Spray Lake Sawmills
Mixed Use Forest Management Workshop (Follow-up)
Forest Harvest Plan – West Bragg Creek
July 10, 2013
SLS has made the promise that it will carefully consider public comment and follow-up with stakeholders with a response. SLS will also follow-up with stakeholders with any changes made to a plan or operation as a result of public input. As stated at the workshop we want to continue to try new approaches working with the public to create plans that satisfy a diverse mix of uses on the landscape.
Below, we have listed the comments received from stakeholders at the June 11th workshop and we have given them careful consideration. We have also provided a response to explain how we have addressed the comments.
After carefully considering workshop comments, we believe stakeholders want more opportunities to be involved earlier in the planning process. To accomplish this, SLS is proposing to pilot a 3 step, stakeholder collaborative harvest planning approach on the FMA as follows:
Step 1: SLS facilitates interested parties to develop preliminary harvest designs on a forest compartment basis using GIS, the Detailed Forest Management Plan and the General Development Plan. This will give stakeholders the opportunity to collaborate with SLS, prior to any field work or harvest plan submission to the government.
Step 2: If specific concerns are raised during step one, SLS will arrange a field tour with stakeholders to address specific concerns on the ground and make any needed mitigations etc. prior to any field work or harvest plan submission.
Step 3: SLS will follow-up with participants showing how the collaborative planning work was used to develop draft final harvest plans. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on the draft plans prior to harvest plan submission. SLS will then follow up with stakeholders and write the final harvest plan and submit it to the government.
If a collaborative planning approach like this, is of interest to you, and you would like to participate on the pilot and or provide comment, your input is appreciated by October 1, 2013.
Breakout Group #1 (Jason)
|Why not use selective logging or smaller cutblocks like they do in BC?||The forests found in Western Alberta are generally dry and cold and naturally prone to large stand replacing wildfires. SLS’s, FMA is a fire dominated ecosystem and lodgepole pine and white spruce are the dominate conifer tree species. In general, these species do not persist for long periods of time on the landscape and are not fire resistant. The establishment of young forest habitat, by way of timber harvests, having large openings with variable edges and variable retention levels are consistent with the FMA’s forest ecology and landscape patterns. The dominant species, lodgepole pine also requires full sunlight for growth and survival, which limits partial cutting options. From an aesthetic standpoint, in block tree retention strategies, may be used for softening visual impacts in visually sensitive areas. SLS has successfully used recreation trail buffer retention for this purpose in West Bragg Creek.|
|Better buffers are needed on ephemeral draws and intermittent streams.||SLS has recently updated its harvest policies related to ephemeral draw and wetland buffers. SLS will be discussing possible ground rule updates with the government. In reference to other forest management practices (including in BC), SLS has some of the largest stream buffer requirements in North America.|
|Does SLS review water management plans prepared for watershed protection?||Although there are no completed water management plans, SLS has historically worked with the Bow River Basin Council and other water quality groups concerning watershed management issues. SLS has recently volunteered to participate on the Bow River Basin Council Board and is very concerned with watershed management.|
|Should there be a process in place to consider the recommendations of these plans in the Operating Ground Rules (OGR’s)? How do we improve ground rules? Is there a process to review these rules with the provincial government?||There is a process for OGR updates and SLS is actively working with the government to keep OGR’S effective and up to date. When compared to other industries including municipal development, SLS has the highest stream protection regulations in the watershed. SLS is looking to continually improve its practices and individuals or organizations concerned with ground rule effectiveness may contact SLS anytime to share their specific concerns.|
|What about water quality monitoring?
What about cumulative effects? A cumulative impact assessment approach is needed to consider past logging activities and other land uses.
|In 2006, SLS organized a cumulative effects group to discuss options for developing a collaborative water quality monitoring program. The group included ENGO’s, oil and gas, and government interests. Unfortunately, an agreement was not reached on how to proceed with a joint program. SLS continues to be interested in a joint, cumulative impact water quality monitoring program. SLS has completed extensive water quality monitoring and watershed analysis (6 streams measured for 9 years). The sub watersheds studied had varying levels of use, ranging from virtually no activity (the control) to high use, including forestry, riparian grazing and heavy ATV, recreational use. This information is being summarized and will be incorporated into the second version of the stewardship report to be posted on our company website in August 2013.|
|Would like to see historic blocks on maps.
|SLS is currently creating a new map template to improve communicating the locations of our activities to stakeholders. This map will be posted on the SLS website soon.|
|Grazing was not mentioned at all during the presentation. Forestry takes away grass.
Fences need to be built and we have to build them. If forestry is done they should burn all the debris, clean everything up and don’t leave a mess. Grass seed all the roads.
There’s a huge impact on grazing. It’s disgusting. Prefers no logging, it’s ugly.
SLS needs a landscape planner.
|It’s SLS’s goal to have constructive and positive working relationships with all forest users including grazing permit holders. Forest operations have to be balanced to meet a variety of objectives in addition to maintaining healthy range sites for cattle grazing. SLS processes trees at the stump to evenly distribute tops across the block. Approximately 90% of the nutrients in a tree (like nitrogen and phosphorous) are located in the needles and branches and are important for soil nutrition and forest health. The coarse woody debris is also important for protecting seedlings from winter’s desiccating Chinook winds and provides critical shade on dry summer day’s greatly increasing seedling survival. SLS fully reclaims its roads with the intention they will be reforested. The top soil is saved alongside road construction areas. This soil contains viable seed and roots that are returned during the reclamation process. After reclamation the exposed soil surface also creates a seedbed for natural regeneration. In some cases SLS plants reclaimed roads with seedlings. SLS strives to develop collaborative grazing timber agreements for all of our harvest planning.|
|Two people didn’t get the email invite to the meeting.
|SLS is continuing to try new approaches to provide meaningful opportunities for the public to participate in FMA planning and operations. SLS advertises in local newspapers, updates its website and sends out emails to the stakeholders listed in our records. SLS encourages stakeholders to complete the email subscription on the SLS Blog to ensure notification of upcoming news and events. If there’s concern you’re not on our list, please send us an email. We will respond back with an email to ensure the emails are not accidently going into junk boxes. It’s also okay to phone us to double check your on our stakeholder list.|
|Have third party decision maker (arms-length) make decisions (Finland example).||SLS developed its Detailed Forest Management Plan in collaboration with the Alberta government and stakeholder consultation. Provincial legislation and policy including the Alberta Forest Management Planning Standard (A methodology approved by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers which satisfies the Canadian Standard Association forest certification program for sustainable forestry.) SLS must also obtain annual written approvals, from the Alberta government, prior to any timber harvesting or road building on the FMA.|
Breakout Group #2 (Rob):
|All uses on same piece of land at the same time cannot work, Need zoning and priority setting.||SLS believes recreation and forestry are compatible. This is based on feedback from satisfied users and as evidenced by the recreational parking lots that are consistently full of families, mountain bikers, hikers and horse riders enjoying the public forests in West Bragg Creek.|
|Logging our forests for local use is okay however, having products leave the local area is unacceptable. Local means Alberta.
|The wood products industry is the third largest industry in the province. The industry is sustainable and renewable and is vitally important for sustaining Alberta families and communities. SLS products are made by Albertans and are sold within Western Canada.|
|Forest management = Forest Renewal
Must elevate the uses of the land over a longer timeframe not just “point in time”. Mixed use can work over a longer period of time.
|Agreed. The Detailed Forest Management Plan is a 20 year plan, renewed every 10 years with the Alberta government. Forest management is modelled over a 200 year period. All harvest areas are reforested to meet provincial standards.|
|Getting not only stakeholder groups meeting and consulting but also senior government officials and government agencies consulting.
|See the response on the bottom of page 3 related to the Detailed Forest Management Plan and government approvals.|
|Mixed use management means that more than just industry wins.
|Agreed. SLS believes communities benefit, due to job creation (manufacturing jobs are scarce in Canada), company and employee related spending (helping diversify and sustain the economy at large) and tax base contributions. Society as a whole also benefits in terms of maintaining forest health and biodiversity, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires that can negatively impact municipal drinking water, air quality and important wildlife habitat.|
|Required to test that the ground rules are meeting the objectives for the entire East Slopes and that practices are meeting environmental and social outcomes.
|The operating ground rules are reviewed annually to ensure they are current and meet environmental standards and social expectations. SLS is monitoring ongoing operations and ESRD has a monitoring/enforcement program that tracks OGR compliance.
Breakout Group # 3 (Jordan)
|A special designation for areas with high density of trails – require special consideration.
|SLS is looking to improve consultation approaches and use a collaborative public consultation approach to meet diverse mixed use objectives.|
|Consider planned logging roads to be turned into trails.
|SLS is committed to reclaiming all of its block roads to manage road densities below thresholds identified in the Alberta Grizzly Recovery Plan. If new road locations can mitigate water quality impacts, SLS will work with trail users and the government to minimize linear disturbances on the FMA. Contact SLS for specific areas in mind.|
|Consider aesthetics from the point of view of the trail users (hikers). Wanting to have opportunities to enjoy viewscapes from trails (less trail buffers).||Contact SLS for specific areas in mind.|
|Consider Allotment Boundaries
|See grazing permit responses on the bottom of page 3.|
|Consider Cumulative Effects (Oil & Gas / Forestry)
|See cumulative effects responses on page 3.|
|More transparent forest modelling.
|SLS has its Detailed Forest Management Plan posted on its website. Please contact us for specific concerns regarding forest modelling that cannot be found on our website.|
Breakout Group # 4 (Bryan):
|Look back at past experiences (Twenty-five years ago Bragg Creek had a collaborative approach that was effective from start to finish)
|Let us know what you liked better about the process 25 years ago.|
|Recreation and logging are the big issues, squeezing others out. Keep the focus on all values and uses.
|See responses regarding grazing on the bottom of page 3.|
|Evolve as things change.
|How many passes for each area? (2,3?)
|Areas located within Fire Smart Zones generally have increased harvest compared to non-fire Smart Zones and were identified by the government as high priority for harvest. Long term forest management planning is based on a forest compartment basis. A spatial harvest sequence is established for a 20 year period. This approach maintains forested areas adjacent to harvested blocks on the landscape overtime.|
|Forestry should recognize other values and how much use like recreation management around these values.
|Government management on public lands. More government involvement in public consultation.
|SLS’s FMA is administered by the government
SLS is responsible for completing the public consultation. See responses regarding decisions on page 4.
|More communication between users.
|SLS is striving to continually improve communication with stakeholders and encourages them to contact us with their concerns.|
|Provide draft maps for review through the process.
|SLS is currently creating a new map template to improve communicating the locations of our activities to stakeholders and has some new approaches to offer
|Look at other areas that have similar situations, where collaboration is working better.
|Our suggestion is to not give up on this process. However, we are interested in learning about any successful process.|
|Results: ask, don’t tell.
|SLS wants to work constructively with stakeholders and develop balanced plans that integrate all of the users on the landscape. We hope workshops like this will lead to improved plans and improved consultation opportunities for stakeholders.|