Enforcement of Forest Legislation Appropriate in Fort St. James District
VICTORIA – The Ministry of Forests and Range is enforcing forest practices legislation appropriately in the Fort St. James Forest District, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
“The Ministry of Forests and Range is doing a good job at enforcement in this district, and the minor concerns identified in the audit have since been corrected,” said board chair Bruce Fraser.
The board’s enforcement audit reported on a new Environment Ministry stewardship model, which relies on the Ministry of Forests and Range to enforce environmental standards on Crown forest lands. The Ministry of Environment will focus on setting standards and policy for licensees to follow, and the Forests Ministry to monitor, as well as providing assistance in the field on request.
“The board believes the proposed stewardship model will require Forests Ministry staff to have the proper training and local knowledge to identify threats to environmental values, such as wildlife habitat and water quality, which are under the Ministry of Environment’s mandate,” said Fraser.
The audit covered enforcement activities in the district from Sept. 1, 2003, to Sept. 17, 2004. The board found a high level of compliance with forest practices legislation by the district and licensees, and cases of non-compliance were dealt with promptly and appropriately.
The Ministry of Environment distributed guidelines for protecting wildlife in the district, specifically winter range guidelines for mountain caribou and mule deer; standard operating procedures for beaver dam removal; and best management practices for interior grizzly bear and Arctic grayling, to licensees and Forests Ministry staff.
The audit found the Ministry of Forests and Range conducted 602 inspections during the audit period, and requested field support from the Ministry of Environment in eight cases. The Environment Ministry responded to only three of those eight requests, and conducted no other inspections or investigations in the district during the audit period.
”The board expects a higher level of follow-up by Environment Ministry staff on requests for field support from the Ministry of Forests and Range,” said Fraser. “Future board enforcement audits will track whether ministries are living up to their obligations under the new stewardship model.”
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
October 13, 2005