Audit of Forest Planning and Practices: Western Forest Products Inc. – FL A19231
As part of its 2015 compliance audit program, the Forest Practices Board randomly selected the Forest Licence A19231, held by Western Forest Products Ltd. (WFP) in the Campbell River District, for audit. WFP’s operations are mainly located on Nootka Island, but also extend northward on Vancouver Island to the Zeballos area, with a few outlying areas north of Gold River. Limited access to Nootka Island creates operational challenges for WFP staff, so they contract Nootka Sound Timber Co. Ltd. to manage operations on the island.
The audit identified two notable practices; one is an electronic bridge ledger system and the other is a terrain risk management strategy. WFP kept a very detailed bridge ledger, recording and digitally linking construction, inspection and maintenance documents in one central, easy to follow location. This bridge database is the most user friendly, comprehensive collection of bridge information the Board has seen yet. In addition, WFP developed a terrain risk management strategy that informs and guides its forest road and harvesting activities. It was developed with terrain and hydrological expert assistance, and has been in use by the company since 2013. The Board has not seen this type of strategy elsewhere.
The audit also identified an area requiring improvement related to road construction and maintenance at a fish stream crossing. While constructing a road to access timber WFP installed a box culvert to cross a fish stream (S3). During construction, WFP placed angular rock on the stream banks to stabilize them and to provide a foundation for the culvert. The rock constricts the stream channel and could potentially accelerate stream flow and erode the channel when stream flow is high. A fish biologist assessed the potential impacts on fish and fish habitat and determined the constriction will likely have a minimal impact.