Summary of meeting with Cooper Creek Cedar, FLNRO, RDCK, ADHOC Aug. 13th

finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.

SUMMARY of CCC/FLNRO/RDCK/ADHOCs Tuesday August 13 2019.

 

Attending:

Bill Kestell Woodlands Manager, Cooper Creek Cedar (CCC)
Mike Kit  Logging Supervisor, CCC 

Joel Hamilton Wildfire Mitigation Supervisor RDCK
Grant Walton Forest Resource Manager South East Fire Centre
Rik Valentine* Dave Putt*, Marlene Johnston*, Mary Davidson*
Absent: Greg Utzig*

 

After close to a year with no meetings, Cooper Creek Cedar and the ad hoc group have met twice this month. The first meeting, August 1st, 2019 was a frank discussion about fuel treatments, not logging. Funding was discussed as the group tried to get a handle on how logging at Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) could be designed to augment fire mitigation and forest adaptation to climate change. We asked CCC to post Lynn Betts’ summary of the June CCC/Public meeting online. The second meeting, August 13, 2019, was a discussion followed by a walk-through of the hillside. Wildlife habitat was a theme throughout. The following is a summary of the discussion.

The group met on the beach at Lost Ledge camp-ground to look at the Argenta to Salisbury face. Some clearly visible natural features lend themselves to a peak-to-lake fuel break. The most obvious is the patch of deciduous trees on the north side of Bulmers Creek. We discussed how it might be possible to provide a fuel treatment leading from the Johnson’s Landing road up to the bottom of this deciduous patch. Doing so would provide the bottom half of a lake to peak fuel break, and if roads are ever built in the A/B section the shaded fuel break could be continued above the deciduous patch.

A second idea was also explored, and that was to use the existing cut-blocks on Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) to develop another fuel break on the south side of Bulmers Creek. These two ideas should be seen as parts of one proposed plan. One purpose of the walk-about was to discover whether it is viable to thin the two higher and most recent blocks (logged about 2001) to create a better fuel break.

We explored ways of connecting these blocks to the older blocks nearer the base of the mountain via fuel treatments creating shaded fuel breaks to connect the older cut- blocks. Some of this area is within CCC’s proposed cutblocks. We also considered thinning the older cutblocks near the bottom of the slope, subject to funding. Habitat and forest health are considerations – the CCC wildlife assessment and forest health reports may change what fuel breaks are possible .

Discussion at the beach clarified that supplemental funding is required for the licensee to be able to provide the ‘extras’ that constitute long term reduction of fire hazards. They are willing to help with it if supplemental funding can be found. Competition for

 

funding is intense and funding sources are limited at the moment but the province may soon allot new money for work in Wildfire Urban Interface zones. The ad hoc talked of the need for a comprehensive landscape level risk reduction plan (Hamill to Fry) rather than planning ‘one at a time’, or ‘between drainages’. CCC prefers to focus on Bulmers/Salisbury in the short term. Access is a key component of being able to quickly action a fire and some options used elsewhere, like strategic helipads and paths to water sources, were mentioned.

In addition to funding, we discussed: old growth management areas (OGMAs), forest health, wildlife and habitat, various shaded fuel treatment types, community safety, current guidelines for fire mitigation and climate adaptation, and using proposed cutblocks to demonstrate different types of shaded fuel breaks.

The group drove up B/S road and walked down through the two large cutblocks that lie on the north-west brow of the hillside, visible from Lardeau. These are the most recently cable and heli-logged blocks, completed 2000-2002. They are nicely restocked and fairly open with some deciduous. No thinning is needed yet. They are partial fuel breaks right now, but over the next 15-20 years this function will disappear as the trees grow (adding fuel load) and the canopies close in. The lower cutblocks were logged in the mid nineties by horse and with a small skidder. They are thick stands with a good mix of drought resistant conifers and deciduous species. Thinning now would improve stand health and prolong their effectiveness as partial fire breaks. However, the young trees in the new stands are not yet large enough to make a commercial cut viable.

Cooper Creek Cedar is still collecting data on forest health, wildlife management and cruise data. Cruise data is necessary to plan shaded fuel breaks if these are going to happen. Until all outstanding reports are complete ‘planning’ consists of talking in general terms about what is both feasible and effective. The reports will be made public once they are completed. Cooper Creek Cedar indicated that they plan to submit a cutting permit application before the end of 2019 and begin logging at B/S in 2020.

Initial conversations, while speculative, are familiarizing the ad hoc group with the licensee’s goals and vice versa. There is a sense that the licensee is open to the possibilities of logging and doing post logging treatment in a way that reduces fire hazards but as a business they can only go so far. The best result in terms of fire mitigation depends on funding from outside sources. In general, prescriptions that lend themselves to fire mitigation and climate adaptation are being sought. The ad hoc group intends to explore funding sources.

The ad hoc group will be posting links with information on fuel treatments, shaded fuel breaks and current guidelines on the Argenta file share. Please

look for them there.

finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.