BCTS Winlaw Creek Harvesting Found Appropriate
VICTORIA – Timber harvesting in the Winlaw Creek watershed was appropriate and there is no evidence that it damaged the watershed, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
An August 2004 complaint by the Winlaw Watershed Committee alleged the BC Timber Sales program (BCTS) broke a commitment to consult with the complainant before logging in the watershed. The board also investigated whether BCTS’s logging plans included adequate precautionary measures, and whether the logging had a negative effect on water sources.
“The board found BCTS in full compliance with legal requirements and water resources were not damaged by forest practices,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “There was no evidence of a past or present commitment to consult the complainant before beginning logging activities on the cutblock.”
The investigation determined that BCTS used a 1999 watershed assessment to guide its replanting and regeneration strategy, in order to limit the impact of logging activities. Following a site visit, board staff found no evidence of any sediment or oil-based material in the stream, and no indication of negative impacts from burning waste lumber near the watershed.
“The complainant has legitimate concerns with preserving water quality in its local watershed. To address these concerns, a high level of two-way communication between licensees operating near watersheds and local user groups is required,” said Fraser. “In this case, while there had been good initial communication between BCTS and the complainant on the general management plan for the watershed, the process broke down due to shifting priorities and program changes.
“The board hopes that BCTS and the watershed committee can re-establish an effective public consultation process, and urges all parties to communicate proactively when activities are planned for their watersheds”.
BCTS is an independent organization within the B.C. Ministry of Forests, created to develop Crown timber for auction, establish market price, and capture the value of the asset for the public. BCTS replaced the former Small Business Forest Enterprise Program as of April 1, 2003.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the achievement of its intent. The board’s main roles under FRPA are:
- Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
- Auditing government enforcement of FRPA.
- Investigating public complaints.
- Undertaking special investigations of forestry issues.
- Participating in administrative appeals.
- Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
June 9, 2005