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.

A government mapping error lead residents of Granite Bay (the complainants), on Quadra Island, to believe that the area across the bay from them was a park and would not be logged. When the Granite Bay residents discovered that the area could be logged they asked the district manager to establish a visual quality objective of retention so that any logging will be difficult to see. This letter reports the resolution of this complaint.

The Board received a complaint from two water users on McClure Creek, north of Kamloops, about increased sediment loading in the McClure Creek drainage following harvesting and road construction by International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor). The complainants were concerned that the activities have resulted in a buildup of sediment at their domestic water system’s dam and water intake.

The Board examined the licensee’s forest operations on the ground, and their planning activities at the cutblock and watershed level.

The Friends and Residents of the North Fork submitted a complaint that government was not adequately protecting the threatened Kettle-Granby grizzly bear population because it did not make road density targets a legal requirement. Research has shown that human activity on roads can negatively impact bear habitat.

The Board looked at government’s actions for the grizzly bear population and how two licensees manage roads in the area. It found that government had not completed planning initiatives for the bear population and concluded that government has not taken adequate action to address the road density situation. It also found that the licensees did not follow the road density targets because they were not a legal requirement. The Board made several recommendations to government.

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.

The Board received a complaint from a property owner concerned that Tolko Industries Ltd.’s road construction and harvesting caused sediment to enter Malakwa Creek and damage his water system. The complainant was also concerned that Tolko’s forestry activities damaged riparian areas and water courses.

Tolko adequately addressed the risks of its activities and acted quickly to review and address the complainant’s concerns. The Board concluded Tolko was compliant with the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation. However, the Board could not confirm to what extent various factors, or combinations of factors, played in plugging the complainant’s waterworks.

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 May 2016, Sierra Club BC submitted a complaint about logging practices in the East Creek Valley. This valley is just north of Mquqwin / Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park on northwest Vancouver Island. Sierra Club BC (the complainant) was concerned with a wide range of issues related to forest planning and practices.

The Board examined the licensee’s forest operations on the ground in the East Creek Valley, their planning activities relating to the operations, and whether the licensee provided adequate access to site plan information when requested by the complainant.

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.