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

Maple Ridge movie industry almost back to “normal”

City of Maple Ridge film production liaison “swamped with productions”

Ridge Meadows RCMP announce detachment’s biggest drug, weapons and cash bust

Five month investigation resulted in large fentanyl seizure

Pitt Meadows woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Residents treated for smoke inhalation after fire in Maple Ridge building

Fire took place in the 11800 block of Laity Street

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

BCSPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read