Marbled murrelet habitat needed better protection

VICTORIA – A review panel has reversed a Ministry of Forests district manager’s approval of a cutblock in North Jervis Inlet that contains valuable marbled murrelet habitat after an appeal of the decision by the Forest Practices Board.

Following a request from the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association in August, the board asked the review panel to overturn the approval of Interfor’s 2001-2005 forest development plan because it did not adequately manage and conserve marbled murrelet nesting habitat. The board is concerned that one particular cutblock, Block N1, is in an area where marbled murrelet habitat is severely depleted.

On Thursday, the review panel of three government officials supported the board’s appeal and overturned approval of Block N1 in the forest development plan. The review panel concluded that a flaw in preparing the forest development plan prevented them from being sure the marbled murrelet would be adequately managed and conserved in this cutblock, and part of the approval was overturned. The panel interpreted the code to mean forest development plans must provide enough information to show that forest resources that are particularly sensitive to logging—such as marbled murrelet—can be adequately managed and conserved regardless of whether they are specifically referred to in regulations.

“This case illustrates the continuing improvements in the Forest Practices Code,” said board chair Bill Cafferata. “The review panel found that the district manager did not apply the code correctly, and the review and appeal function within the code allowed us to seek a solution that would protect the habitat of a threatened species.”

The board can request that decisions made by government officials be examined by a review panel. The board acts as an advocate for the public in such a case, and puts forward a position on the matter. The board may also request a review of a decision by a forest district manager to approve a forest development plan if the board thinks the plan does not comply with the code. Members of the public can ask the board to request a review of a forest development plan approval.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog, established in 1995, that publishes reports about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent.
The board’s main roles under the Forest Practices Code are:

  • Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
  • Auditing government enforcement of the code.
  • Investigating public complaints.
  • Undertaking special investigations of code-related forestry issues.
  • Participating in administrative reviews and appeals.
  • Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

Bill Cafferata,Chair
Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

Jacqueline Waldorf
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 387-7964
1 800 994-5899

December 21, 2001