As part of its 2019 compliance audit program, the Board selected three non-replaceable forest licences (NRFLs) in the Chilliwack Natural Resource District as a location for a full scope compliance audit. The licences include A75807, A79504 and A90380, held by Ts’elxweyeqw Forestry Limited Partnership, Leq’ A: Mel Forestry Limited Partnership, and Skwah First Nation, respectively.
The activities audited are located in the area around Chilliwack, near Chehalis, Wahleach and Chilliwack Lakes. Operations are located in the Chehalis, Chilliwack and Silverhope Landscape Units, where resource values include scenic areas, wildlife habitat for a variety of species, recreation areas, consumptive watersheds and culturally important areas. The licensees must meet objectives set by government for old growth management areas, scenic areas, wildlife, community watersheds and karst.
The activities for all of the licensees audited complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
The Forest Practices Board received a complaint that asserts that Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) did not adequately consider the impacts of forestry activities on a landslide into Wilson Creek. The complainant is concerned that SCCF did not conduct a geotechnical assessment of the landslide and that fine sediments from it will continue to be transported into Wilson Creek until the slope eventually stabilizes.
The Board found that the landslide was a natural event that occurred before any forestry activities took place. In addition, the licensee had completed a geotechnical assessment that identified the landslide, and also conducted several other hydrologic related assessments. It followed the recommendations in the assessments which are designed to mitigate the risk of sediment entering Wilson Creek. The Board also observed that the toe of the landslide is beginning to revegetate, which will further reduce the amount of sediment from the landslide deposited into Wilson Creek.
As part of its 2018 compliance audit program, the Board selected forest licence A19229 in the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District as a location for a full scope compliance audit. A&A Trading Ltd. holds the licence, but some silviculture obligations are the responsibility of the previous licensee, Terminal Forest Products Ltd.
The activities audited are located in the Sunshine Coast Timber Supply Area, which is characterized by rugged mountains, lakes and numerous inlets, creating operational challenges for the licensees. The area is ecologically complex, supporting a rich and diverse array of wildlife and ecosystems and is subject to government orders for old growth management areas, recreation sites and trails and visual quality objectives and notices for species at risk, including the marbled murrelet, northern goshawk and coastal tailed frog habitat.
All activities complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
Elphinstone Logging Focus, an environmental group on the Sunshine Coast, complained that cutblocks sold by BC Timber Sales would impact at-risk plant communities and affect the integrity of the ecosystem near Mt. Elphinstone Park.
The Board investigated and determined that the mature forest stands in the cutblocks contained plant communities listed by the BC Conservation Data Centre as being in peril, or of special concern. There are no government objectives protecting the plant communities and BCTS’s protocol for managing species at risk only includes plant communities found in old forest, not the mature forest stands in this area.
The Board made two recommendations to government and BCTS to address the situation.
In mid-October, the Forest Practices Board audited the forest activities of Lakeside Pacific Forest Products Ltd. Lakeside operates on both sides of Harrison Lake in the Chilliwack Natural Resource District.
This was a full scope compliance audit and all activities carried out between October 1, 2015, and October 18, 2017, complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
The Board received a complaint that BC Timber Sales (BCTS) in the Chilliwack area was not doing enough to remove competing vegetation on their recently planted cutblocks. The complainant was concerned that it could result in plantations growing poorly due to competition with brushy vegetation and that BCTS might not meet its legal obligations for reforestation.
The Board examined BCTS’s post-planting silvicultural practices on the ground and reviewed records of brushing activities. The investigation concluded that BCTS did reduce its brushing in the Chilliwack operating area between 2013 and 2016. The Board also concluded that BCTS is undertaking adequate measures to reduce competing brush and comply with its legal reforestation requirements.
In May 2016 the Forest Practices Board audited the activities of SN Forestry Operations Ltd.’s Forestry Licence to Cut A82551 in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District. SN Forestry is owned by the Squamish Nation, and the licence permits it to harvest 592 800 cubic metres of timber from within the boundaries of Tree Farm Licence 38.
The results were good – SN Forestry’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.
In July 2015, the Forest Practices Board audited the activities of Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’s forest licence A19201 in the Chilliwack resource district. Harvesting activity is spread out across the district with operations at Pitt Lake, Norrish Creek, west Harrison Lake, Sowaqua Creek (north of Hope) and Boston Bar. The Norrish Creek operating area was of particular interest to auditors as it provides drinking water to Abbotsford and Mission, and it is critical that forest practices and roads do not negatively impact water quality.
The audit found that Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’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.
As part of its 2014 compliance audit program, the Forest Practices Board randomly selected BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) activities in the Fraser timber supply area (TSA) for audit. The Fraser TSA is bounded by Bowen Island to the west, Manning Park to the east, Boston Bar to the north and the United States border to the south. The TSA includes the lower mainland and it is the most populated in the province.
The audit identified significant non-compliance with respect to BCTS’ planning for a cutblock beside the Hope Slide. The design of the block did not meet the established objectives for visual quality. The audit also identified an unsafe bridge and disturbance to a stream channel and stream bank by two timber sale licensees. These were also considered significant non-compliance. Finally, the audit identified unsound practices near streams by a timber sale licensee and noted that timber sale licensee fire preparedness could be improved.
The Forest Practices Board audited Lil’wat Forestry Ventures’ forest licence A83925 and Lil’wat Construction Enterprises’ non-replaceable forest licence A82250 in September 2014. The licensees operate in the Sea to Sky Resource District near the communities of Pemberton and Mt. Currie.
The audit found that the planning and field activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations, as of September 2014. The audit noted one area for improvement related to fire hazard assessment.