The management of the BC Forest has been a contentious issue in a big way since the late eighties and consequently was a significant issue in the 1991 provincial election that resulted in the NDP defeating the Socred Government who had been in power since 1975.
Once again the BC Forest has been ruthlessly exploited by the timber companies and yet the anger of British Columbians to-day is muted. The print media has had few stories chronicling third world logging practices.
The recently released Forest Practices Board Report “Dry Creek-Hydrology and Wildlife Concerns About a Large Cutblock” is my small attempt to challenge BC logging practices.
Highlights of the Report
- The cutblock contained 20.1 kilometers road with only one stream crossing.
- Interfor located the cutblock next to 6 other cutblocks creating a total aggregated harvest area of 580 hectares.
- Interfor’s forest professional compared the cutblock with the area affected by fire that initiated the pine stand 80 years previous. He explained that this cutblock fits into this historical mosaic
-Forest fires leave plenty of debris which equals cover for wildlife and they certainly don’t leave 20KM of roads.
- The Board considered the area surrounding the cutblock and found that including a new 114 hectare cutblock proposed by Interfor the total aggregate harvested area in the young forest will be 1307 hectares.
- In the Board’s opinion Interfor met some but not all of the design requirements of Section 64 and is therefore not adequately planning for important biodiversity and habitat elements at the landscape level.
- Section 64 establishes 40 hectares as the maximum cutblock size in the Kootenay Boundary Forest Region. This limit does not apply where harvesting is to recover damaged Timber or sanitation treatments or is designed to be consistent with the structural characteristics and the temporal and spatial distribution of an opening that would result from a natural disturbance.
Section 64 of the Forest Act is extremely upsetting and is another reminder that since 1996 BC political leaders have abandoned the concept of Statutory Responsibility.
The “Moose Enhancement and Recovery Strategy” prepared for the Guide Outfitter Association of BC offers more insightful information on the sorry state of forest management especially Habitat Enhancement and Protection page 19-23.
The state of access management in B.C. is non-existent in any meaningful way and the problem is well described on pages 17-19 of the same report.
There is another report I recommend you read that showcases in depth the impacts of roads on Grizzly bear- “Protecting Granby Valley Grizzly Bears”- a report for the Friends and Residents of the North Fork by the Environmental Law center, University of Victoria June 2016
I also remind you that Cenovus Energy a Tar Sands player in North Alberta who will always have plenty of critics announced last spring that the company was making a 32 million dollar commitment over 10 years to reforest seismic lines and roads to help the caribou. Predators use roads like humans.
Is there a logging/lumber company in BC big enough to consider the public interest and likewise reforest logging roads adjacent to provincial parks and areas critical to wildlife with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees?
The meeting December 1st at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall with Katrine Conroy was attended by 35 rural British Columbians fed up with wildlife management, that point was made by the consensus on nine questions I asked the audience, seven to preface the meeting and two later.
I introduced Katrine Conroy who was the MLA for the Boundary 2005-2009 and reminded everyone that she represented her constituents, in other words getting a government response to questions or issues important to constituents via bureaucrats or ministers. BC Liberal MLA Linda Larson for South Okanagan/Boundary has been asked by the Rock Creek Club to attend meetings but has refused.
Katrine impressed me early in our journey when she endured a field trip on the Gilpin Grasslands when we were strangers. Much bigger than a field trip she left her mark as few politicians dare when she called out NDP Leader, Carol James.
New Democrats show leadership on conservation of fish and wildlife a two page report that introduces Katrine Conroy’s Sustainable Wildlife Management Act which would require science based objectives and peer review for habitat and wildlife management.
It would establish a roundtable to carry out collaborative planning with First Nations and stakeholder groups. Conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat will be a priority when planning for land and water use activities in British Columbia. It will ensure adequate funding goes toward the management of wildlife and habitat by establishing a special account.
Here is the link to the Sustainable Wildlife Management Act:
The two companion questions I asked to start the meeting made it clear that this was a group of hunters and concerned citizens with a moral compass disgusted with the sorry state of wildlife management in BC.
Do you believe the province of BC’s wildlife resource is a valuable asset and do you believe the province’s wildlife resource is more important than hunting, outfitting and trapping?-consensus- yes
Everyone agreed that the Boundary mule deer population has been in serious population decline since the mid nineties and also agreed that we should not be hunting the mule deer in the rut when he is vulnerable. It is a question of ethics.
Other than the questionable reasoning of Glen Miller one of the architectures of the Boundary deer count we had consensus on three whitetail questions. Everyone agreed that most whitetail deer seen in their journey is on or adjacent to private land. Likewise everyone agreed the rifle whitetail doe season has dramatically reduced the whitetail deer population and also agreed that the rifle and bow season is so long very few young bucks are recruited into the adult population.
The Boundary deer count is an issue because it is one of the four wildlife inventory tactics that or wildlife biologists have used (reliable field observations from a variety of sources) to conclude the province has an estimated whitetail population of 113,000- statistics dribble of the highest order.- Whitetailed Deer: A Review of the 2010 Provincially Co-Ordinated Hunting Regulation
The newsletter is already long so I will sign off and continue the story before the BC Liberal Government presents their budget Feb. 21, 2017. There is a political exercise in the BC Legislature Budget Estimates that takes place following the provincial budget and is an opportunity for members opposite to ask questions of each minister. The most important wildlife management question to ask the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson is to provide helicopter wildlife inventory counts and square those numbers with provincial wildlife population estimates.
Barry Brandow Sr.