Skeena Sawmills audit finds planting issue

VICTORIA – Skeena Sawmills Ltd. is generally meeting the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act on its forestry tenures in the Kitimat area, but the audit found non-compliance related to planting of tree seedlings, according to a report.

The audit found five cutblocks where seedlings were planted outside the appropriate elevation range. Planting seedlings in the wrong location can potentially lower their overall survival and productivity. That is why B.C.’s chief  forester provides guidance on seed use.

“One of the main purposes of our audits is to encourage continuous improvement of forest practices,” said Kevin Kriese, chair of the Forest Practices Board. “Skeena has told us they learned a lot from the audit process, as the  audit highlighted the areas where they are managing their practices well and the areas where they have to improve in the future.”

The audited activities included harvesting timber, constructing and maintaining forestry roads, reforesting logged sites, wildfire protection and associated planning carried out between August 2016 and August 2018. During the two-year period, Skeena harvested 41 cutblocks, constructed 51 kilometres of road and maintained 448 kilometres of road, planted 18 cutblocks and abated fire hazards on 15 cutblocks.

Skeena’s operations on TFL 41 and forest licence A16885 are within 40 kilometres of Kitimat, between the Kitimat River in the north and Miskatla Inlet and Kildala Arm in the south. Operations for forest licence A16882 are just south of Meziadin Lake, along the Kinskuch River and Little Paw Creek. 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.