This special investigation will assess if the mechanisms available under FRPA and associated IWMS guidance are adequate for maintaining species at risk habitat.  Northern Goshawk will be used as a case study to evaluate both legal and voluntary measures to maintain suitable habitat for Northern Goshawk and their prey on the coast and in the interior.

The Board received a complaint about harvesting a young stand of trees that had been treated to increase the volume and value of the trees. The complainant was concerned that harvesting this young stand may impact timber supply and was not consistent with good forest stewardship or sound ecological principles.

The Board believed that one stand alone is not significant, so it decided to carry out a special investigation looking at the practice of harvesting young stands across five coastal timber supply areas (TSAs): the Arrowsmith, Fraser, Soo, Strathcona and Sunshine Coast.

The investigation examined the extent of young stand harvesting and the amount of harvesting in treated stands.

This is the second part of the two part series looking at fish habitat in BC. This investigation will focus on how well fish habitat is conserved under FRPA.

More specifically, the purpose of part two is to evaluate:
1. licensees’ compliance with FRPA’s requirements to protect fish habitat; and,
2. whether, and to what extent, planning and practices by forest and range licensees are contributing to the protection of fish habitat at both the site and watershed levels in sample watersheds know to have significant fish values.

Part one was published in July 2018 as a Special Report.

The objective of this investigation 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.