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.
During 2019, the Ministry completed consultation with the Lhtako Dene Nation and subsequently approved a six-month extension to the expired forest stewardship plan. The complaint was resolved because the Lhtako Dene Nation say they were consulted by the Ministry and believe the conditions attached to Tolko’s approved forest stewardship plan extension will help to ensure more effective management of landscape-level biodiversity and wildlife in their Traditional Territory.
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.
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.