Tag Archives: logging

NEWSLETTER January 10, 2017

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

  1. The cutblock contained 20.1 kilometers road with only one stream crossing.
  2. Interfor located the cutblock next to 6 other cutblocks creating a total aggregated harvest area of 580 hectares.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

https:/www.bcfpb.ca/reports-publications/reports/dry-creek-hydrology-and-wildlife-concerns-about-large-cutblock/

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:

http:/bcndpcaucus.ca/news/new-democrats-show-leadership-co

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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