Fish habitat well managed in Haida Gwaii tree farm licence

VICTORIA – An audit of tree farm licence 39, block 6, operated by Western Forest Products Inc., in the Haida Gwaii Forest District, found good forest practices and noted that, in particular, harvesting and road activities near fish habitat and riparian areas were well managed.

The audit was conducted in spring 2008, with a specific focus on fish streams and road crossings. During the audit, more than 140 cutblocks, 1,800 kilometres of roads, 450 bridges and operational planning were examined.

“The licensee has minimized impacts to fish and fish habitat by building new roads to high standards that prevent sedimentation in fish streams,” said board chair, Bruce Fraser. “Western used open bottom crossing structures for virtually all fish streams which ensures fish can pass through the crossing to access habitat. Tree farm licence 39, block 6 contains a large number of high-value fish streams, and the board commends Western on the measures it has taken to protect fish and fish habitat in this area-based licence.”

Prior to Western acquiring the TFL, activity in the area left a legacy of old road systems that are still affecting fish habitat. While maintenance of these roads is not an obligation of Western, the company is using Forest Investment Account funding to remediate and maintain some of them.

A tree farm licence is an area-based tenure that grants the licensee virtually exclusive rights to harvest timber. Western Forest Products has the largest tenure on the islands, with an annual cut for Block 6 of 510,000 cubic metres.

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.

More information can be obtained by contacting:

Helen Davies
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899