On 7 March 2022 Tracy Andrews and Kevin Kriese from the BC Forest Practices Board presented recommendations for protecting water in BC Watersheds. Their recommendations are based on a review of 38 audit and investigations conducted by the Forest Practices Board. The key take-home messages are summarized below, and four opportunities for action are identified. All images are from the webinar presentation.
- When water is not of value in forestry planning, then the public is not considered for input into how forests are managed.
- Removal of forest cover through harvesting results in increased snow on the ground. If that’s followed by heavy rain, the result is increased risk of flooding. We have the knowledge and opportunity to reduce risks if we act now.
- Forestry legislation in BC urgently requires modernization:
- Currently there is no legal requirement to consider the effects of forest management (logging) on water.
- The thresholds in the current legal framework are too low to prevent significant cumulative effects from logging.
- Only 9% of provincial land has water-related objectives to manage cumulative effects at a watershed level. For the remaining 91%, there is no legal requirement to manage risk to water or decide what level of risk is acceptable.
If you would like to listen to the full presentation and the question and answer session, here is the link to the full webinar
Opportunities for Provincial Action
- Improve public involvement by making water a core value in forest planning, including forest landscape planning.
- Manage cumulative effects of forest practices on water as a legal requirement in all watersheds.
- Improve regulation of forest practices that contribute sediment to streams.
- Reduce the impact of historical practices on water through a renewed program of watershed restoration.
Unique Status of South East Vancouver Island
The BC Forest Practice Board’s jurisdiction is public (crown) land and comes under the Forest and Range Practices Act. Vancouver Island is unique. In 1887 approximately 20% of Vancouver Island’s land mass, from Sooke to Sayward, was given to Robert Dunsmuir. This included the land, cash, all mineral rights and timber rights. To this day, the majority of that land is owned by private timber companies and comes under the Private Managed Forests Act. This Act requires the same urgent modernization and over-site. Citizens, communities and stewardship groups are urged to raise these issues with their provincial representatives.
To Take Individual Action, you are urged to provide input regarding the Watershed Security Strategy and Fund document at THIS LINK . The full Watershed Security Strategy and Fund document may be obtained HERE .
Contact Information for BC Forest Practices Board: