This is the Forest Practices Boardís final report on a special
investigation of a cutblock at Schwartzenberg Lagoon, near Seymour
Inlet in the mainland coast portion of the Port McNeill Forest
District. The block was harvested under timber licence T0127, held
by Lone Tree Logging Ltd.
While conducting an audit of the Port McNeill Small
Business Forest Enterprise Program in July 1998, Board staff flew
over the cutblock and observed two landslides, one of which had
entered an S3 class stream. Staff also noted that there was
extensive windthrow along the stream, the block appeared not to be
planted, and roadside slash piles had not been burned. Because the
cutblock was not part of the small business program, it could not be
examined within the audit.
The Board decided to conduct a special investigation
of the cutblock to determine:
- whether the slides resulted from non-compliance
with the Code
- compliance with the silviculture prescription
with respect to planting the site
- compliance with the Timber Harvesting
Practices Regulation requirement to dispose of slash
- government enforcement relating to the above
Because the block was approved in a forest
development plan in July 1994, prior to the Code, the windthrow
issue was not within the Boardís jurisdiction to investigate. The
other events have occurred since 1995 and are within the Boardís
The forest development plan for the licence was approved in July
1994. All roads were constructed by May 30, 1995. Ministry of
Forests records indicate that harvesting in the portion of the
licence area where the slides took place (cutblock 2) was completed
during the summer of 1995, after the Forest Practices Code came into
effect on June 15, 1995. Road deactivation took place to the
satisfaction of the Ministry of Forests by November 20, 1995.
Landslides in the area were first identified by
ministry staff and reported to the licensee in early October 1997.
The licensee submitted a slide report to the Ministry of Forests on
December 18, 1997.
The site was identified by the Boardís audit team in
July 1998. Board staff met with Ministry of Forests district staff
and visited the site on September 2-3, 1998. Preliminary findings
were provided to the ministry and the licensee, and Board staff
spoke by telephone with representatives of Lone Tree Logging
The outer region of the mainland coast, extending from Knight
Inlet to beyond the Burke Channel, is known for prevalent natural
slide occurrences during periods of high rainfall. Mean annual
precipitation, largely in the form of rainfall, throughout this
region is greater than 2500 mm per year. While conducting the site
visit, Board staff observed several major natural slides within one
kilometre of the site. The Ministry of Forests advised the Board
that there are approximately 100 slide events annually in the
district. Forestry activities can increase the risk of landslides in
In addition to the two slides initially observed by
the Ministry of Forests, a third slide has since occurred within the
cutblock. Two potential slope failures were also noted in an
adjacent cutblock which is part of the same timber licence and was
logged in 1996. The slides were open-slope failures and were not
directly related to road construction practices. However, such
occurrences were predicted or inferred by the silviculture
prescription and a terrain assessment, and timely planting was
prescribed to address slope stability concerns. Due to the passage
of time since harvesting, there is no evidence to say whether or not
the slides resulted from non-compliance with the Code.
The impact of the slides has been loss of growing
site and local siltation into the S3 stream. Much of the slide area
has eroded down to bedrock. It may be extremely difficult to
effectively regenerate these areas without rehabilitation. A
rehabilitation plan for the slides was requested by the ministry on
October 7, 1997. The licensee submitted a plan to the Ministry of
Forests on September 29, 1998. Rehabilitation has not yet
The approved silviculture prescription required
planting within two years of the completion of harvesting to hasten
green-up and also to address slope stability concerns. The block has
not been planted to date.
While on the site, it was noted that road
deactivation, involving the removal of a bridge over the S3 stream
on Spur 1, did not provide for adequate sediment erosion controls
and is resulting in sediment from embankments and ditchlines
entering the stream.
The approved silviculture prescription stated that
slash piles must be burned or disposed of by other means. A final
harvest inspection report for cutblock 2 required that the licensee
burn the roadside slash piles by December 31, 1996. On October 1,
1997 the Ministry of Forests wrote to the licensee requesting a burn
plan by October 15, 1997. The letter also outlined the penalties for
not disposing of the slash under section 10 of the Timber
Harvesting Practices Regulation.
The Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation
requires that, if slash is to be burned, it must be done by the
first burning season after harvest. Harvesting was completed in
1995, and the slash piles have not been burned to date.
The Ministry of Forests has advised the licensee of
its concerns on numerous occasions by letter, fax, and telephone.
However, formal enforcement actions or remediation orders have not
been implemented to date. The Board is aware that enforcement
efforts are ongoing, and the Ministry of Forests and the licensee
are currently discussing the situation. The Ministry of Environment,
Lands and Parks has advised the Board that it was not aware of the
The licensee has not met its obligations under the Code with
respect to planting the site and disposal of the slash piles. It is
difficult to say whether the slides resulted from non-compliance
with the Code. However, work is required to rehabilitate the slides
and prevent further sedimentation into the S3 stream.
If the slides are not rehabilitated, sedimentation
into the S3 stream will continue and there may be further loss of
growing site. The licensee may not be able to meet its regeneration
obligations under the Code, and may have to amend the silviculture
prescription as a result.
To date, the Ministry of Forestís enforcement
measures have not rectified the situation. However, enforcement
efforts are continuing and the licensee has now indicated a
willingness to complete its obligations. The licensee has submitted
a rehabilitation plan and a schedule for completing its Code
obligations to the Ministry of Forests district office.
- Lone Tree Logging Ltd. should complete all
outstanding Code obligations with respect to timber licence T0127
as soon as reasonably possible.
- Lone Tree Logging Ltd. should carry out its
commitment to rehabilitation, as approved by the Ministry of
Forests, to address sedimentation and loss of growing site.
- The Ministry of Forests and Lone Tree Logging
Ltd. should review the current sedimentation problem where Spur 1
crosses the S3 stream and implement any necessary sediment erosion
- The Ministry of Forests should ensure that Lone
Tree Logging Ltd. meets its obligations under the Code and
implement formal enforcement measures if the licensee continues to
fail to meet its obligations.
- The Ministry of Forests should take steps to
ensure the timely completion of Code obligations and the
implementation of preventive measures, such as timely planting, on
sites with a high risk of landslides.
In accordance with section 186 of the Code, the
Board requests that Lone Tree Logging and the Ministry of Forests
advise it by November 30, 1998 of the steps that have been or are
proposed to be taken to comply with these recommendations.
RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS
On November 27, 1998 the Forest Practices Board received a
letter from the Ministry of Forests in response to these
recommendations. The ministry advised the Board of the steps
that have been taken by Lone Tree Logging and the ministry to
address the recommendations in this report. The Board is
satisfied that appropriate steps have been taken to implement
outstanding Code requirements, address sedimentation problems,
and ensure adequate regeneration of the site. The matter is
Anyone wishing further information about this site should
contact the Port McNeill Forest District at (250) 956-5000.