The Forest Practices Board received a complaint about compliance of planning and practices under the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order by British Columbia Timber Sales. The complainant identified cutblocks in the Naikoon landscape unit and was specifically concerned about sustainable stewardship of cedar, watershed level hydrological processes, and landscape level conservation of biodiversity. The complaint also provided the Board with opportunity to see how ecosystem based management on Haida Gwaii.
Board investigators field reviewed cutblocks identified by the complainant and found BCTS planning and practices in the Naikoon landscape unit for sustainable cedar management, watershed level hydrologic processes and landscape level biodiversity are compliant with requirements under the Order. As well, the Board found that implementation of the Order in the Naikoon LU is currently meeting the intent of ecosystem-based management, according to its underlying principles and the necessary requirements to address such a complicated resource challenge.
The Forest Practices Board received a complaint that alleged forestry activities by A&A Trading, Taan Forest, and BC Timber Sales in the Skidegate Landscape Unit (LU) on Haida Gwaii resulted in landslides, road failures and siltation of fish-bearing streams. In addition, the complainant believes that ecological representation targets for old forest in the Skidegate LU are not being met.
Board investigators field reviewed areas of concern and did not find any evidence that primary forest activities caused a landslide that had a material adverse effect, or that cutblocks and roads contributed sediment to fish bearing streams. The investigators observed that roads were well constructed and maintained.
The ecological representation targets for old forest are in a deficit, but licensees are implementing a recruitment strategy consistent with the legally binding Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order. Not all recruitment areas have been spatially defined, and the Board encourages the licensees and government to finalize the spatial identification of all recruitment polygons as soon as possible.
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.
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.
A landowner complained that Interfor Corporation (Interfor) was not maintaining its roads and caused landslides into Little Cayuse Creek where he gets his water. He also asserted that government was not adequately enforcing Interfor’s maintenance requirements.
The Board’s investigation determined that Interfor had not conducted adequate inspections to ensure no material adverse effect on forest resources so did not comply with the Forest and Range Practices Act road maintenance requirements. The investigation also found that government was not doing enough to determine if Interfor had complied with its road maintenance requirements.
The Board investigated a complaint about proposed harvesting around recreation sites at Thone and Williamson Lakes. The complainants were concerned that the cutblocks were too close to the campsites and lakes. They thought the harvesting posed and unacceptable risk to: the recreational experience of campers and anglers, public safety due windthrow, riparian ecosystems and water levels of the lakes and streams. Harvesting in recreation sites had been authorized by a recreation officer.
This investigation examined whether the planned harvest would comply with the legal requirements, whether the harvest adequately managed the risk to the elements the complainants were concerned about, if the recreation officer’s authorization of harvest was reasonable and if public consultation was appropriate.
The Valhalla Wilderness Association complained to the Board that forest practices undertaken by the Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR) near Summit Lake is impacting western toad habitat and causing direct mortality to the toads.
In its investigation, the Board considered current research being undertaken at Summit lake into the life cycle and habitat requirements of the western toad.
As there are no current legal requirements under the Forest and Range Practices Act to protect the toads, the Board looked into whether NACFOR and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations took reasonable steps to minimize harm to the toads during forestry operations.
The Board investigated a complaint from a community group about the potential visual impacts of a licensee’s planned logging near Lillooet. This area has visual quality objectives (VQOs), and the licensee’s forest stewardship plan contained results and strategies to meet these objectives. The complainant was concerned that planned logging would not meet the VQOs, and wondered why the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development would issue a permit and why their compliance and enforcement branch would not do something prior to logging.
In planning the logging, the licensee had completed visual simulations and was working with community members to be consistent with the VQOs. This report describes the community member’s concerns, efforts by the licensee and government, and results of these efforts after logging.
The Forest Practices Board received a complaint that alleged the visual section in ATCO Wood Products (ATCO) approved Forest Stewardship Plan is not compliant with Forest and Range Practices Act and is not enforceable. The complaint is not about any of ATCO’s field activities not meeting visual quality objectives (VQOs) after harvesting and road construction had occurred. VQOs reflect the desired level of visual quality after harvesting and road construction has occurred.
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.