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Land Use Planning

Land Use Planning

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Land Use Planning

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  1. Land Use Planning • In our early planning years, the lack of a clear land use plan was a detriment. We kept getting roped into land use debates, which were not decisions that we could affect. • The CORE process and the 1995 KBLUP resolved most of the Protected Area vs. working forest issues. This was needed. • The next step needed to be strategic resource management planning at the landscape unit level. Instead, resources were squandered trying to resolve resource management issues at the land use (political) level. The 1997 KBLUP Implementation Strategy accomplished very little and has never been updated. The KB HLPO contained relatively little of substance, except for mountain caribou. • Other land use issues such as mountain caribou continue to surface as one-offs, which is very disruptive to the strategic and operational planning levels. Land Use plans need to be monitored and updated over time, but you need to keep these changes to a minimum.

  2. Planning Framework 1. Legislation and policy 2. Land Use Designations (ie. parks, working forest) 3. Resource Management Planning (landscape unit) 4. Operational Planning (ie. site plans) (Forest Stewardship Plans are really just detailed tenure documents which touch on all of the above levels)

  3. The Brundtland Report • The 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development was published in book form as “Our Common Future”. • The Commission looked at issues of environmental damage and economic development and concluded that the two were interdependent. • The worst cases of environmental damage were happening in poor countries which could not afford cleaner or more efficient technologies. • But environmental impacts were felt by all, including the rich. What was needed was “Sustainable Development.” • This may seem self-evident now, but there had been a strong sense that environmental protection and economic development were somehow mutually exclusive. • This prompted a great deal of healthy debate and discussion

  4. Spin-offs • In September 1987, Canada, an active participant in the World Commission on E &D, generated its own “Report of the National Task Force on Environment and Economy” which contained a commitment to “sustainable development”. • In 1989, the BC Task Force on Environment and Economy generated its own report: “Sustaining the Living Land”. In additional to the usual commitment to sustainable development, it recommended creation of cross-sectoral “Round Tables” at the provincial and local levels. The BC “Old Growth Strategy”, which was as much about public involvement as it was about old growth, was also generated in 1989. • Also in 1989, the BC Forest Resources Commission was created; it tabled its report “The Future of Our Forests” in April 1991 and recommended improved systems of public involvement . • The BC Round Table was created in 1990 and generated a number of publications on how to form your own Round Table. Kaslo gave it a try, and the West Arm Land Use Forum. The Creston Public Advisory Committee, created in 1977, sniffed in disdain at these upstarts who thought they were inventing something new. • Then, the BC Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE) was created in 1992, to generate land use plans for the Kootenays, Vancouver Island, and the Cariboo. The Commissioner (previously Ombudsman) Stephen Owen, undertook this using a Round Table format.

  5. The CORE years, 1992-1994 • CORE has been criticized for its unrealistic goals and failure to reach agreement amongst sectors, but it was a necessary attempt. • Perhaps the main benefit was that people were forced to realize the extent of the differing interests out there... • Especially within their own sector! • And just how difficult reaching consensus can be when dealing with politicians, dinosaurs, deep ecologists, and everything else.

  6. Lasca Creek – a stupid land use decision • CORE acknowledged the work of the Lasca Creek planning team. • Lasca Creek had limited water licensing, most THLB non-visible, primarily stable terrain, and one-third of its stands were lodgepole pine leading. • A last minute attempt to placate wilderness proponents resulted in Harrop-Procter being switched with Lasca Creek. • This came as a surprise to us planners, as well as to wilderness proponents who lived in Harrop...

  7. KBLUP - 1995 • Government made last-minute changes to the CORE recommendations, and issued the Kootenay-Boundary Land Use Plans in 1995. • This finally settled most of the Protected Area issues, which were foremost in most CORE participants’ minds. • The Working Forest designations were understood to be confirmed as part and parcel of the final land use decision on protected areas. We planners were not expected to debate the land use decisions, even if some of them were stupid. So, we went back to work with our various publics. At this time, the “Singing Forest” controversy launched Kootenay Lake staff into the forefront of landscape unit planning. • We established an interagency planning team with a crisp and pronounceable acronym (KLIPT) and got started. Shifting the planning focus to landscape units once the land use decisions had been made had been a fundamental assumption by planners and also by CORE. • Unfortunately CORE and KBLUP both mentioned things called “enhanced resource development zones” (ERDZ) and “special resource management zones” (SRMZ). Obvious questions were asked and government officials proceeded to spend millions of dollars in consulting fees and staff time trying to answer them.

  8. Meanwhile, hard at work in Kootenay Lake Forest District...

  9. KBLUP IS – 1995-1997 • Staff and funding resources continued to be focussed regionallywereyanked from District landscape-level initiatives to feed a new and much larger beast. • Years of debate and expenditures generated a lengthy document full of procedures, promises and wish lists. • Not to say that there were no benefits associated with the process – we did get our watershed contingency policy written into it - but its expense and inefficiency, and limited useful results, were apparent to all. • Especially when all the Districts in the old Nelson Region had been chafing at the bit to get started on the real stuff. • One of the main reasons for doing the KBLUP in the first place was to bring some certainty to the land use picture. That in itself would enable work to resume at the resource management/landscape unit level. Instead, an unending political debate perpetuated uncertainty and mistrust, and bankrupted our planning resources. And guess what? It’s still going on.

  10. Analysis By Paralysis • An amazing number of timber supply impact and environmental trend analyses were conducted in support of CORE, KBLUP, KBLUP IS, and the KB HLPO. • Reviewing these, and pointing out errors, was extremely time-consuming for District staff. • Plus, the timber supply impacts of the Forest Practices Code could not easily be distinguished from those of the KBLUP IS. • KL staff repeatedly pointed out potential timber supply impacts due to old growth and mountain caribou requirements. This was not always appreciated. • “Bad District! Bad! Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad!!!”

  11. A district’s perspective at the time...

  12. The Higher Level Plan Orders • After years of debate over “legality” of KBLUP IS, decision is made to legislate critical aspects of KBLUP IS. • The first Order came into effect January 31, 2001. There was much kafuffle, especially from the ILMA, and most mature forest requirements were removed in a second Order, October 26, 2002. • The KB HLP Order contained ten objectives, but only three were significant in KL – old/mature forest, caribou, and streamside management zones for licensed watersheds. • Old growth requirements were the same as the 1995 Biodiversity Guidebook, but only one-third required in Low BEO units. The watershed provisions had minimal timber impact. • Caribou was the big ticket item. – 10-12% THLB impact

  13. Other HLPO Objectives • There was provision for grizzly bear management, but this did not take effect until avalanche track mapping had been made available by MoE (still has not happened). • Connectivity requirements were not limiting once mature targets were reduced in 2002 and agreement was reached with MoE on how to evaluate this objective. • Some adjustments to green-up requirements, but not really relevant in Kootenay Lake since we were using the patch management system. • Enhanced resource development zones (ERDZ) largely meaningless. • Fire maintained ecosystems – not relevant in KL. • Visuals – no change from our existing scenic areas and VQC’s established by District Manager in 1999. And, apparently the HLPO establishment process was invalid due to some procedural screwup. • Objective 10 – forest economy – never followed up on.

  14. 2002 KB HLPO Amendments • 01 - increased caribou forest cover requirements within the Kuskanax Landscape Unit while reducing biodiversity requirements by an equal amount in the Wilson Landscape Unit (2003). • 02 – similar adjustment to mature and old requirements within Landscape Unit B-11 (2003). • 03 – allows salvage of timber affected by fires in 2003 (but neglected to include potential for salvage in subsequent years) (2003). • 04 – new mountain caribou habitat zones (2005). • 05 – allowed Tembec to harvest 30.6 ha of mountain pine beetle infested forest stands within mountain caribou habitat (2004). • 06 – allows harvest of old and mature stands which are greater than 50% lodgepole pine (2004). • 07 – re-aligned Biodiversity Emphasis Options (BEO) to revised BEC mapping in Cranbrook and Invermere (2005). • 08 – adjusts old and caribou targets within several Golden LU’s (2006). • 09 – removes caribou requirement, since new GAR Order takes precedence (2009).

  15. KL TSA Changes since 1994 • TSR 1 THLB (1994): 279,880 ha. • (1995) KBLUP New Protected Areas: 22,030 ha THLB • (1996-1999) 8 New Woodlots: 4,900 ha THLB • (1998) Midge Cr Wildlife Mgmt Area: 4,672 ha THLB • (2000) Harrop Community Forest: 5,890 ha THLB • (2001) KB HLP Order (caribou): 26,914 ha THLB • (2003) Unsalvaged Wildfire Losses 9,930 ha THLB • (2005) KB HLP Variance 04 (caribou): No significant change. • (2007) Kaslo and Creston Comm. Forests: 19,612 ha THLB • (2008) SARCO caribou proposal: 15,920 ha THLB • TOTAL CHANGES: 109,868 haTHLB (39.2% of TSR1 THLB)

  16. KootenayLake TSA 1994 Inoperable Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Operable Kokanee Glacier Park Private Land

  17. Kootenay Lake TSA 1998 Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Expansion Goat Range Park Kokanee Glacier Park Expansion Lockhart Park West Arm Park Kianuko Park Midge Creek Wildlife Management Area

  18. Kootenay Lake TSA 2007 Community Forests

  19. Kootenay Lake TSA 2008 SARCO proposal Note that approximately 60% of the THLB contained within the SARCO linework was previously constrained under the KB HLPO. Darkwoods

  20. February 7, 2007 Caribou Recovery Initiative: Considerations for the Kootenay Lake Timber Supply Area (TSA) Overview: The Kootenay Lake Forest District has a number of concerns with SARCO’s recommended options for recovery of caribou herds. While we are supportive of caribou conservation, we believe there are a number of potentially serious weaknesses in the recommended options which may preclude their success if implemented in their current form. We are also very concerned that social and economic impacts associated with these options have not been sufficiently investigated. Security of fibre supply is the single most important issue for local forest companies and mill owners. Existing caribou requirements reduce the mature Timber Harvesting Landbase (THLB) in the Kootenay Lake TSA by 9.5%. Under the SARCO proposal, we estimate this would increase to between 15.1% and 18.4%. Impacts vary by licensee operating area. The two most affected are Meadow Creek Cedar (11.4% under existing caribou requirements, and 35.9% under the SARCO proposal), and JH Huscroft (23.2% existing, 37.9% proposed). Concerns: • Ecosystem management: This initiative is intended to address recovery of mountain caribou as required by the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA). It is well recognized that ecosystem management based on the requirements of a single species is problematic (especially if you end up trying to manage for multiple species with different needs). SARA does recognize this fact, and provides for an ecosystem-based approach where appropriate, as this is likely to have optimal benefits for the most species. We believe that the first priority should be to address major questions around ecosystem dynamics, through a functional resource planning process, and then look at the needs of individual species within this context. • 2. Socio-Economic Impact: A full socio-economic analysis has not been done to date. Such an analysis would inform Government more completely of social and economic implications of a reduced AAC in the Kootenay Lake TSA. Initial analysis seems to be limited to calculation of compensation for lost cutting rights, which would underestimate the full social and economic implications. • 3. Ecosystem Dynamics: In our opinion, the science team report does not fully address the risks to caribou associated with global warming, forest health, fire ecology and significant wildfire. We are currently in the middle of a major mountain pine beetle infestation. Many infested/susceptible stands occur within caribou habitat and will suffer significant mortality. Given the restrictions proposed for forestry activities and related access it will not be possible to carry out forest health control and salvage programs. This will result in increased non recoverable losses and fuel buildup. The proposed strategies of restricting access development and deactivating roads will further limit our ability to react quickly and effectively to wildfire and lead to an increased risk of large catastrophic fire events in these areas.

  21. 4.Adaptive Management: Work has been done in the Williams Lake area on small size cutblocks and the effects on lichen production/habitat with some very positive results. Our concern is that total exclusion of harvesting in most caribou habitat zones eliminates the possibility of an adaptive management approach.5.Predator Control: The science team report indicates that the short term challenge to recovery is less about available habitat and food than it is about predator control (and primary prey control). Opposition to predator control is strong, but caribou recovery is unlikely without it.6.Mining Exploration Access: It appears that access for mining exploration will still be allowed in core habitat areas and this is inconsistent with the proposed restrictions on access for forest management. Mining access would create many of the same issues such as increased access for snowmobiles, ATVs, back country skiers and hikers, ungulates and predators. Key Recommendations: • Do not change existing habitat areas at this time, as other issues such as predation appear to be of greater concern in the short term. • Continue to monitor forest health agents (e.g. bark beetles) and natural events (e.g. wind throw, fire) and allow harvest of infested/damaged and susceptible timber within caribou habitat where an on-site analysis by a qualified resource professional shows intervention to be neutral or positive in terms of impact on caribou habitat. • Within existing caribou areas, defer harvest that is not specifically designed to protect habitat or salvage timber at risk • Initiate integrated, coordinated, resource management planning as a vehicle for implementing land use and policy decisions at a local (landscape unit) scale, for building consensus between local agency staff and directly affected stakeholders, and to promote ecologically-based adaptive management. • As part of the above initiative, develop local strategies to optimize caribou habitat and manage road access within individual landscape units. • Consider a mechanism for third party oversight or audit to ensure habitat conservation initiatives are transparent and perceived to be credible.

  22. Connectivity Issues • This was perhaps the most confusing issue to address over the years. • Forest Ecosystem Networks (FENS) were popular in the early 1990’s (and were mentioned in the Biodiversity Guidebook), but tended to reflect a static forest (riparian, inoperable and other constrained areas) rather than a dynamic ecosystem. • Much of the “connectivity” literature seemed more relevant to major land use changes and “island” habitat than it was to edges of a cutblock. • The “fragmentation” of interior forest habitat by dispersed uniform cutblocks was a more accurate term for the issue at hand. This was best addressed through a spatially explicit (and flexible) old growth strategy and introduction of a range of early seral patch sizes. • Any other known connectivity issues, such as wildlife travel routes or low elevation passes, could be addressed on a site specific basis through landscape unit planning. • The regional Connectivity Corridors were first identified in the 1997 KBLUP IS, then in both Higher Level Plan Orders. The Revelstoke Higher Level Plan Order, in 2005, did not contain any objective relative to the regional connectivity corridors. For good reason.

  23. Connectivity – spatial vs. aspatial • As with OGMAs, there were basically two choices. • Aspatial – within a LU/BEC, meet any mature forest requirement in connectivity corridors first. • Spatial – look at each landscape unit separately, identify all known connectivity and other resource issues, and make a defendable decision on mature forest deployment. • In KL, we did not want to impose unnecessary restrictions which reduce options for creation of large early seral patches. In our minds, that would be contrary to the intent of the connectivity objective, and we had interagency agreement that this was OK.

  24. HLPO/FRPA Interagency Meeting, July 18, 2006, Nelson (MoFR, MoE, ILMB)

  25. Landscape Unit Planning • Basic geographical units for planning or adapting to large-scale ecosystem processes. • Two fundamental components: old growth management areas, and early seral patch sizes. • The basic intent is, over an extended timeframe (250 years), to maintain a balance of seral stages and patch sizes within the landscape unit over time • These targets apply to BEC units within LU’s.