Creston Valley Forest Corporation responds to board audit

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board today released the results of an audit of forest practices carried out by the Creston Valley Forest Corporation between June 2007 and June 2008 in the West Kootenay, near Creston.

Auditors examined planning, harvesting, road construction and road maintenance to verify whether the corporation followed the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, and related regulations. The corporation met most of its legal requirements, but the audit found more than 170 hectares of harvested area that hadn’t yet achieved their planned reforestation targets.

“The cutblocks audited are small and dispersed, consistent with the corporation’s ecosystem-based philosophy of forest management and its efforts to protect drinking water,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “However, meeting planned targets for regenerating harvested areas in a timely manner is a significant and critical milestone on the road to ensuring that an appropriate new forest will replace the previous stand.”

To address the board’s findings, the corporation has ordered trees for a 2009 spring planting. It also plans to develop new standards for regenerating harvested sites that reflect the natural fire history of the area and are compatible with efforts to reduce forest fire risk to the nearby community of Creston.

The area the board looked at contains five community watersheds, including Arrow Creek which supplies water to Creston and the Columbia Brewery. Twenty-six cutblocks, 4.2 kilometres of new road construction, 77 kilometres of road maintenance, and fire protection were all included in the audit.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.