April 13, 2015
Study Shows Wilson Watershed in Trouble
Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) has examined a 76 page report showing omissions in two studies that supported continued logging in the Wilson Creek Watershed (lower Sunshine Coast, BC). The report, released March 15, 2015, by the B.C. Tap Water Alliance (BCTWA) and authored by its Coordinator, Will Koop, entitled ‘Withholding Water Flow Science in the Wilson Watershed’, raises concerns on previous studies, funded by Sunshine Coast Community Forests, (SCCF) that looked at the capacity of this small watershed (2,207Ha) to withstand further clear-cut logging, without providing clear directions to forestry planners at SCCF, or its owners, District of Sechelt (DOS) on how to best manage the forest cover in the Wilson to ensure long-term viability of its downstream fish habitat.
The BCTWA report discusses terms, such as ‘Equivalent Clear-cut Area’, ‘Hydrological Recovery’, updates the mapping of the Wilson Watershed showing recent and proposed logging, and identifies gaps in the way the data is used. It’s referenced to professional hydrological studies and contains 3 Appendixes. The author has over 30 years of independent reporting on complex environmental issues in forestry, watershed management, fracking, and mining.
“The BCTWA critique highlights flaws in the 2012 ‘Wilson Creek Watershed Assessment’ (author Glynnis Horel), which appears that SCCF used to justify continued logging in the Wilson Watershed.” states Ross Muirhead a forest campaigner for ELF. “After all of the data that Horel supplies, she fails to provide SCCF Planners, or DOS, with critical forest management guidance, except to say in general, that the forests across their operations should be a higher age class to reach hydrological recovery (i.e.: to regulate peak flows), which implies that the lower forest age class (approx. 50% under 35 years) which dominates their tenure areas is of concern.” “Horel’s hydrological-recovery data for each elevation zone should have been calculated as an overall watershed hydrological score, linked to an industry-standard Risk Assessment table identifying on-the-ground conditions which a hydrological score provides. Since, Horel’s report was not properly peer-reviewed, ELF recommends that DOS decision-makers, look at Koop’s critique closely and discuss having a 3rd party assessment of these 2 reports before approving any cutting of existing intact forests, and thus place a moratorium on any future logging in the Wilson.”
“The BCTWA report reconfirms that it’s long past time for the Province to declare Wilson Creek a Fisheries Sensitive Watershed under the Forest and Range Practices Act. The Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA) has been calling for this status for Wilson Creek since 2005,” according to Linda Williams, SCCA Co-Chair. “The Community Forest has proposed five new cutblocks based on Horel’s outdated 2011 assessment, in spite of the fact that as far back as 2001 its predecessor (Interfor) was ordered by the Ministry of Forests to undertake a detailed Coastal Watershed Assessment Procedure, due to SCCA concerns about over-logging. As well as assessing Wilson Creek, Glynnis Horel has evaluated Chapman and Gray Creeks, the sources of our community’s drinking water, for logging by the Community Forest. This report should be a red flag for all Sunshine Coast residents.”
A copy of the report: ‘Withholding Water Flow Science in the Wilson Watershed’ can be found in the Sechelt Public Library, or at BC Tap Water Alliance’s web site:
New Report by B.C. Tap Water Alliance
March 15, 2015
Withholding Water Flow Science in the Wilson Watershed: An Examination
of the Sunshine Coast Community Forest’s Wilson Creek Watershed Assessments (2010-2012)
(pdf file – 29 megabytes)
Report Summary only (pdf – 2.2 megabytes)
For more information contact:
Elphinstone Logging Focus
Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (HANP)