Good audit results for two Okanagan community watersheds

VICTORIA – Results of an audit focused on forestry practices in two community watersheds, one near Penticton and one near Kelowna, were released today by the Forest Practices Board.

Auditors examined harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, protection, and associated planning carried out by Weyerhaeuser in the Penticton Creek community watershed, and by Tolko Industries Ltd. and FortisBC in the Mission Creek community watershed. Fieldwork took place from July 7 to 11, 2008. All three companies complied with requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.

“The FortisBC operation is unique in that it is the first time the board has looked at forestry activities involved in clearing a transmission line,” said board chair, Bruce Fraser. “These types of forest activities are authorized under the Forest Act, through a licence to cut. They do not require a forest stewardship plan, but they do have to meet the same practice requirements as a forest company would.”

The Penticton Creek community watershed, located above the city of Penticton on the east side of Okanagan Lake, is about 15,292 hectares. It supplies drinking water, which is treated, and agricultural water, which is diverted directly from the creek.

The Mission Creek watershed, also located on the east side of Okanagan Lake, is approximately 60,153 hectares in size and is the largest tributary watershed within the Okanagan basin, contributing approximately 40 per cent of the total water input into Okanagan Lake.

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: 250 356-1586 / 1 800 994-5899