Logging in Honna watershed concerns QC council

  • Apr. 7, 2008 7:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay-Harvesting timber in the Honna watershed is underway with more to come, prompting Queen Charlotte council to raise concerns about the potential for cumulative impacts. At a recent council meeting, Mayor Carol Kulesha discussed forestry activity in the Honna, an area that will become QC’s water source. She noted that Island Timberlands is currently logging and that Western Forest Products has received road permits in the area. She sent a letter to the Ministry of Forests stating the village’s concern and their desire to remain informed about the ongoing activity. One of her concerns is that runoff from the road and logging operations may impact the water source. WFP forester Garth Johnson says his company is building logging roads in the area, but they intend to do some road work to a section of the QC Main before they begin hauling wood from three cutblocks in the TFL 39 part of the watershed. They are also awaiting approval of cutting permits for these blocks. When approved, WFP will be hauling between the log sort in Queen Charlotte and kilometer 8.5 and within that section, the river is very close to the road. Mr. Johnson says he has met with the mayor before and his company has taken measures to ensure their work will not cause any problems. A hydrologist has looked at their plans and they intend to do some ditching, culvert work and resurfacing. Meanwhile, Island Timberlands is hauling logs off the private land in the watershed. Makenzie Leine, manager of sustainability and community affairs for the company, says Island Timberlands is operating on land that covers 17 percent of the watershed. She says they will harvest 66.3 ha within the watershed out of four different areas and 22 ha of that will be heli-logging with low ground impact. Ms Leine, who works out of Nanaimo, says her Island Timberland representatives intend to meet with QC Council but haven’t had the chance to travel here yet. She said they are not doing a watershed assessment but are following regulations related to water quality like those under the Private Management Forest Act, the Fisheries Act and the Drinking Water Protection Act. The company does priorize watershed assessments where they own a majority of the watershed. But here their private land only makes up 17 percent of the total watershed. She says in these situations, the company uses best practices from other watershed areas in their operations. Mr. Johnson says his three blocks will yield 50,000 cubic metres and make up 100 ha of the 1,925 ha WFP holds within the watershed. He estimates the Honna watershed is 2,068 ha. Island Timberland has 765 ha and 2,068 ha are in the Timber Supply Area.