risk in the southern two-thirds of British Columbia. The government has identified habitat loss as one of the key factors in the decline of the caribou population over the past few decades. It has made habitat protection, monitoring and adaptive management high priorities.

As part of its 2007 Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan the BC government issued nine ungulate winter range orders, covering more than two million hectares of Crown land, under the Government Actions Regulation of the Forest and Range Practices Act. These orders contain special restrictions for industrial and commercial recreational activities to protect mountain caribou habitat.

This special investigation examines whether timber removal by industrial and commercial recreational sectors complied with Ungulate Winter Range Order U-3-004, in the Blue River area and comments on the status of habitat monitoring and adaptive management.

The investigation showed that all sectors have complied with Ungulate Winter Range Order U-3-004, and the government continues to develop and implement effectiveness monitoring initiatives as a high priority, so it can adapt management measures, if necessary, to improve mountain caribou recovery efforts. The implementation of effectiveness monitoring work is still in the early stages and it’s not yet possible to say whether habitat protection measures will be meaningful for long term recovery of caribou herds.

District managers for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are the government decision-makers who are “closest to the ground.” These are the government officials who review and approve resource development on public land.

In recent years, the Forest Practices Board has seen situations arise where forestry development was putting local environmental and community values at risk, yet district managers could do little to affect the development and protect the public interest.

This special report is intended to highlight issues that the Board has observed and to stimulate public discussion of potential solutions. The report is based on previously published Board reports, supplemented by interviews with district managers.

In June 2014, the Forest Practices Board decided on three strategic priorities to help guide its work over the next 3-5 years.