Timber harvesting above the North Thompson River. (BC Forest Practices Board/Facebook)

BCTS audit finds issues in Clearwater including contamination of Oliver Creek

Site of the landslide contamination into Oliver Creek is east of Tum Tum Lake, northeast of Avola

BC Timber Sales is putting measures in place to protect the environment and public safety after a section of forest service road was shut down for contaminating Oliver Creek, an “important fish stream.”

The work follows an audit in the Clearwater Field Unit by the BC Forest Practices Board, which found timber sale licence holders didn’t ensure the section of road was safe for industrial use. Auditors also found several TSL holders required improvement in assessing fire hazards.

“The section of forest service road is unstable and has had several landslides that deposited sediment into Oliver Creek, which is an important fish stream,” Kevin Kriese, chair of Forest Practices Board, said in a media release. “Since the audit took place, the ministry has closed the road.”

Tyler Hooper, spokesman for the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said it is difficult to determine the effect of the landslides on the stream, as the slumps occurred during peak spring runoff conditions when the water is naturally turbid (or cloudy with sediment).

The site of the landslide is on the service road east of Tum Tum Lake, northeast of Avola.

Ditching and stabilization of the road have so far curtailed sediment runoff into the stream, and “there is no current or ongoing impact from the site on the stream,” he added.

Audits by the BC Forest Practices Board are conducted randomly from all the BCTS business areas in the province. Of the eight to 10 audits performed each year, two are for BCTS programs. The audit found BCTS complied with most of the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

Hooper said with exception of one non-compliance, the ministry is happy to see that “the good work being done throughout the area is recognized by the auditors.”

While the non-compliance concerns were related to a TSL holder and third-party actors, Hooper said the BCTS is working with both parties specifically, and TSL holders more broadly, to “increase awareness around their responsibilities regarding road maintenance and safety.”

He added BCTS is working with the Road Use Permit holder responsible for maintenance to ensure proper measures are put in place to protect the environment and public safety.

Over the past two years, timber sale licensees have harvested about 500,000 cubic metres from TSLs in the Clearwater, Avola, Blue River, Lempriere and Albreda areas.

An earlier version of this story didn’t have the exact location of the landslide.

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