B.C. forests watchdog calls for further protection of fish-bearing streams

Recommended legislation targets “chronic problem” of logging road sediment in fish habitat

B.C.’s forestry watchdog is calling for legislation that will make the sector more accountable to a “chronic problem” of logging road sedimentation entering fish-bearing streams.

The Forest Practices Board recommended two amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) following a two-year case study of five B.C. watersheds. In its final report of a two-part special investigation, FPB noted most companies meet or exceed legal requirements to create riparian buffers – areas adjacent to streams that are critical for the protection of water quality and fish habitat — but this culture of good stewardship must now be broadened to include sediment runoff.

“A new culture for the management of sediment from roads into streams is needed!” the report reads. “Greater attention must be paid to sediment management in all phases of a road including design, construction, maintenance and deactivation. Government needs to set clear expectations in regulation to minimize sediment to protect fish habitat and water quality.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s backroad bridges being built better, forest watchdog says

Fish can adapt to periods of high sediment loads, as during the spring melt, but long-term studies show elevated levels caused by humans can be lethal. It is known to cover spawning beds and smother incubating eggs, starve fish of oxygen, cover feeding areas and change the general behaviour of fish.

FPB investigators examined fish passage and sediment at 200 sites over 133 kilometres of road, and a further 47 sites to evaluate the effects of tree harvesting on riparian buffers and channel condition. Of the 200 sites, 50 were identified as a sediment source, 37 of which were impacting or had the potential to impact fish habitat.

Of the five watersheds studied, the Ainslie, Owen and Pennask were found to be at high risk from sedimentation. The Woodjam is at moderate risk and the Memekay is listed as low.

B.C. rethinks tree planting after wildfires, beetles deplete forests

The board recommended priority actions to improve the protection of fish in the five case-study watersheds, and likely most other important watersheds across the province. The actions include watershed-scale planning, monitoring and implementation of erosion and sediment control at stream crossings during road design, construction, maintenance and deactivation.

The board’s suggested amendments to the FRPA would see enforceable requirements to minimize sediment entering streams, and updated guidance and standards for road construction and maintenance to clearly identify practices needed to minimize sediment contamination.

The FPB requested a response from the government by Nov. 1 this year.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tech mogul looks to grow Vernon’s presence in Okanagan wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in the city hillsides

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Car show a hit at Vernon retirement resort

GALLERY: No drooling over the classic cruisers parked at Parkwood Retirement Resort

GALLERY: Vernon painter captures beauty of Davison Orchards in new series

In a new painting, card series, artist Patricia Lawton was inspired by resident dog, Harlow

Drowning incidents increase in Okanagan as summer picks up

There are now 23 drownings in the province to date, with four from the Okanagan

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Most Read