NEWSLETTER April 26, 2016

I am sending you pictures of the ongoing logging in the Interior Douglas fir zone, the most important wintering area for deer immediately adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands. Interfor and their contractors have completely ignored ungulate winter range management guidelines.

I am also including a letter that the Grand Forks Gazette decided not to print that outlines why the current logging in a critical ungulate winter range is not acceptable.

I have no proof that Interfor has violated current forest management guidelines but the pictures and letter describe why the wildlife resource in our province has a grim future if there are not immediate steps taken that guarantee critical wildlife areas be managed first and foremost for wildlife.

I did spend over an hour with Interfor Forester, Doug Noren in his office describing my concerns with current logging and road construction on Gilpin.

Is there merit in another Forest Practice Board complaint, after all last year’s complaint on the exceptional large clear cut in the lodge pole pine forest in the Dry Creek watershed 20km north of Highway #3 via Boundary Creek logging road is still ongoing? Is this delay connected to the Mike Morris Report “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia”?

The Mike Morris Report drafted August 2015 and released November 2015 would never have seen the light of day if Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Steve Thomson did not have the blessing of the BC Liberal Cabinet.

Getting The Balance Right is a new starting point for the many grievances that are jeopardizing the future of the province’s wildlife resource: “In order to make fully informed decisions respecting resource development the annual value and the compound value over time of wildlife and wildlife habitat in all forms needs to be considered. In addition all resource development initiatives should be put in context of their impacts on wildlife habitats”.

Two current political events offer some hope that reasoned thought will no longer be a complete stranger to wildlife management decisions.

NDP MLA, Katrine Conroy and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources , Steve Thomson are quoted in a Black Press article titled “BC Wildlife Management Overhaul Coming” that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette April 20.

As this article represents a small positive step I am sending it to you.

Katrine recommends a provincial wildlife advisory roundtable. Minister Thomson does not agree. Here is the link to Katrine’s presentation in the legislature –https://you.tu.be/WZsP7A5-_t4

A provincial roundtable is absolutely imperative to create a coalition of consumptive and non-consumptive users to pressure politicians to subscribe to the legions of recommendations that need to be implemented in reports on the shelves gathering dust in the Forest Practices board and Auditor General Offices.

If anyone capable of reasoned thought can read the political tea leaves correctly then it is easy to envision First Nations winning every court case in which they demand their fair share of a resource that has been ruthlessly exploited!

So my advice to the BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of BC, BC Trappers and all non-consumptive who value wildlife is to forthwith publically support a round table which will champion the 1982 Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada.

Barry Brandow Sr.

Open Letter to Interfor  April 27, 2016

The management of the Boundary Forest has no connection to forestry practices taught at our colleges and universities.

Interfor has gone down the well travelled road of embracing current forest management legislation that makes timber the central priority while the important forest values such as soil quality, biodiversity, wildlife and water are not adequately managed and protected.

The most recent example of logging practices contemptuous of the public interest is the current logging in the Douglas fir zone, the important area for wintering deer immediately adjacent to the Gilpin grasslands.

The Gilpin grassland south facing moderate to steep slopes and adjacent forest have been recognized as an important ecosystem by three provincial governments and two land conservancies have purchased 792 acres because of critical habitat for yellow, blue and red listed species.

The logging prescription Interfor was honor bound to follow is well described on page 52 of the July 2008 Draft Management Plan for the proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area.

“The direction from the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan assigned the Gilpin landscape unit an Intermediate Biodiversity Option citing the important ungulate winter range, red, and blue listed species and high ecosystem representation. Forest development plans must therefore place an emphasis on maintaining natural levels of biodiversity and minimize the risk of eliminating native species.”

D.J. Spalding in his 1968 “The Boundary Deer Herd” which is an easy read and can be found easily on the internet makes it very clear in his introduction, “The Boundary must be considered as one of the best mule and whitetail deer areas of the province”.

Spalding then highlights the importance of the interior Douglas fir zone by listing 13 shrub species critical to wintering mule and whitetail deer.

The Douglas fir zone immediately adjacent to the ponderosa pine grassland is the most critical area for wintering ungulates as it is an important refuge mid to late winter from deep snow and cold temperatures and provides adequate thermal cover with minimal snow cover allowing freedom of movement and access to feed.

Responsible logging practices demanded selective logging to open the forest canopy to facilitate the propagation of important shrub species critical to ungulates February-March the critical time in their yearly struggle to survive.

Instead the new bench mark for logging practices throughout the Boundary is large clear cuts especially so in the lodge pole pine forest, a few meaningless standing trees and large piles of wooly debris a major reason the moose and pine martin populations have crashed province wide.

Interfor also has a responsibility implicit in their mandate that allows them to log in sensitive important areas for wildlife to co-operate in ensuring that there is no increased motor vehicle access.

The first Coordinated  Resource Management Plan November 2, 1976 for the Overton-Moody range unit now known as the Gilpin Grasslands states under the list of major problems “Unmanaged access and uncontrolled ATV use have resulted in soil erosion, spread of weeds, wildlife harassment, stock harassment and forage destruction”.

In a News Release dated Feb. 20, 1974 the following quote is a reminder of the consistent contempt by self serving stakeholders to trivialize the significance of the Gilpin as an important ecosystem for wintering deer that resulted in the 1972  1470 acre Boothman Ranch purchase for $190,000. “Deer winter and spring range is the prime use with carefully controlled logging, grazing by cattle and some forms of recreation, public education and game and bird management being acceptable other uses of the unit.”

What is the measure of Minister Thomson’s message that appeared in a Black Press article titled “BC Wildlife Management Overhaul Coming” that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette April 20th  “Thomson acknowledged more needs to be done. He said an additional 12million dollars in his ministry budget this year is to support wildlife inventory and habitat improvement”.

Will there be an announcement that the ongoing logging by Interfor in the interior Douglas Fir Zone adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands will immediately subscribe to the minister’s former parliamentary secretary, Mike Morris’ recommendation that appeared in his August 15, 2015 Report titled “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia” “Simply put, new strategies are required to support impacted wildlife populations and the needed habitat to allow species to recover.”

Interfor-Please listen to the better angles of your corporate board nature and respect important wildlife areas.

Barry Brandow

 

 

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