At the Sept 29 Council meeting, representatives from Tolko, BC Timber Sales, Ntityix Resources and Gorman Bros, the companies that have licenses to log in our watershed made a presentation on their recent activities and on what they are planning to do over the next five years.
PWPA was very interested to hear what they had to say as it had been three years since their last presentation and a lot has happened since then. Most importantly, the 2018 Watershed Assessment was released. This is a report done by the logging companies own consultant to determine the levels of logging that can be carried out. It also included a large list of recommendations on how to work in the watershed to reduce sediment reaching our creeks and our soon to be opened water treatment plant.
In advance of the meeting, PWPA reached out to the Mayor and Council reminding them of the reports recommendations and asked them to query the licensees on their progress. Mayor Fortin and Councilors Condon did ask some of our questions and received some general answers, but it was not enough to answer our concerns.
The letter below is a follow up series of questions we sent directly to the Licensees looking for clarification. Our biggest concern is that while they may be following the recommendations in within the boundaries of their cut blocks, these areas are very small and would not address the larger issue of sediment making its way into our drinking water if the problems noted in the overall watershed were not addressed.
We have since learned from Ntityix Resources, the only licensee who has yet to respond to our letter that our concerns have merit, and that the larger watershed wide planning has not taken place. From our conversations, it appears that we will be receiving a full response to our detailed questions from the full group of licensees and the initiation of the Technical Working Group is about to commence.
Our letter below, and LINK to the Licencees’ Reply
Michael Bragg, Tolko
Dave Gill, Ntityx Resources
Colin Johnston, BC Timber Sales
Matt Scott, Gormanbros Lumber Ltd
Ray Crampton, District Manager, MFLNRO
Re: Update on Forest Licensees plans in the Peachland Watershed and aligning with the recommendations in the 2018 Watershed Assessment
We recently listened with interest to your joint presentation to the Mayor and Council of the District of Peachland. As you are aware, Peachland is building a new water treatment plant to treat our drinking water as almost every spring Peachland residents are required to boil the water as a result of sediment entering Peachland Creek. As the water treatment plant is to open in time for the 2021 freshet, we were hopeful to hear that the recommendations in the Watershed Assessment report for specific mitigation and mitigation planning have been addressed now that two years have passed since the report was released in order to safeguard our plant. However, the presentation left us with more questions than answers. As a consequence, we would like to have clarification on the following: (items in italics are taken directly from the Watershed Assessment Report)
- “As suggested at the February 26, 2018 forest licensee meeting with the District of Peachland an integrated list of water quality concerns should be developed by a watershed technical working group that can be used to develop surface erosion mitigation strategies to minimize water quality issues at the District of Peachland water intake. The integrated list could aid in identifying funding, responsibility and timelines for mitigation.”
In your presentation it was stated that work on establishing a Watershed Technical Working group has started, but it appeared that no meetings of this group have been held. We are concerned that licensees are beginning work in the watershed but have not developed the integrated list of water quality concerns as recommended and to be used in part to guide new work. We question whether any work in the field should commence without these key recommendations in place.
- “Numerous legacy issues associated with erosion and sediment delivery to Greata Creek and Peachland Creek were identified in this watershed. A plan to mitigate these issues should be developed.”
In your presentation, you mentioned you are dealing with legacy roads in areas that are being cut, but no mention was made of an overall strategy or plan for legacy road mitigation. Is there an overall plan for the watershed or is the work being undertaken ad hoc? Have the other agencies as noted in the report under this recommendation been contacted to begin this planning process?
- “Careful consideration should be given to the maintenance of healthy riparian areas that adequately buffer water courses from potential effects of forest development and other land uses.”
When asked by Mayor Fortin if you have stated minimums for riparian buffers it was reported that each of the licensees have standards that they work to. Is there an alignment of this standard between all licensees working in our watershed? Would all licensees agree to use the Ntityx Forestry standard they are developing for riparian buffers?
- “a list (refer to Section 4.3) of cut blocks and associated access roads were highlighted as requiring further on the ground assessment or planning to ensure increased surface erosion or delivery of sediment is minimized”
Of the list in Section 4.3, which cut blocks are currently planned to be developed in the next five years and has the ground work as noted in this recommendation been undertaken?
- Munroe FSR was noted in the presentation to be under application to be moved to Ministry responsibility. What does that mean with respect to the implementation of sediment mitigation which is recommended to be a priority – or has the work been completed?
- In 2017 a 120 m portion of Peachland Creek was relocated to the east of the valley bottom to prevent further undercutting of unstable slope situated below the Munro FSR. The banks of the relocated section of channel are currently exposed and are a source of sediment to Peachland Creek. The channel banks will likely stabilize with vegetation over time but are currently Peachland Creek Community Watershed Assessment Final (Revised) Report – November 5, 2018 27 considered a high surface erosion hazard since mineral soil is currently exposed that is directly connected to the stream channel. o High surface erosion potential (high erosion potential and high sediment delivery) o Recommendation: Channel banks should be stabilized with grass seed, vegetation and additional riprap. Has the work noted under this recommendation been completed?
We thank you in advance for your time and considered response.
Janice Liebe and Alison Moore
Co-chairs, Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance
cc: Mayor and Council, District of Peachland
Joe Mitchell, CAO, District of Peachland
Shawn Grundy, Chief Operations Officer, District of Peachland
Kevin Kreise, Chair BC Forest Practices Board
Doug Donaldson, Minister, FLNRO
The Peachland View
PWPA Board and Members