An audit of Interfor Corporation’s (Interfor) Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 18 in the Thompson Rivers Natural Resource District found Interfor was non-compliant in some of its bridge maintenance, road construction and road maintenance.
All other forestry activities generally complied with the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, noted the Forest Practices Board (FPB) in news release issued June 1.
Interfor was found to have removed material from a riparian management area for use in road surfacing, even though other material sources were available nearby.
“The legislation prohibits the removal of material from a riparian management area during road construction unless the material is within the road prism, at a stream crossing or there is no other practicable option,” said Bruce Larson, vice-chair, Forest Practices Board. “None of these exceptions applied.”
According to FPB, auditors also found two undersized culverts with inadequate drainage, which were identified by Interfor prior to logging. Though potential drainage structure issues were noted, repairs were not made in a timely manner, causing the road surface to scour and sediment to be deposited in the adjacent fish stream. Licensees are required by law to ensure drainage systems of roads they are required to maintain are functional.
“Inadequate drainage can lead to issues with road stability, and sediment deposits can be very harmful to fish and other aquatic life,” Larson said.
One of the bridges inspected during the audit was found to have guardrails requiring repair. Subsequent to the board’s findings, Interfor repaired the guardrails, provided training and education about stream-crossing requirements to the road construction contractor, and created plans to replace the undersized culverts when conditions are suitable.
In addition to road and bridge construction, maintenance and deactivation, the audit examined Interfor’s planning, timber-harvesting, reforestation and wildfire-protection activities carried out in TFL 18 between July 1, 2020, and July 14, 2022.
Located in the southern Interior of B.C., TFL 18 covers approximately 75,000 hectares, extending from Taweel Provincial Park in the south to Mahood Lake and Wells Gray Provincial Park in the north. The community of Clearwater is located to the east of the TFL. The area audited is within the territory of the Simpcw First Nation and the Adams Lake, Canim Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and the appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.