Residents in the East Blackpool area near Clearwater were
concerned that forestry activities above their properties would
affect their domestic water supply. The properties are on a bench of
land above the North Thompson River. The East Blackpool area
contains several small separate drainages, including Lone Creek,
Modrall Creek, Rennie Creek, Bester Creek, McCarthy Creek, and Axel
Creek. The area falls under the Kamloops Land Resource Management
Plan (LRMP) that was approved by cabinet in 1995 and declared a
higher level plan in 1996. The LRMP establishes this area as a
"general resource management zone."
Several watershed assessments were completed for the area,
beginning in 1995. A committee was established that included
Weyerhaeuser (the licensee), Ministry of Forests district staff,
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks staff, and some residents
of the East Blackpool area (the complainants). The committee
developed guiding principles and recommendations for forestry
activities in the area in 1996. In early 1997, the district manager
and the licensee agreed to manage the area as if it were a community
watershed although it was not designated as such under the Forest
Practices Code of British Columbia Act and its related
regulations (the Code).
Water resources receive greater protection in community
watersheds because the Code imposes stricter requirements for
forestry and range activities. Code measures to protect community
watersheds are intended to prevent long-term change to background
water quality, quantity, and timing of flow. Apart from
participating in the public review and comment process for forest
development plans, there are no additional opportunities for the
public to review and comment on operational plans that fall within a
community watershed; however, water licensees can be represented on
watershed advisory committees to review watershed assessments.
In 1997, the complainants applied to the Ministry of Environment,
Lands and Parks for community watershed status for McCarthy and Axel
Creeks. The ministry is still considering the application.
Despite the commitment from the district manager and the licensee
to manage the area as if it were a community watershed, the
complainants believed that forest development plans were not
consistent with managing the area as a community watershed. A
complaint was filed with the Forest Practices Board in 1998. Several
of the complaint issues applied primarily to Cutting
Permit 129 (CP 129), the most recent proposal in the forest
development plan. Twelve cutblocks were proposed in the Axel Creek
area. The complainants made numerous assertions:
The road maintenance issue related to improper road
surfacing. During a field trip attended by Board staff and
participants in the complaint at the start of the investigation,
that issue was addressed to the complainants' satisfaction.
- The equivalent clear-cut area (ECA) 2 was too large for a
- Logging was planned on steep slopes and highly erodable soils.
- There was inadequate notice for review and comment.
- Cutblocks extended to the edge of fish-bearing streams.
- An access road for CP 129 was proposed to go through a rare
- Adjacency rules3 were being violated.
- Cutblocks exceeded the maximum 40-hectare size specified in
- Code standards for road maintenance were not being met.
Harvesting of CP 129 has begun and will continue through the
- The equivalent clearcut levels in the East Blackpool area were
consistent with recommendations in the Community Watershed
- Assessments for cutblocks that were proposed on potentially
unstable terrain complied with Code requirements. The results
indicated that in most of the cutblocks the proposed development
would not create a significant hazard for landslides or erosion of
material into streams. One cutblock was deleted and another was
deferred for further assessment.
- The opportunity for review and comment for the 1998 forest
development plan met Code requirements. Although there was no
additional notification and opportunity to review the 1998 plan,
the East Blackpool residents have been receiving additional
opportunities to review plans, and a meeting to be held during the
review and comment period has now been scheduled on an annual
basis. In the circumstances, the Board finds that the
complainants' opportunity to review and comment on the forest
development plans has been adequate.
- The access road for Cutting Permit 129 did not traverse a rare
ecosystem and a more suitable alternative road location was not
- The cutblocks for Cutting Permit 129 located adjacent to
streams complied with the riparian management practices required
for community watersheds.
- The cutblocks for Cutting Permit 129 complied with the Code
green-up and adjacency requirements.
- The cutblocks for Cutting Permit 129 complied with Code
requirements for maximum cutblock size and met the objective of
the Community Watershed Guidebook recommendations.
- Forest management proposed for Cutting Permit 129 within the
East Blackpool area is consistent with management practices
outlined in the Code for community watersheds.