Audit of Prettys’ Timber Released by Forest Practices Board
VICTORIA – Prettys’ Timber’s operations in the Chilliwack Forest District complied with most requirements of the Forest Practices Code, according to a report released by the Forest Practices Board today. The exceptions are some forest practices near streams and practices to manage risks from timber blow down.
“Prettys’ timber harvesting operations generally complied with the Code,” said Board Chair, Keith Moore. “The company’s road construction and deactivation practices took place in steep terrain and were well implemented with a high level of compliance.”
In a number of instances, Prettys’ did not comply with Code requirements to identify and classify streams, and to leave the required trees and vegetation along some streams. The audit also found that the company did not always plan harvesting to avoid blow down of trees left in reserves or along the edge of cutblocks.
Prettys’ has advised the Board that it has already taken some steps to address the problems identified by the audit. The Board has recommended Prettys’ continue its improvements to operating procedures to ensure compliance with the Code in the future.
“Although the Board has seen significant improvements to protection of riparian areas since the Code was created, we have also identified similar problems associated with stream misclassification in other areas of the province, notably on the coast,” said Moore. Misclassification of streams can result in inadequate protection of riparian areas. Recommendations for improvements to stream classification were made to government and industry in the Board’s report on forest practices near coastal streams, released in June of this year.
The audit also identified two other issues that Prettys’ Timber is not responsible for under the Code: 1) deteriorating old roads in the operating area; and 2) inadequate maintenance of forest service roads. The old roads problem was also identified during an audit of Cattermole Timber, which is also located in the Chilliwack Forest District. That audit was released in January 1998.
The old roads are beginning to cause significant harm to the environment as a result of erosion and sediment being deposited into fish streams. Prettys’ is not responsible for the roads under the Code because it has not used them since the Code came into effect.
The Board advised the Chilliwack Forest District of the situation when the audit work was conducted. The district advised the Board that it agrees there are problems on these roads, but it does not have sufficient funding to address all the roads that are a problem in the district in the near future. There are a number of other roads that have been given higher priority for rehabilitation with the limited funds the district has available.
The Board feels these old roads are a significant problem in this area and will be advising the ministers of the significance of this problem.
The second issue involves inadequate maintenance of forest service roads that resulted in erosion and sedimentation of streams. This occurred because permits for the roads did not clearly state the maintenance responsibilities of government and Prettys’ Timber. Since the audit, the permits have been corrected to clearly define inspection and maintenance responsibilities. The Chilliwack Forest District is also considering measures to address the sedimentation and erosion problems identified.
The audit examined timber harvesting and construction, maintenance and deactivation of roads carried out between August 1996 and September 1997.
Created in 1995, the Board is BC’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices. The Board reports to the public and government about compliance with the Forest Practices 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.
December 17, 1998