Recommended Dawson Creek LRMP


Executive Summary - June 1998

Overview
Planning Area Description
Process
Key Features of the Plan
Implementation
Summary Recommendations
I Plan Adoption
II Policy & Implementation Recommendations
Interpretation and Appeal

Executive Summary

Overview

The Dawson Creek Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) incorporates the principles of integrated resource management into a long-term plan for Crown land and resource development within the planning area, the Dawson Creek Forest District.

Many residents of this area value the economic opportunities provided by natural resource development, and the outdoor and wilderness recreation experiences that are readily available in this area. These two important values have been incorporated into the vision for the plan:

The vision of this planning process is to produce a land and resource management plan to:

  • serve as a land and resource use strategy for Crown lands within the planning area
  • provide guidance for the management and use of resources within the planning area based on the broad principles of sustainable development
  • be the result of a consensus-based planning process that directly involves stakeholders representing industry, interest groups, First Nations, the public, and government agencies

The Dawson Creek LRMP provides a stable strategic planning framework for resource development and ensures continued access to these natural resources outside of Protected Areas. At the same time, the plan incorporates the protection of environmental and recreation resource values through the development and implementation of objectives and strategies to manage and maintain these values over the planning area. After ratification and adoption by government, implementation of the plan should provide greater environmental and economic stability for residents and communities within the planning area.

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Planning Area Description

The planning area includes all Crown land within the Dawson Creek Forest District excluding the Kakwa Recreation Area. The planning area encompasses approximately 2.9 million hectares in northeastern British Columbia, and is bounded to the north by the Fort St. John Forest District, to the west by the Mackenzie Forest District, to the south by the Prince George Forest District, and to the east by Alberta.

The Dawson Creek planning area is unique in that it supports all of the major resource uses, with the exception of commercial fisheries, in B.C.

  • Oil and gas exploration and development have occurred throughout most of the planning area over the past few decades. The planning area contains the largest coal-bed methane resource in the province and is an important future energy source.
  • The mineral resources of the area are dominated by coal developments in the District Municipality of Tumbler Ridge. Significant potential exists in the western and southern portions of the planning area near the Rocky Mountains.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River creates Williston Lake, B.C. Hydro’s largest storage reservoir. Energy developments on the Peace River produce approximately one third of B.C. Hydro’s electrical energy.

  • Forest harvesting and management forms a major part of the current local economy with four major wood processing facilities using either deciduous or coniferous timber supplies.
  • The eastern and northeastern portions of the planning area are predominantly used for agriculture and have a high concentration of privately-held lands.
  • The historic Alaska Highway is a major tourism feature within the planning area.
  • Private and commercial outdoor recreation activities, including guide outfitting, occur throughout the planning area.
  • Nationally and internationally significant wildlife resources are an important feature of the planning area.
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Process

The Land and Resource Management Planning process is an integral part of the Province’s Land Use Strategy. This process differs from previous or other land use planning processes in that:

  • The general public and a wide selection of interest groups were invited and encouraged to participate in the planning process
  • The plan’s recommendations are an outcome of the deliberations of the Dawson Creek Planning Table (the Table) - private citizens, stakeholders (industrial sectors, environmental groups, local governments, etc.) aided by government agency representatives - who live, work, and have an interest in the way in which Crown lands and resources are managed in the planning area
  • The Dawson Creek LRMP process incorporated a sector model of consensus-based decision-making. The overall planning objective was to identify land and resource management issues and then develop consensus solutions and recommendations. General agreement was thus reached on all issues

The Dawson Creek LRMP is an organized set of recommendations for the management of Crown land and resources in the planning area. Recommendations include: General management directions, resource management zone boundaries, resource management zone objectives and strategies, proposed Protected Areas, and implementation. The overall resource management direction or regime for any area outside of proposed Protected Areas is defined by the General Management Direction plus any resource management zone and subzone level direction.

The Table has recommended measures for managing biodiversity, visual quality, cultural and natural heritage, First Nations values, and other values. In addition, this plan includes a comprehensive set of management objectives and strategies to address access concerns on Crown land.

Policy change recommendations have been included for those issues for which the Table wishes to send a strong message to government. Once approved by government, the entire plan or portions thereof will provide strategic direction to land and resource management planning, management and development for a period of ten years.

An important aspect of government approval is the way in which the LRMP fits within the strategic planning framework of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (FPC). Appropriate portions of the LRMP may be declared a Higher Level Plan under the FPC which will provide strategic direction for forest management activities and more detailed plans (i.e., Forest Development Plans, Range Use Plans, etc.).

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Key Features of the Plan

  • The planning area is divided into 12 resource management zones (RMZ’s) based on resource values, existing economic activity, environmentally important areas, and Agricultural Land Reserve boundaries. * Broad Provincial Land Use Categories are used to categorize each RMZ within the planning area according to its general management regime:
Agriculture/Settlement 13.1%
Enhanced Resource Development 21.8%
General Resource Management 44.8%
Special Management 12.9%
Protected Areas 6.75%
First Nations Reserves 0.17%.

Treaty 8 covers the planning area in entirety.

Industrial activity is permitted in all RMZ’s with the exception of the proposed Protected Areas. Although resource development and access may be limited or restricted in some RMZ’s, the plan provides appropriate strategic direction for more detailed planning to allow responsible resource development within the planning area.

  • Resource developers and users will be required to manage for environmental and conservation values using a range of management strategies.
  • Access management is critical to maintaining wildlife, recreation, wilderness and biodiversity values, especially in environmentally sensitive areas. This plan includes specific access management objectives and strategies to achieve the objectives for each RMZ.
  • Opportunities for agricultural expansion (including grazing) are a priority for areas identified as having significant agricultural potential. Appropriate strategies have been developed to achieve this objective.
  • The Table has recommended acceptable uses within proposed Protected Areas. Recommended acceptable uses include existing uses such as trapping, hunting, fishing, guide outfitting, and livestock grazing.
  • Directional drilling for petroleum and natural gas under some proposed Protected Areas is recommended as an allowable use, where it does not compromise other resource values.
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Implementation

Once approved by government, the plan will be generally implemented as follows:

  • The plan will guide land and resource development on Crown lands for a period of ten years.
  • Resource managers will incorporate appropriate strategic direction from the plan into more detailed strategic and operational plans. These plans may include a wide range of existing and improved regulatory processes including interagency planning, referral, and joint management provisions.
  • Resource management agencies will monitor the implementation of the
    plan to ensure that resource management objectives are met.
  • Public concerns regarding specific operational practices within the planning area will be directed to the appropriate resource management agency.
  • Government agencies will use information in the plan to guide budget deliberations, especially where resource inventory gaps have been identified.
  • An appropriate time frame, method and format will be developed to ensure that Table members and the public are informed of the plan’s progress. Special circumstances and/or scheduled update meetings may require that Table members are reconvened to try to resolve plan interpretation issues or any new issues.
  • Concerns or conflicts related to overlapping mandates of government agencies, or different interpretations of the plan by industry or one or more agencies, will first be forwarded to the line manager for clarification. The line manager may consult with the Interagency Planning Team (IPT) or the LRMP Table for clarification on major issues. Conflicts not resolved will be elevated to the Omineca-Peace Inter-Agency Management Committee (IAMC) for resolution.
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Summary Recommendations

I Plan Adoption

The Dawson Creek LRMP recommends that the B.C. Government:

  1. Approve the Dawson Creek LRMP document as general policy and guidance to strategic Crown land and resource management planning for the planning area
  2. Approve and adopt the areas recommended for Goal 1 and 2 Protected Area status (approximately 6.75% of the land base) as required under the Protected Areas Strategy (PAS)
  3. Declare appropriate portions of the Dawson Creek LRMP a Higher Level Plan under the FPC
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II Policy & Implementation Recommendations

The Dawson Creek LRMP recommends that the B.C. Government:

  1. Designate Crown lands within the Peace River/Boudreau Lake proposed Protected Area that have subsurface tenures, or are within the flood reserve, under the Environment and Land Use Act
  2. Consider timber harvesting within the flood reserve adjacent to the Peace River if government endorses the Site C project
  3. Consider advising B.C. Hydro to re-evaluate their hydro-electric development proposals on the Peace River prior to the onset of a future LRMP process within an eight year time frame
  4. Designate Crown lands within the Pine/LeMoray proposed Protected Area that are required for transportation and utility corridor maintenance under the Environment and Land Use Act (ELUA)
  5. Conduct a detailed spatial analysis of short-term timber supply within the Timber Harvesting Landbase to meet fibre-flow commitments
  6. Reach a settlement with the mineral tenure holder within the Wapiti proposed Protected Area to relinquish that portion of the tenure within the proposed Protected Area
  7. Involve the Dunne Za people and other First Nations as partners in future plan development and implementation for the Klin-se-za proposed Protected Area
  8. Allow grandparenting of existing oil and gas tenures under proposed Protected Areas
  9. Allow the sale of subsurface rights and drilling for petroleum resources (without surface access) in the Peace River/Boudreau Lake and Kiskatinaw River proposed Protected Areas
  10. Endorse the recommended principles for managing seismic activity and natural gas exploration and development activity within proposed Protected Areas
  11. Incorporate the various recommendations for management of Protected Areas into the Protected Area Management planning process
  12. Allow trapping as an acceptable use in Protected Areas, maintaining existing full rights
  13. Administer trapping tenures within Protected Areas through B.C. Environment
  14. Designate appropriate Crown land outside of Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) boundaries under the Forest Land Reserve (FLR)
  15. Coordinate the implementation of an Access Management Area for Twin Sisters RMZ through B.C. Environment
  16. Consider designating the Sukunka Lousewort Bog and the Pine River Dunes as Sensitive Areas under the FPC to protect locally significant resources
  17. Review the structure and mandate of the Peace River Problem Wildlife Advisory Committee
  18. Endorse the establishment of funding for the Dawson Creek LRMP planning area to meet the grazing objectives of the proposed plan
  19. Consider that the cost of infrastructure required to protect one or more resource values should not be borne by the tenure holder where a change in status quo resource use has been recommended
  20. Consider cost allowances to encourage the use of selection silviculture systems where ecologically appropriate but not currently economically feasible
  21. Consider a provision in the B.C. Ministry of Forests’ Appraisal System to allow for recognition of costs associated with road reclamation, rehabilitation, and/or recontouring when these activities are required by the Dawson Creek LRMP (Intent: Government to recognize that these activities increase operating costs to tenure holders)
  22. Consider a provision to allow for recognition of costs associated with road reclamation, rehabilitation, and/or recontouring when these activities are required by the Dawson Creek LRMP
  23. Confirm that the introduction and implementation of the Commercial Backcountry Recreation Policy shall fully consider non-commercial recreation in the adjudication of commercial backcountry proposals so that historic and traditional non-commercial recreational use is maintained
  24. Adopt a methodology for identifying and incorporating public/resource users’ interests into integrated resource management planning processes, including the development and testing of Visual Quality Objectives (VQO’s)
  25. Implement more effective and efficient processes for inter-agency coordinated planning and management, communication and consultation, regulation and administration, proactive program implementation, comprehensive dispute resolution, and resource inventory
  26. Consider directing resource managers to adopt a comprehensive public consultation process where access control gates that are required for reasons other than safety are a realistic and preferred option used to regulate access on Crown lands
  27. Consider the LRMP’s identified inventory and research needs as a high priority
  28. Endorse the LRMP’s proposed schedule for annual monitoring and biennial reporting
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Interpretation and Appeal

Where a concern is raised over land use objectives and strategies, the concern will be addressed directly to the affected agency(s). The responsible manager(s) will respond to the concern in writing. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the concern will be forwarded to the Omineca-Peace IAMC for resolution recommendations.

Where the public or agencies raise concerns with specific resource management practices that are occurring in the LRMP planning area, they will raise the issue directly with the affected agencies. Where there is an existing review or appeal process, the concern will be dealt with through it. Where there is not an existing appeal process, the local manager will respond to the affected party in writing. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the concern will be forwarded to the Omineca-Peace IAMC for resolution recommendations.

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Last Updated: 07/30/98