Forest Practices Board Finds That Logging in Little Cayuse Creek Watershed Meets Code Requirements
Victoria – Today the Forest Practices Board released the results of its investigation into a complaint about logging in Little Cayuse Creek watershed, near Castlegar, BC.
A local resident was concerned about the impact that proposed logging would have on Little Cayuse Creek, which provides his domestic water supply. He complained to the Forest Practices Board because the district manager approved logging in the watershed without first completing the further studies recommended by a Code guidebook.
As a result of its investigation, the Board found that the district manager’s decision to allow logging in the watershed met Forest Practices Code requirements. The Board also found the district manager’s conclusion that the proposed logging activity would not affect water quality in Little Cayuse Creek was reasonable.
The Board further concluded that the district manager had access to enough reliable information upon which to base his decision. The proposed logging was consistent with the recommendations of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and a review by the Nelson Forest Region.
“The complainant’s concerns were understandable given the history of poor logging practices by various licensees in this watershed. He also did not get a full response to his questions from the district manager,” said Keith Moore, Chair of the Forest Practices Board. “However, after considering all of the evidence, the Board concluded that the approval of the two cutblocks in the watershed complied with Code requirements, and that the district manager’s decision was based on consideration of sufficient evidence.”
In 1996, Pope and Talbot Ltd., the current licensee, conducted an assessment following the Interior Watershed Assessment Procedure Guidebook to plan for future watershed restoration work. This assessment recommended that any subsequent logging activity should be preceded by further study to weigh the potential impact in this watershed.
As a result, the complainant asked for all logging to be deferred until these assessments were completed and operational plans were amended to incorporate the recommendations of the analysis. The district manager made the decision to approve logging in two cutblocks in the watershed without further study.
Little Cayuse Creek watershed covers 2650 hectares and drains into Lower Arrow Lake. Large scale, commercial logging of the watershed began in the 1960’s. Compared to today’s standards, the rate of cut was high and forest practices were poor. The effects of this are still apparent today.
Created in 1995, the Forest Practices Board is BC’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices. The Board provides British Columbians with objective and independent assessments of the state of forest planning and practices in the province, compliance with the Code, and the achievement of its intent. The Board’s main roles are: auditing forest practices, undertaking investigations in response to public complaints, undertaking special investigations of any Code related forestry issues, participating in administrative reviews and appeals and providing reports on Board activities, findings and recommendations.
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May 26, 1999