A professional biologist with black bear expertise submitted a complaint on April 8, 2019, asserting that black bear dens in large diameter, old trees are being lost to harvesting old growth forests on Vancouver Island. The complainant is concerned that the declining availability of large trees will eventually affect population numbers.

The Board concluded that there is uncertainty in terms of the population status of black bears on Vancouver Island.

On September 9, 2019, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from a resident of Kitwanga. The complainant is concerned that planned harvesting of BC Timber Sales (BCTS) timber sale license A52734 Block 001 will damage valuable mushroom habitat. The complaint considered BCTS’s legal obligations under the Forest and Range Practices Act and investigated whether public consultation was appropriate.

The Forest Practices Board determined that the approach taken by BCTS to manage pine mushroom habitat met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act. BCTS’s consultation efforts were also appropriate.

The Forest Practices Board received a complaint that asserted harvesting by Huu-ay-aht Forestry Limited Partnership near Bamfield was not consistent with the visual quality objective for the area and furthermore, that government enforcement was not appropriate. The complaint was resolved.

In May 2018, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint that asserted recent harvesting in a watershed had increased peak flows and in combination with inadequate road maintenance by Interfor and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) caused damage to Yates Creek, Yates Creek Road and his private property. The complaint was resolved.

In April 2019, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from a business owner and an environmental society (the complainants) who requested access to a hydrological assessment prepared for the Bastion Creek community watershed. The assessment was commissioned jointly for BC Timber Sales and Canoe Forest Products (the licensees).

In November 2017, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint about impacts to water quality in the Peachland and Trepanier community watersheds. The complainants asserted that forestry activities in the watersheds have negatively affected the quality of drinking water and increased the number of boil water advisory notices, resulted in stream bank erosion and caused a landslide off the Munroe Forest Service Road  (FSR) into Peachland Creek.

Forestry activities complied with the legal requirements. There are many developments and activities in these watersheds, in addition to forestry, that can impact the water resource and it was not possible to differentiate between forestry and non-forestry impacts. The investigation determined that forestry activities did not cause impacts on human health that could not be addressed through water treatment. The landslide on the Munroe FSR was not caused by forestry activities and licensees maintained natural drainage patterns and maintained forestry roads consistent with the FPPR.

In April 2018, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from the Lhtako Dene Nation alleging that Tolko (the forest licensee) did not follow through on commitments it made as part of the resolution of a previous complaint to the Board. The new complaint also said that the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development approved an extension to Tolko’s forest stewardship plan without consulting the Lhtako Dene Nation. Tolko requested another extension, but it was not approved.

In November 2017, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from a member of the public alleging that culverts at stream crossings on a section of forest road were removed and the channels filled with dirt, causing harm to fish and damage to fish habitat. The complaint also alleges that, despite reporting the situation to government’s compliance and enforcement program several days later, the issue was not investigated until he called back four months later to enquire about whether any action had been taken.

The Board found that damage to fish habitat had occurred and that natural surface drainage patterns were not maintained. The Board also found that government’s enforcement was not appropriate. Although government did investigate the situation, it did not fully consider several important factors, such as the presence of fish and subsequent damage to fish habitat.

In October 2018, the Board received a complaint from a member of the BC Wildfire Service team that managed the Shovel Lake wildfire, near Fraser Lake. The complainant alleged that logging debris and old, decked timber contributed to the severity and spread of the wildfire. The Board investigated whether licensees assessed and abated the fire hazard as required by the Wildfire Act.

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.