This objective of this report is to assess whether an appropriate mix of tree species is
being maintained in the Interior Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone of southern BC and
implications for both timber and non-timber values if it is not.

This is a Board special investigation to determine whether the parties who construct resource roads on steep terrain are meeting legal requirements of FRPA and following professional standards of practice and the related guidelines of the professional regulatory bodies. Are the roads stable, safe for industrial and public use, constructed according to plan, and is the potential for damage to the environment being mitigated?

In 2015 and 2016 the Board reviewed construction of 26 steep road segments in five resource districts across the province. The investigation found that while most of the road segments had qualified registered professional involvement and met the legal requirements, only 10 followed all of the professional practice guidelines. The Board also found that 6 of the road segments were considered structurally unsafe, and that 5 of the 6 were constructed in a manner that did not reduce the likelihood of a landslide or ensure protection of the environment. None of these road segments involved a qualified professional in the road design or construction.

These findings reflect all sizes and types of forest licensees—there is no trend.

A special investigation examining whether government’s compliance and enforcement framework is appropriate, with a focus on the Forest and Range Practices Act and Wildfire Act.

The Board will report to the public on the results of this special investigation, addressing the structure and delivery of the Compliance and Enforcement program, after the completion of interviews, office work and analysis. The Board may make recommendations for improvement.

In April 2015, Board staff noticed logging near Port Alberni that appeared to exceed the government’s visual quality objectives for the area. After making some initial enquiries, the Board decided to investigate the issue—looking into compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act, the licensee’s consideration of visual impacts, and appropriateness of government’s enforcement.

The Board found issues with the licensee’s management and government’s enforcement of visual quality, and makes recommendations to the government and the Association of BC Forest Professionals.

The special investigation will determine if the roles and responsibilities of woodlot licensees, government and forest professionals in the Kootenay Lake TSA are clearly defined and understood, and are being carried out in a manner that ensures woodlot licensees are complying with forest practices legislation.

Mountain caribou are at risk in the southern two-thirds of British Columbia. The government has identified habitat loss as one of the key factors in the decline of the caribou population over the past few decades. It has made habitat protection, monitoring and adaptive management high priorities.

As part of its 2007 Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan the BC government issued nine ungulate winter range orders, covering more than two million hectares of Crown land, under the Government Actions Regulation of the Forest and Range Practices Act. These orders contain special restrictions for industrial and commercial recreational activities to protect mountain caribou habitat.

This special investigation examines whether timber removal by industrial and commercial recreational sectors complied with Ungulate Winter Range Order U-3-004, in the Blue River area and comments on the status of habitat monitoring and adaptive management.

The investigation showed that all sectors have complied with Ungulate Winter Range Order U-3-004, and the government continues to develop and implement effectiveness monitoring initiatives as a high priority, so it can adapt management measures, if necessary, to improve mountain caribou recovery efforts. The implementation of effectiveness monitoring work is still in the early stages and it’s not yet possible to say whether habitat protection measures will be meaningful for long term recovery of caribou herds.

When the Forest and Range Practices Act became law over a decade ago, forest stewardship plans (FSPs) replaced forest development plans as the key operational planning document. Government stated its expectations for FSPs, saying they would, among other things, contribute to innovation, effectiveness in compliance and enforcement actions, and effectiveness in public consultation. In 2006 the Board examined the content of initial FSPs and concluded that they were not well-suited for public review, content was sparse and enforceability of results and strategies was limited due to the way they were written.

In 2014 the Board decided to undertake another investigation of FSPs in BC to determine if they have improved since 2006. Specifically, the Board investigated these questions:

  • Are FSPs useful for public review and comment?
  • Are results, strategies and measures within FSPs measurable and enforceable?
  • Are results and strategies in approved FSPs consistent with government’s objectives?
  • Is innovation apparent in FSPs?
  • Are FSPs getting better?

This report contains the results of that examination and makes several recommendations to address key findings.

Fire has been a natural part of many ecosystems in BC. Lightning-caused fires periodically reduced the build-up of forest fuels, replaced older stands of trees and created a patchwork of different ages and forest types across the landscape. First Nations also used fire to create wildlife habitat, improve the growth of plants, and to protect settlements. But for the past century, humans have done a good job of excluding fire from the landscape and hazardous forest fuels have built up.

The 2003 fire season, and the Okanagan Mountain Park fire in particular, spurred BC into action. Since 2004, the provincial government, in cooperation with local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities and the First Nations Emergency Services Society have worked together to manage hazardous forest fuels around communities. Forest fire-fighters are increasingly being used to treat hazardous areas to protect communities and harvesting by the forest industry and ecosystem restoration activities have also had beneficial fuel management effects.

This report provides several ideas to get the conversation started, but the Board expects consultation with practitioners, local governments, First Nations, the Union of BC Municipalities, First Nations Emergency Services Society and others will be necessary.

This special investigation examined how well forest licensees plan and mitigate forestry impacts to timbered natural range barriers. Along with barriers such as steep gullies and large rivers, timbered range barriers are important because they help ensure cattle are contained within certain areas and do not graze where they are not supposed to. Forestry operations, including harvesting and road construction, can reduce the effectiveness of a timbered range barrier.

The investigation examined 10 case studies of range barrier mitigation on the ground and the commitments made in 56 operational plans (referred to as measures) to address forestry impacts to range barriers. In most of the case studies, the investigation found problems in how mitigation was planned and implemented. Most measures in operational plans were also deficient because, as written, they were not likely to lead to effective mitigation and were not verifiable. The investigation report includes three recommendations to improve how range barrier mitigation is planned and implemented.

One way the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and Wildfire Act (WA) are enforced is through the use of administrative penalties. Administrative penalties provide an efficient way to enforce legislation and promote compliance, if appropriately used. This investigation examined whether administrative penalties:

  • are timely;
  • remove any financial gain and reflect the statutory considerations such as the gravity and magnitude of the contravention; and
  • are made known, so as to promote compliance in the regulated community.

This report looks at penalty determinations made by government officials for contraventions of FRPA, WA and the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, during a five-year period from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2014.

The report makes several recommendations, including that government should establish a publicly-accessible, online database of all penalty determinations under FRPA and WA.