Although a portion of land containing a globally imperiled ecosystem in Nanoose Bay has been logged, the remainder of the parcel will be protected, at least until 2017.
“The rest of DL33 is saved, plus another 600 hectares, so it’s actually some good news finally in the forest,” said Kathy McMaster, who lives near the land and was involved in a lengthy battle to try and prevent it from being cut.
District Lot 33 (DL33) is a 65-hectare piece of Crown land containing endangered Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) forest of which there is only about 0.3 per cent remaining in B.C. A cutting license was issued to the Nanoose First Nations (Snaw-naw-as) — part of their rights entitlement agreements — in 2009 and they began logging in November, 2011.
The band has now finished logging but has not signed off on the area yet, McMaster said.
A Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) that includes the land in DL33 was set to expire last year, before the cutting license currently held by the Nanoose First Nations would expire.
McMaster said she started asking questions of B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS, a division within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), requesting to see the new amendment that would be made, with hopes of including in the document the sensitivity of the ecosystem. But when she got her hands on the amended plan she couldn’t believe it, she said.
“There was absolutely nothing concerning the CDF or DL33,” she said.
“Which, considering what’s happened in the last couple years, I kind of hit the roof.”
McMaster wrote a letter to BCTS requesting at least a codicil be added to the document noting the endangered ecoystem. She was pleasantly surprised when she discovered BCTS actually put the information in the body of the document and made a commitment (along with co-holders of the FSP) not to harvest any CDF in the areas covered by the FSP, about 600 hectares. The FSP expires in 2017.
“To me it’s a small victory but it’s still a victory,” said McMaster.
Erin Boelker, Planning Forester with BC Timber Sales said this was a voluntary commitment by BCTS and the co-holders of the East and Southwest Coast FSP: Otter Point Timber and Snaw-naw-as Forestry Services Ltd. The change was made after BCTS considered the public comments in the final FSP amendment submission, she said in an e-mail.
Calls to the Nanoose First Nations for comment were not returned.