What does the future hold?

Shuswap Environmental Action Society is sponsoring a essay contest for students at Salmon Arm Secondary about what life could be like thirty years from now in the Shuswap.

Essay topic: Write about what you think life in the Shuswap could be like in the year 2052, given the future challenges that society and the natural world will face due to climate change. Use recent events (heat dome, atmospheric river, forest fires, drought and floods) as examples of the impacts likely to come. The essay can describe any aspect of living, including family life, farm life, a business or industry, education, or recreation.

Maximum number of words – 750, Deadline – May 18th, completed essays can be dropped off at Mr. Ramsay’s classroom or emailed to dargent5a@shaw.ca

First prize – $300 and publication in the Salmon Arm Observer

Second prize – $200, Third prize – $100

Many thanks to these SEAS members for their donations to cover the cost of the prizes: Scott and Julia Marmont, Warren Bell, Chélie Elsom, Jake Jacobson, Shelley Corbin, Anne Morris, Pauline Waelti, Dorothy Argent, Bill Grainger and Brenda Melnychuk

Thanks also to these essay contest judges:

Lachlan Labere, Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer and Shuswap Market News

Anne Morris, longtime social justice and environmental activist

Jerre Paquette, PhD, educator

and to Essay Contest Coordinator, Dorothy Argent

Background reading:

BC Tomorrow webpage

The summer of our discontent

Climate change – think globally, act locally

Coping with the new normal

American West could face a ‘brutal’ century under climate change

Cautious optimism for old growth forest protection

On November 2nd, the B.C. government announced plans to defer logging in approximately 2.6 million hectares of old growth forest. After two decades of disappointment with forestry policies that have allowed the industry to run the agenda and that resulted in the loss of likely many thousands of hectares of more precious, ecological rich ancient forests, we are now cautiously optimistic about yesterday’s old growth protection plan.

Hopefully, the local First Nations will support the plan to set aside what appears to be many hundreds of hectares of old growth forest here in the Shuswap. While the mapping appears to be haphazard, with red blotches appearing throughout the landscape where there are some age class 8 or 9 stands of trees, the key areas that need protection will be those that are adjacent to existing protected old growth areas, parks and riparian areas. Also, those old growth stands that help add connective corridors for wildlife are also important to protect. Even the isolated islands of old growth offer some ecological value by providing refuge habitat for species that depend on it.

The forest industry is already making wild claims about job loss and mill shutdowns, which they themselves are adept at given how overcutting and automation has already caused extensive job loss. This comes from an industry that only now employs 2 percent of the province’s workforce and contributes just 2 percent of the province’s GDP. Over the last few decades, 52,000 forestry jobs have been lost. Fortunately, any forest workers who might get laid off as a result of old growth protection will likely be able to easily find employment in other fields once they are re-trained, given how many industry sectors, like construction, are desperately searching for workers.
Another consideration regarding the announcement is the role that intact forests have in mitigating climate change. Forests are important carbon sinks, and already B.C.’s forests are emitting far more carbon than they are sequestering, due to clearcutting, fires, pests and diseases. If Canada and the province is really going to seriously commit to its global objectives, it must drastically reduce logging and plant many more trees. There are many alternatives to trees for building materials and paper, such as hemp. So, just as we need to move to fossil fuel alternatives, we also need to move to alternatives to wood fibre.
Yesterday’s announcement is an important first step, but we cannot celebrate until the deferrals become actual protected areas.
Here is a map that show the deferral areas (in red and blue) in the Shuswap:

Building Resiliency in the Shuswap

In May, 2021 two presentations were given to local governments about a report that commissioned by SEAS, the Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Society and the Shuswap Food Action Co-op about how to build resiliency in the Shuswap post-pandemic. Here is the report – Shuswap Covid Resiliency Review 2021 Final_March

Here is the text of the presentation:

Resiliency Report presentation by Jim Cooperman, SEAS president: 

Good afternoon council members. Thank you for this opportunity to present our report to you. 

Most of you know me and the work I have done to help improve the public’s understanding of the Shuswap region and to improve protection of key values, including writing the first book about the geography and history of our region, Everything Shuswap. I am often asked when will the next volume be ready, and my answer is the like much of what we do and enjoy, the second volume is on hold due to the pandemic. Since very little is happening in volume two’s four topic areas; communities, arts and culture, sports and recreation and the economy – my thoughts turned to what we can do to make sure that once the pandemic is over, society and in particular, the Shuswap, can move to a better, more resilient place than where it was prior to the virus taking hold. Thus, I wrote a column last year about how new strategies are needed for recovery, because the pandemic further exposed many of the flaws in our society – including food insecurity, environmental threats, unhealthy lifestyles, and income inequality. I then realized that it would be good to find an expert to fully research the issues and potential solutions. 

Three groups, who work on community solutions, were invited to join the project, Shuswap Environmental Action Society, the Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Society and the Shuswap Food Action Co-op. Shuswap Community Futures agreed to fund the project and Natalya Melnychuck, who is highly qualified, was contracted to do the research and prepare the report which identifies the sustainability issues and reviews potential actions. Dr. Melnychuk reviewed approximately 100 articles, websites and publications for this project. 

She organized her work to focus on the same strategic drivers identified in Salmon Arm’s Strategic Plan. We decided to leave out arts and culture due to the time and financial constraints, and because there is a cultural master plan already in process. 

This presentation will focus on just the key points for each of the drivers and please note that the report is much more comprehensive as it contains far more information about the issues and possible actions. As well, the report recognizes the many City of Salmon Arm initiatives already underway that are already helping to find solutions, including the Food Hub, participation in the Community Resource Coalition, Agricultural Advisory Committee, Parks and Recreation, the Environmental Management Committee, and the Housing Taskforce. 

Many solutions fall outside the city’s jurisdiction and thus would require the city working with other municipalities to convince the provincial and/or federal governments to take action, likely through the Union of BC Municipalities. 

Beginning with people, the pandemic has increased the challenges for those who provide social services, as so many more people are experiencing problems. Anything the city could do to help improve services would help, such as improved advocacy. The city does have to ability to help promote healthy living and support harm prevention.

Food is a key asset and one that remains insecure, given we are surrounded by underutilized farmland. Improving food security would require much more collaboration and cooperation with the farming community and provincial government agencies. 

There are many obstacles to fixing the many forest mismanagement issues and the city would need to work with other groups and other jurisdictions through the UBCM to convince the provincial government to make any changes to the status-quo. 

The pandemic has elevated the importance of parks and trails, all used more often when inside facilities are closed, thus illustrating how investing in outdoor recreational infrastructure is a wise use of public funds. 

Regarding the many environmental issues, it is becoming more apparent every year that we need to put more effort into climate change adaptation measures to help ensure communities will be able to endure the coming impacts. 

There is likely nothing new for council regarding housing and transportation. Housing has become one of the greatest needs for most communities, as homes become more unaffordable and more people chose to move here. Addressing the problems successfully will require more innovation and the city could look more closely elsewhere to find solutions, including the Inside Track program used by Kamloops to attract developers. 

Where this report shines the greatest, is by bringing forth the concept of the doughnut economic model. This is indeed a viable concept that is being successfully implemented in other jurisdictions including Nanaimo. 

Key principles:

Everyone has a role – Focus on collaborative coalition-based initiatives, empower under-represented voices
Explore interconnections – Building resiliency requires involvement  of multiple partners, explore ways to avoid the “silo” approach for problem solving
Utilize existing plans while considering new ideas – Current projects can benefit by adding new concepts and strategies that focus on building resiliency

In conclusion, it would be wonderful to see this council move forward with this report and use it to develop an initiative focused on building greater resiliency to the community. One possibility would be to further investigate the doughnut economic model with the goal of adopting it for Salmon Arm.

We are facing complex problems that would best be addressed through collaboration and by using creative and imaginative processes that inspire greater interest by the public and all stakeholders, resulting in new ideas and new ways of thinking. Hopefully, with your support and vision, our resilience project will be the beginning of something much bigger and much more progressive than our community has produced to date. Thanks again for this opportunity.

 

SEAS submission to the Okg. TSA Timber Supply Review

Here is our submission to the process:

SHUSWAP ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION SOCIETY 

March 17, 2021 

2021 Okanagan TSA Timber Supply Review 

Comments on the Discussion Paper: 

Our organization has submitted numerous briefs to previous timber supply reviews calling for significant reductions to cut levels because we have long been concerned about overcutting. Sadly, despite our efforts, logging rates have remained high and will likely continue to remain high until most of the mature forests are gone. Nonetheless, we are submitting these comments on the Timber Supply Analysis Discussion Paper so that our concerns become part of the public record. 

Re: TSA Description 

It is appalling that this paper identifies all the land inside the TSA as being in the Okanagan. This description completely misses the fact that a sizable proportion (well over 1 million hectares) is in the Shuswap watershed, a completely distinct landbase that drains into the Fraser River, rather than the Columbia River and that contains distinctively different, wetter ecosystems than the Okanagan. It does not mention Shuswap Lake, nor the fact that the Shuswap includes eight rivers, whereas the Okanagan has but one. 

Re: Regional Economy 

The paper provides no data regarding the contribution that forestry has to the regional economy. Perhaps, this omission is due to the fact that the number of jobs in forestry and the percentage of forestry jobs has been steadily declining due to mill closures, technological improvements and automation. Thus, there is no economic justification for maintaining a high rate of cut, as the economic benefits to the region are no longer significant. 

Re: Land Base Classification 

Only 125,722 ha of OGMAs are listed, with just 55,379 ha in the net down, which apparently refers to the amount in the THLB. In the LRMP document, the table agreed to a total of 186,507 ha that includes 61,877 ha in the THLB (page 3-17). Why has the number of hectares of OGMAs been reduced? Mapping done for the Shuswap Watershed alone has identified 95,613 ha, thus there appears to be a discrepancy between agreed upon and currently mapped OGMAs and the number in the TSR analysis. 

Re: Species 

According to the graph, balsam and hemlock make up less the 25% of the volume and yet it is most likely that these two undesirable species make up a much larger percentage of the remaining timber that has not been logged. Thus, the volume of wood that remains is of inferior quality and high logging rates will only exacerbate the problem, as cutting continues to focus on the higher value species. Better analysis is needed to evaluate both the volume and value of the remaining timber available. Maintaining a high cutting level will result in the rapid depletion of any remaining high value timber and all that will be left for the future will be the low value hemlock and balsam stands. 

Re: “Thrifty” volume 

The paper provides no definition of what the “thrifty” volume is. I have since learned that “thrifty” refers to the unmanaged stands that are not old growth but may have had some logging occur in the past. The assumption that this volume will be able to represent a significant amount of the cut until the managed volume is old enough is complete speculation, without any real evidence to back it up. 

Re: Managed stands 

More pure speculation. It is highly unlikely that timber volume from managed stands will be equivalent to that from old growth stands, given the young age these trees are slated to be logged. More hectares will need be logged to allow for the equivalent about of volume. Plus, while some plantations are growing well, others are struggling to due to depleted soils, pests, diseases and drought. The graph that shows the projected reduction (from approximately 325 cubic metres per hectare to 275) is merely a projection that is not based on actual data.  

Re: Alternative harvest flows 

While the graphs that show a serious reduction in the AAC if the uplift is allowed to continue for another 30 years is concerning, it is likely not accurate as continued overcutting will more than likely result in a serious shortage of available timber within a decade. 

Re: Adjusted harvest flow sensitivity analysis 

Projecting benefits from management decisions that pose environmental risks should not even be considered, nor should it be modeled. Increasing the THLB, would result in less forest available for environmental values and thus should never be considered. So too, allowing logging to occur in very dry sites or problem forest types would also cause unacceptable impacts and result in degrading forest ecosystems to the detriment of forest health and other species. 

Re: Hydrological recovery 

It is pitiful that blocks are now allowed next to managed stands that have only achieved a height of two metres. In the data package, it is revealed that research shows that a two metre is not sufficient and the minimum should be six metres. Although, the study was just for pine, it is also probably valid for all species. It should be common sense that two-metre-tall trees do not provide adequate hydrological recovery. Allowing extensive areas of watersheds to be forested by trees just two metres and shorter could result in more flooding in the spring and water shortages in late summer. As well, these drier stands will be more susceptible to wildfire. The discussion paper notes that the base case used a constraint that in community watersheds no more than 30 % should be smaller than 6 metres, despite the fact that most companies ignore this rule because it is not legislated. 

Re: Forest Health 

The estimated losses due to forest health issues are inadequate. As climate change intensifies, most projections call for a marked increase in wildfires and yet the data package only projects that 60-100 hectares of unlogged THLB will be lost each year. There is inadequate consideration of the impact of armillaria (only a 5% reduction predicted) given that TIPSY points to sizeable reductions in future volumes (30% reduction in stands with low incidence and up to 63% reduction in stands with high incidence). 

Previous comments on the data package: 

Given the number of landslides just last year in the Shuswap, a major concern for some rural homeowners would be the number of hectares of unstable and potentially unstable land that is deducted from the THLB. The data package shows that only 20 percent of the potentially unstable land is off limits to logging, that is why Tolko has the right to proceed with its plans to log on the steep hillsides above Swansea Point at Mara Lake, where there already have been two massive slides. Clearly, a much larger percentage of all potentially unstable land should be made unavailable for logging, especially considering there are greater risks now due to the higher frequency of intense storms with heavy rainfalls. 

Some of the key information that is missing from the data package includes the amount of mature timber remaining to be logged and the number of years left before the second growth can be harvested.  The data package focuses on hectares of land excluded from logging, while the goal is to determine how many cubic-metres of timber can be logged every year. There is no estimate of the amount of timber that is logged per hectare, which varies with the size of the trees. Given that the trend has always been to log the best timber first, what timber remains is likely inferior and yet there is no consideration for this steady decline in the quality and volume of the remaining mature timber. Thus, the public is expected to provide input without receiving key information about the current status of available timber. 

Another key factor in the cut level determination is how well the plantations are growing, as knowledge about the timing for when this second growth will be ready to log and what volume would be expected is required to ensure forestry is sustainable. The ministry uses extrapolation data obtained from sample plots to estimate future tree growth, which only provides an estimate. Actual inventory data is woefully inadequate, as funding for this work has been insufficient for over a decade. 

One important issue that is missing in the data package is the impact of climate change, which has the potential to negatively impact the health of the plantations and the remaining mature forests. Increasing summer temperatures along with longer periods of drought increase the chances for more wildfires and more diseases and pest outbreaks. The uncertainties from climate change should be incorporated into the timber supply review. A recent article in the MDPI journal, Forests, reports on the results of a study that shows how warming temperatures result in stresses that cause four times the impact on lodgepole pine growth rates previously considered (http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/8/8/280). 

Whether a court case involving the “blacklisting” of a consultant for pointing out discrepancies with the data and models used to determine AAC will be allowed to proceed will not be heard until July. However, I have been briefed about these issues and the main concern is that the uncertainty involved in the AAC determination is not properly accounted for. As a result, assumptions are being used to increase the AAC despite the uncertainties surrounding them, while the assumptions that could be used to decrease the AAC are not used with the reason given that there are too many uncertainties. Thus, forest health issues and climate change issues are avoided in timber supply calculations, whereas questionable data for growth and yield and the volume present in the remaining mature forms the basis of the modeling used to determine the AAC. 

The rationale for maintaining high rates of logging has always been to protect forestry jobs, despite the fact that our region’s economy has been steadily diversifying and the number of jobs in forestry has been steadily decreasing due to a combination of automation and the growing decline in timber volume and quality. Given the number of jobs being created now in adventure tourism and the increase in damage caused by logging on steep slopes, it would be prudent to focus more on non-timber values when making the decision on how many trees will be logged in the future. The Chief Forester is well aware of these concerns and it remains to be seen if politics continue to override sustainability goals. 

Conclusion 

Undoubtedly, given what has resulted from previous reviews, the AAC will either remain the same or will be increased again without regard for the future. The best decision you could make given the pressure to continue overcutting is to use the base case for the AAC. 

Comments prepared by Jim Cooperman, SEAS President

Note as well these two other excellent submissions:

Dear Sir/Madam

The Okanagan basin like its neighbouring basin to the East, the Kettle River basin, is badly over-logged.  Reforestation is problematic as are forest health and wildfires in both areas — the Okanagan TSA and the Boundary TSA.
In part problems with reforestation are caused by industrial clear-cut logging in the interior Douglas-fir zone.  Many problems with forest health are related to climate change.  The extent of intense wildfire even in plantations is a result in part of industrial clear-cut logging. Perhaps for local residents, the most costly consequence of industrial clear-cut logging at an excessive rate is its direct relationship to flooding.
In both TSAs, residents have experienced an increase in the frequency, magnitude and duration of peak flows, and excessive sedimentation of drinking water as a direct result of clear-cut logging.   The cost of the resulting damage to personal property, to public infrastructure and to ratepayers for treatment of drinking water is extensive.
Climate change is likely exacerbating flooding and contributing to the damage caused by clear-cut logging.  But the chief forester does not consider climate change as a contributing factor; nor does she consider clear-cut logging as the cause of the increased frequency, magnitude and duration of peak flows.
The chief forester is not obligated to feed the 21 local mills at the expense of local residents and provincial taxpayers.  She is obligated to balance the social and economic benefits of 21 mills with the societal cost to residents of feeding those mills at an ecologically unsustainable rate of logging.  In both the Okanagan and Boundary TSAs, the social and economic costs as a direct result of clear-cutlogging now far exceed the benefits.
Accordingly, I ask that in the Okanagan AAC determination, the chief forester scale back the rate of logging in some watersheds and stop logging altogether in community watersheds and in areas above the snow-line.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Sincerely,
Anthony Britneff
[Note – Anthony is a retired senior government timber supply analyst]

Dear Ministry:

I am writing as a member of the public and resident of the Okanagan Timber Supply Area, to provide input on the Timber Supply Review discussion paper and allowable annual cut for the next ten years.

This review comes at a critical time for the future of our planet, as climate change is underway, and we have a short window to correct course.  Forests play an important role in the health of many ecosystems, and can be both carbon sinks and emissions sources, depending on how they are handled.  The stakes for setting parameters for the next decade could not be higher, and forestry review requires bold approaches, not calculations as usual.

As the December 2019 BC Sierra Club report called “Clearcut Carbon” describes, “B.C.’s officially reported emissions (primarily from burning fossil fuels, not counting forest emissions) were about 65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017. Considering the 42 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions caused annually by logging and the 26.5 million tonnes of foregone capture of carbon dioxide per year together, their combined impact on our climate exceeds the impact of B.C.’s officially counted emissions.”

There are examples of other approaches that are more resilient and sustainable, such as the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative, which can be modified for other regions.  Forests with mixed species are the most resilient and resistant to climate change stress.

The Okanagan Timber Supply Analysis Discussion Paper recognizes many concerns, but fails in two main areas.  First, it does not explicitly identify climate change concerns, which at a minimum should be enumerated and addressed.  We expect to see changing species of both flora and fauna, increased fire risks, anticipated new pest risks, effects of forestry practices on snow retention and floods, the need to retain carbon sinks, and the emissions costs of forestry practices such as clear cutting and slash and burn; how might the timber available for harvest be truly sustainable under these changing conditions?

Secondly, the projections for timber harvest of different ages of trees all assume that all the older trees will be removed, leaving an ongoing steady state younger cohort of trees for harvest.  There is substantial research on the benefits of old growth trees and forests, summarized in the BC Old Growth Strategic Review, with many recommendations, including “The province should declare that managing for ecosystem health and minimizing biodiversity risk are key priorities of its provincial land management framework”.

I did not see that these recommendations were reflected in the discussion paper, but strongly urge they be incorporated.

There are a number of other reports raising alarms.  The Forest Practices Board issued a paper in 2020 concerning dry Douglas Fir forest regeneration, recommending improvements in current forestry practices to maintain a healthy forest.  The Forest and Range Evaluation Program (see FREP Extension Notes 38 and 41) has reported on the importance of small streams, indicating that many small streams have been left in poorly functioning condition from forestry practices.  Clearcutting practices have affected hydrology of the basin and damaged the water system in Peachland already, in addition to effects on fish and wildlife. The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) has sent a letter to the Province of BC, is calling for change, including a review of how it manages Okanagan lake levels, since the current management plan doesn’t accommodate for climate change.  Severe seasonal flooding has already become a problem for our valley, and forestry practices share some responsibility.

The Okanagan has lots of dry forest areas and many small streams, and any determination of AAC needs to take these reports into account.

Given these considerations, I urge the Ministry to:

1.        Manage forests for biodiversity and ecosystems health as the most important goal.

2.       Explicitly assess anticipated effects of climate change on projections of forest health and sustainability, and make adjustments NOW, as time is short.

3.       Review the role of forests in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (such as clearcutting, burning, removing old trees), as well as preserving biodiversity and ecosystem health (Canadian forests are important carbon sinks), and plan for carbon neutrality at a minimum.

4.       Fully implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review.

5.       Do not continue AAC calculations based on business as usual.  Reduce the AAC and preserve trees wherever possible.

6.       Do not allow clear cutting.

Our forests are a benefit to everyone, but old paradigms that allow companies to extract our resources for their own profit and then move on are dangerous and must change.  This Timber Supply Review will set out plans for the next decade, a decade like no other, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns us.  The time for change is now.

Sincerely,

Khati Hendry, MD

Penticton BC

 

Big Trees Saved PDF available for free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a free download of the book, big_trees_saved

Here are excerpts from two reviews of the book that appeared in BC Studies:

A Review Essay – Forest $ustainability:

A Rumination on the Once and Future Forests of British Columbia, Provoked by Five Books and a Screenplay By  Graeme Wynn

BC Studies, no. 190, Summer 2016

In little more than one hundred pages, Kawatski traces seas’s activities, year by year through to 2001 and then through the two quinquennia between 2002 and 2013. This is a straightforward account of the work of engaged, activist citizens, written close to SEAS’s voluminous records and the people who led its campaigns. Reporting rather than analyzing, the author, herself an environmentalist with roots deep in the Shuswap region, has produced an interesting document, replete with sketches, cartoons, illustrations, and extended quotations from the often impassioned speeches of campaigners. By making available such materials, usually ephemeral or difficult to locate, this little book provides valuable insight into the grassroots of late twentieth-century environmentalism in British Columbia and offers – as wilderness activist Joe Foy notes in his foreword – “an inspiring saga of regular people making a huge difference.”

Among other feats, their efforts led, in 2001, to the creation of new provincial parks encompassing and protecting more than 120,000 hectares of the Okanagan/Shuswap region, including the “globally unique Upper Seymour rainforest” and Lake Hunakwa, probably “the last unroaded, low-elevation wilderness lake in the interior of North America”

 

BIG TREES SAVED AND OTHER FEATS: THE STORY OF THE SHUSWAP ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION SOCIETY

By Deanna Kawatski

September 30, 2015, BC Studies

Review By Erika Bland

In Big Trees Saved and Other Feats: The Story of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society, author and environmentalist Deanna Kawatski, whose roots in the Shuswap Bioregion go back a century, sketches the history of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society (SEAS) and outlines its challenges and successes over more than two decades. Kawatski documents efforts to protect large stretches of the Shuswap region, which is within the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people, and relies on a number of sources including newsletters, photos, figures, cartoons, posters, and activists’ fervent speeches. British Columbia’s “War in the Woods” saw community groups challenging the state and corporate stakeholders to bring about reforms in forest management (Salazar and Alper 2000), and Kawatski traces how political shifts and economic fluctuations have affected the environmental movement and groups like SEAS since then, especially given recent funding cuts for scientific programs in Canada (e.g. Sisler 2014). By identifying key challenges and successes, this socio-ecological and political history of the Shuswap will serve as a roadmap for future environmental activism, both in the region and more widely.

Though their approaches differ, both Pearse and Kawatski demonstrate the interconnections between environmental work and activism, both of which involve a collective and collaborative effort among a range of NGOs, all levels of government, First Nations, industry, schools, children, artists, musicians, and many exceptionally hard-working individuals. These books offer accessible and practical insights into the ways in which struggles to protect natural environments in British Columbia have intersected with a myriad of other initiatives.

Nonetheless, Pearse and Kawatski make visible the diversity of actors involved in British Columbia’s environmental movement and, in their accounts of community conservation, celebrate the names and faces behind some critical moments and campaigns. Together, they reveal the richness of this history and the personal commitment of impassioned people to protect the places they love. They are to be commended for their success in balancing factual reporting with specific and engaging stories. We need more books like these to build a locally and deeply rooted anthology of the socio-ecological history of British Columbia.

SEAS to host Rally for the Forests on Friday, September 18th

On Friday, September 18, 2020, people will march in 11 communities throughout the province to call for improving current forest policies to ensure ecosystem health is the priority, to revive community participation in forestland management and restore government oversight of forestry. In conjunction with the province-wide protest, the Shuswap Environmental Action Society SEAS) is hosting a noon rally at the Ross Creek Plaza with COVID safety measures in place. 

SEAS president Jim Cooperman explained why the protest is planned, “the problems with forest management in British Columbia have gone from bad to worse, as what little old growth forest that remains continues to be logged at unsustainable rates. Former forestry-dependent communities are reeling as mills are shuttered, jobs lost, whole logs are exported, water supplies are trashed and floods and landslides destroy homes and livelihoods. People are fed up and see this protest as one way to get the message out to the wider public.” 

To participate in the event, everyone is encouraged to bring a sign and wear green. In addition to speeches and live music by local songwriter and playwright, Linz Kenyon, there will be a short play by the Salmon Actors Studio entitled, “The Lumberjack’s Dilemma.” 

Using humour, well-respected local thespian James Bowlby wrote the script that explores many of the concerns with ongoing forest mismanagement and ends with a twist. Three actors, Teresa McKerral, Ryley Crouse and Dylan Taylor are in the production and are looking forward to when can appear in an upcoming dinner theatre show. 

On September 11, the B.C. government announced a new plan to protect old growth forests that include logging deferrals on 353,000 hectares. However, as Jim Cooperman explains, the new approach is filled with flaws, “One might believe that the recent provincial government announcement about protecting more old growth forest will help reverse the ongoing biodiversity crisis. In reality, it is just “smoke and mirrors” by a government more concerned about the interests of corporations than improving environmental protection and following the advice of scientists.” An analysis of the areas shows that most of the land now under deferral does not consist of high quality old growth and instead includes some second growth and low productivity forests. As well, there is no timetable or commitment for implementing the 14 recommendations in the old growth forest report released on the same day.

Learn more at the Forest March website

BACKGROUNDER

Time for action to challenge ongoing forest mismanagement 

Despite the change of government in Victoria, there have been no changes to forestry policies that have provided corporations with unfettered access to the rapidly declining timber supply. To address the negative impacts such as damaged water supplies, floods, loss of wildlife habitat, loss of recreational opportunities, loss of jobs, and loss of endangered species that are increasing exponentially, community activists are organizing a virtual five-day long summit culminating in a day of protest on Friday, September 18th. 

The province-wide event’s lead organizer, Jennifer Houghton, is still reeling from the devastating floods in her home town of Grand Forks that were a direct result of the massive clearcutting in the upper watersheds of the Grandby and Kettle Rivers. Another organizer, Taryn Skalbania is from Peachland, which has been forced to build an expensive water treatment plant because its water supply is full of silt due to extensive clearcut logging. 

While the problems have not been as severe here in the Shuswap, we have definitely have had our share. Landslides have crashed down into homes and communities, due to the combination of heavy rain and melting snow on steep hillsides that have been clearcut logged. The local population of endangered mountain caribou is hanging by a thread, as so much of their habitat has been logged and predator wolves move higher up the mountainside on logging roads and snowmobile trails. 

After decades of overcutting and highgrading here and throughout the province combined with the impacts of pine beetles and fires, there are far fewer trees left to log and what remains is of lower quality. As well, automation has reduced the number of jobs in the forest industry. Consequently, there are only a few large wood-processing facilities still operating in the Shuswap. 

Often, it is BC Timber Sales (BCTS) or smaller licensees that operate in the marginal old growth cedar/hemlock stands, which is resulting in massive amounts of waste left in enormous burn piles. Thankfully, some of the waste that is fairly close to the highway is now getting chipped, loaded into chip trucks and shipped to the pulp mill in Kamloops. 

Given the history of logging-related landslides in the Shuswap, the major concerns are the proposed clearcuts above Mara Lake and Bastion Creek. Recently, a retired hydrologist reviewed the revised assessment for the Bastion Creek logging and found it was flawed. The government hydrologist also agreed it was defective, but cannot get involved due to her upcoming retirement. 

Sadly, the timber that BCTS proposes to log on the Bastion hillside is of inferior quality and would not likely generate much income. If the logging goes ahead, the summer homes located alongside the creek near the lake will be at risk. Under the current model of forest management, timber extraction takes priority over private property and peoples’ safety. 

There are solutions to the ongoing forest mismanagement. The team that is organizing the upcoming summit are calling for a “New Forest Charter” that would give priority to nature rather than to corporate profits in decision making, provide greater public control of public land and eliminate unfettered corporate control, reinstate local land use planning and ensure all management is based on science rather than profits.

 

Logging threatens local watershed

Logging threatens local watershed

While this recently logged block poses few risks, logging proposed on the opposite hillside does

Across the province, watersheds are under assault by forestry operations as timber supplies dwindle and logging companies move into hillsides above communities. Excessive clearcutting in the upper watersheds above Grand Forks directly contributed to massive flooding in the community last spring, logging above Peachland resulted in excessive siltation in their drinking water thus forcing the community to build a 55-million dollar water treatment infrastructure and here in the Shuswap there have been countless landslides and debris torrents caused in part by logging and roadbuilding that have resulted in millions of dollars in damage and loss of life.

The pink block on the left poses the greatest risks

Early this January, I was asked to assist the Totem Pole Resort community, located on the Bastion Creek floodplain fan, with their response to logging plans for their community watershed by two licensees, Canoe Forest Products (Canoe) and BC Timber Sales (BCTS). Canoe’s blocks were located on the ridge far above the creek and did not appear to threaten the integrity of the watershed, whereas BCTS blocks pose great threats to terrain stability, water quality, and the safety of the residents.

When BCTS announced its revised schedule for the logging and asked for comments within two months, the issue became urgent. Years ago, I had urged the Totem Pole residents to get community watershed status to protect the quality of their drinking water, which they did. We successfully received this status for our local Corning Creek watershed in the 1990s, when detailed planning that involved local residents was a requirement. Consequently, I participated in the process that involved reviewing reports and analysis, which resulted in an inch-thick plan with detailed mapping.

Aerial photo of the Bastion Creek watershed where logging is proposed on this hillside, photo by Luke Gubbels

How times have changed! BCTS informed me that detailed planning is no longer required, but they did have a hydrological assessment that found negligible risks to the timing, quantity and quality of water in Bastion Creek from the proposed forest development. After requesting a copy of the report, I was shocked to learn that they have a policy of not sharing information like this with the public, but that I could read it in their Vernon office or at the Canoe office as the company paid half of the costs of the report.

Here is the scenario I could visualize if the logging proceeded as proposed on the steep south face slope. After a winter with heavy snowpack and an early spring with hot weather, a heavy rain quickly melts the snow on the logged block next to a tributary of Bastion Creek causing erosion. The tributary gets blocked with debris, and when it releases it sends a debris torrent down to Bastion Creek, which temporarily dams the flow. When this dam breaks, a wall of water moves down the creek to the lake, wiping out homes and putting lives at risk. 

We finally managed to get a copy of the 13-page hydrology report after requesting a copy through the Freedom of Information office in Victoria. While we thought the report should contain information we could use to get the plans rejected, the report was woefully inadequate and lacked key information. Fortunately, both the foresters’ and engineers’ professional organizations have also been concerned about the quality of hydrological assessments and recently prepared a new set of standards. Hopefully, BCTS will scrap their plans and report and have a new assessment prepared using the current, 72-page long professional standards. 

POSTSCRIPT

When we finally received the hydrological assessment, it had one sentence redacted. I managed to copy that sentence from a hard copy of the report that I could read but not keep. Here is that sentence:  “For these reasons, lower Bastion Creek is considered to be a high risk area naturally and as a result both BCTS and CFP should minimize incremental effects of their activities on the frequency and magnitude of flood events and landslide initiations.” The reasons are described in this previous sentence: “Both flooding and debris flow events can result in damage to private property and represent a potential threat to public safety.” They left the sentence out because they feared we would misconstrue it in the media!

On August 1, Totem Pole Resort residents and myself went on a field trip to view the area organized by Canoe Forest Products. We stopped to check out a cutblock at the top of the watershed that was logged last winter. It is fairly high elevation, with spruce and balsam and very rough ground. Below the block was a plantation that was logged approximately 30 years ago and appears to be well stocked with young trees.

The forest of balsam and spruce that BCTS wants to log

We then drove to the area across the valley that BCTS proposes to log in a few years. The quality of the timber looks poor, with small stems and about 50% low value balsam. It seems like they are willing to risk causing extensive damage to the watershed in return for some low value timber.

The CSRD is also concerned about the risks to life and property from logging in the area. In April they released a geomorphic study that they had commissioned. From their press release:

Some of the recommendations include developing an acceptable and tolerable level of risk for both proposed and existing developments. Simon Gautschi from Westrek, noted most local governments in BC do not have these types of risk thresholds, so standards for these risk levels would have to be developed by the CSRD. Additional assessments are also recommended for areas with logging or which have been affected by wildfire, as this can increase the potential for landslides. It was also recommended that all creek fan areas identified in the report be designated as Development Permit Areas within the CSRD.

As a result of the study, the following month this motion which was unanimously approved at the May 16th CSRD Board meeting:

“That the Board send a letter to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, appropriate senior staff within FLRNORD and BC Timber Sales (BCTS) to express the CSRD;’s strong concerns and to request a temporary logging moratorium in the proposed cutblocks in the Bastion Creek area in view of the Westrek report of November 2017 which recommended that “A regional landslide hazard and risk study should be completed by government stakeholders for the slopes that extend from Sunnybrae to Bastion Creek to determine if there are common factors and issues. In the interim, it is recommended that the CSRD consider restricting or managing future development and re=-development on these slopes until the landslide hazard and risk to each property is more clearly understood.”

December 16, 2019 Update

The most recent letter from BCTS explained that they have denied our request for a moratorium will be going ahead with the proposed logging after all the planning is completed. You can read the letter here: 251346 Bastion Response Totem resort Oct 2019

In response, the Totem Pole Resort group sent this reply:

November 25, 2019

Colin Johnston RPF

Timber Sales Manager

BC Timber Sales – Okanagan Columbia

2501 – 14th Ave., Vernon BC V1T 8Z1

Phone (250) 558-1795 | cell (250) 309-7423

Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

VIA EMAIL:  COLIN.JOHNSTON@GOV.BC.CA

Dear Mr. Johnston

Reply to your letter of October 22, 2019       Reference:  251346

The Owners of Strata KA-046 Totem Pole Resort, have requested that I follow-up with you on details in your letter.

You have stated that the ministry is not considering a suspension on timber harvesting in the Bastion Creek Community Watershed in spite of concerns and written requests from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Mr. Bill Grainger, community petition, the Shuswap Environmental Action Society (SEAS), and ourselves – Totem Pole Resort.  We have shared your letter of response with our local community, and have been asked by the community to request copies of your response letters to the other respondents named above.

We appreciate the inclusivity of the planning process and our opportunity to participate.  We are interested in following up with you regarding the assessment, referrals, and planning that you have mentioned are all underway.  Specifically, we would like to know if a hydrological assessment, that conforms with current requirements has been commissioned, and which office we can contact to receive a copy?  Also, will there be another call for referrals and comments on the progress of the planned harvesting in blocks K0WB, K5M7, K5M8?

 

When will we be notified regarding news about new studies being completed?  We are anxious to know if the harvesting activities are going to take place on the north side (southern exposure) of Bastion Creek Canyon and extend down the southern exposed face.

We remain highly concerned that the substantive body of evidence including; advice from professionals, cautions in professional reports, stewardship of the CSRD, professional reports on recent slide activities has not been reviewed with due diligence deserving of its importance.  Our community remains alert and is consulting legal counsel on these matters.

We look forward to hearing from you with answers to our questions. We hope that the line of communication between us will also include the regional district and the local environmental group, we will circulate and cc our community of concerned stakeholders. Our confidence remains high that concerns for the safety and security of human life and community will continue to take precedence over “creating  economic opportunities” when the cost and failure to do so is fatal.

 

The Final Liquidation – a B.C. forest emergency

The Final Liquidation – a B.C. forest emergency

By Jim Cooperman

Despite the election of what we often thought would be a more environmentally friendly government, British Columbia’s public forests continue to be disappearing at an alarming rate, with inadequate stewardship for all values including fish and wildlife habitat, community water supply protection, and recreation. Although these forests belong to the people of B.C. and to future generations, they are being managed primarily to benefit a few large corporations.  Urgent reforms are needed to meet the needs of present and future generations and yet to date, little has been done.

The BC Liberals created the problems. The Council of Forest Industries helped them to develop the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), which ended government oversight and allowed forest companies to operate carte blanche for 15 years, enabling liquidation forestry by downplaying or entirely disregarding “non-timber values.” Now the NDP, who were once the architects of the long defunct Forest Practices Code, who more than doubled the size of the park system, and implemented Land Use Planning, are only making minimal changes to address the problems and reverse these destructive policies.

As a result of the professional reliance review by Mark Haddock, an oversight body was created called the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance in the Ministry of Attorney General with a goal to ensure best practices are implemented. As well, Bill 21 has been introduced that when legislated will amend FRPA to improve public input and information sharing by requiring licenses to prepare operational mapping for review and revise the wildlife definition to better protect at-risk species. More changes are in the works, but it is unlikely that the NDP will reduce the unsustainable rate of cut, revise the forest tenure system (other than Bill 22 which will allow the Minister a veto over transfers of tenures and cutting rights) or remove the caveat that protection of non-timber values must not “unduly reduce the supply of timber.”

The BC forest industry has now consolidated to five large corporations that control 60 percent of the allowable annual cut. Thanks to generous subsidies (including operating without oversight, causing property and ecological damage with the bills going to the public taxpayers, and long term, give-away licenses to control vast swaths of public land to log publicly owned forests) these companies are taking their profits and investing them in U.S. and Swedish mills, which they will be able to operate long after BC’s accessible forests are cut over because these mills cut fast growing, southern pine. So far, B.C. forest companies have purchased 51 mills in the U.S. and 9 mills in Sweden, more than they own in this province.

 

The forest industry has far more influence over policies and laws than it deserves, given that its contribution to the province’s GDP has been decreasing along with the number of jobs it provides. Forestry only represents 5 percent of the total B.C. economy (GDP) and only 3 percent of the direct jobs. Mills have been closing as wood supply runs out, including the recent closure of the Port Alice pulpmill, the Tolko sawmill in Quesnel and partial shutdowns for Canfor mills.  

Massive amounts of forest land (3 million hectares economic and over 8-million non-economic) are denuded and there is no money to replant them, given that the government and companies can barely keep up with the costs of planting the areas that have been logged recently, annual wildfire suppression costs and disaster relief to communities for floods and drought, let alone deal with the millions of hectares that have been burned in recent years. BC forests stopped being a carbon sink in 2001 and now add far more carbon to the atmosphere than any other source every year. 

The liquidation is moving into the high elevation forests, some previously considered inoperable, which is upsetting the hydrologic balance resulting in massive flooding that is destroying property, including the city of Grand Forks and Okanagan Lake communities. Loss of high elevation forest impacts local climates by removing the cool moist air that normally flows from damp forests down in the evening to cool off the lower hills and lakes. Loss of the evening cooling breezes further warms the valleys, which increase the likelihood of wildfires. 

Land Use planning, which produced so many benefits was shelved by the Liberals and now is barely getting any attention by the NDP. In the Okanagan, parks designated by consensus planning were put on hold in 2001 due to a proposed National Grasslands Park remain in limbo with some now threatened by logging, even though most of them are not grasslands. As well, protected old growth is being logged and mining threatens a wildlife area. Yet, the NDP is refusing a land use planning re-boot. 

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) has approximately 20 percent of the cut and they are irresponsibly logging in community watersheds, which damages water quality and quantity, as well as poses erosion risks. In order for us to better understand the risks of proposed BCTS logging on a landslide prone hillside in a nearby local community watershed, we have requested a copy of the hydrological study, but were refused. Consequently, complaints have been filed with the Forest Practices Board and we have submitted Freedom of Information requests for the document.

 

The final forest liquidation is laying waste to essential fish and wildlife habitat, especially the endangered species like caribou, owls and salmon and eliminating the final remnants of coastal old growth forests on Vancouver Island. Critical habitat for the mountain caribou adjacent to Wells Gray Provincial Park has been clearcut and more logging has been approved. Logging is not the only problem, as fracking development is degrading northern habitat with roads and drilling pads. The NDP promised to bring in endangered species legislation and although the bill has been drafted, it has been delayed with no implementation in sight. 

Logging is not the only problem, as fracking development is degrading northern habitat with roads and drilling pads. The NDP promised to bring in endangered species legislation and although the bill has been drafted, it has been delayed with no implementation in sight. 

To summarize, the NDP is not reversing the corporate give-away policies of the BC Liberals, thus allowing the final liquidation of British Columbia’s publicly owned forests, which will increase the number of floods and fires, destroy more fish wildlife habitat, and produce more debts rather than benefits for the province, while many of the profits are flowing to corporations that have invested in mills south of the border. We are now witnessing the final liquidation of the province’s once massive tracts of forests and opposition is futile. 

Jim Cooperman was a dedicated provincial forest activist in the 1990s and now concentrates on local activities. His bioregional book, Everything Shuswap, is a regional best seller.

New agricultural waste regulations will not protect water quality

New agricultural waste regulations will not protect water quality

In January 2017, Shuswap Environmental Action Society submitted a brief to the B.C. government’s Agricultural Waste Control Regulations Review that was tasked to provide recommendations to improve regulations for agricultural practices province-wide in order to better safeguard drinking water quality. On February 28, 2019, the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation was replaced by the Agricultural Environmental Management Code of Practice, which provides more rigorous requirements for applying fertilizer and wastes to agricultural lands.

Upon review SEAS has determined that the new Code still does not immediately address the problems caused by excess phosphorus and it allows non-professionals to prepare plans. Initially, nutrient management plans are only required if fields test too high for nitrates and requirements for these plans to address problems caused by excessive phosphorus levels will not be required for five years.

The Code defines qualified professionals as either someone who “is registered in British Columbia with the person’s appropriate professional association, acts under that professional association’s code of ethics and is subject to disciplinary action by that professional association” or “ through suitable education, experience, accreditation and knowledge may be reasonably relied on to provide advice within the person’s area of expertise as it relates to this code.” Any person employed by farmers to prepare plans would be in a conflict of interest and thus these plans could never replace effective oversight by government experts.

While the Shuswap Basin is identified as a “phosphorus-affected area,” the designation does not affect management until the year 2024.

Nonetheless, the new Code does forbid the spreading of manure on fields with over 50% snow coverage, frozen or flooded fields, or if the manure could enter a stream. It requires testing of both nitrates and phosphorus, and stipulates that plans be implemented.

Yet, like a house of cards, the entire new system is dependent upon viable and effective monitoring and enforcement. Any action to prevent pollution from excessive application of agricultural wastes to soils already saturated with phosphorus and/or nitrates is dependent upon the efforts of conservation officers, who already have an excessive workload.

“We are disappointed that the lengthy process to revise the regulations, which began in 2009, did not result in significant improvements to management,” explained Jim Cooperman. “Consequently, it is likely that industrial diary operations that routinely spread liquid manure on fields that already have elevated levels of phosphorus, will continue and thus pose higher risks to water quality in Mara and Shuswap Lakes,” Cooperman added.

Here is where you can find the new legislation and other details about it – BC Environment

Here is the 2007 study about agricultural soils that show how how Shuswap River Valley agricultural soils are already saturated with phosphorus – Okanagan_soil_study_report_2007

2018 Adams River salmon run lowest on record

Watershed Watch Salmon Society and Shuswap Environmental Action Society

Media Release

February 11, 2019

DFO allowed overfishing of Fraser River sockeye salmon in 2018: New data from spawning grounds

Iconic Adams River run among the hardest hit

Vancouver, BC — Fisheries and Oceans Canada was estimating there were 6 million late-summer run sockeye returning last August and September when it allowed 2.7 million fish to be harvested. Last week, when the final spawning numbers were released, it turns out only 4.27 million can be accounted for between the number that were caught and the number that spawned.

“Fishery managers and the Fisheries Minister ignored obvious warning signs and allowed aggressive fishing based on flawed, risky assumptions,” said Aaron Hill of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

The iconic Adams River population was hit particularly hard, with only 535,564 fish making it home to spawn; far short of the predicted return and the lowest on record for this dominant cycle. All but one of the other late summer Fraser sockeye runs also had extremely low returns.

“By mid-October, we feared the return was going to be much worse than what was being claimed in the media, because we did not see the numbers of fish in the Adams River that should have been there for a return as large as the fishery managers had predicted,” said Jim Cooperman, President of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society.

The 2018 late-summer sockeye were the progeny of the 2014 run, which itself was overfished by a staggering 1.4 million fish. Several late-summer run Fraser sockeye populations were recently listed as “endangered”, “threatened” or of “special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an arms-length federal science body, and are being considered for protection and rebuilding under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

The numbers released on Friday by DFO and the Pacific Salmon Commission clearly tell the story of what happened to the late summer run. While the pre-season expectation was 7.4 million, the majority of the fishing decisions were based on a run estimate of 6 million, but the final total return (catch plus spawners) was only 4.29 million; an overestimation of 30%.

“It is a wonder they were only this far off,” continued Hill. “The scientists were estimating there were between 1.8 and 6.6 million late-run sockeye headed for the Fraser. They had no idea how many sockeye were actually there, but the managers went with a higher number in order to allow aggressive fishing, and the Minister let it happen.”

The Pacific Salmon Commission is the joint Canada-US management agency that provides data and recommendations to the Fraser River Panel, which is responsible for designing and implementing the fisheries. Last summer, the panel, which is dominated by salmon fishermen, reduced the late-time sockeye ‘management adjustment’ to near zero (the number of sockeye added to spawning targets to account for fish that die between the river mouth and the spawning grounds). This both decreased any ‘buffer’ they had against such overestimations and increased the number of fish theoretically available to harvest. The panel exceeded their planned “allowable exploitation rate” of 58.4 percent on late-run sockeye, with a final rate of 62.9 percent. It was only due to luck that the harvest was not greater and the damage to the population more severe, as allowable catches of up to 3.5 million sockeye were possible if they had been able to identify additional fishing opportunities.

“They were aware of the uncertainty and risk inherent in estimating how many late-timed sockeye were delaying in the Gulf of Georgia, since the same scenario played out last time around, in 2014, with the same disastrous results.” said Greg Taylor, senior fisheries advisor for Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “Yet they decided to fish hard anyway.”

“Our iconic sockeye salmon are already struggling due to the impacts of climate change, fish farms and loss of habitat. One would think that the management direction should be precautionary and focused on conservation to rebuild the stocks, yet the overall goal continues to be exploitation,” said Cooperman. “Industry and DFO managed the northern cod to extinction and now they are repeating the same mistakes again on the West coast.”

“To reverse the downward spiral, we must change the pattern of exploitation that began when the first canneries were built on the coast at the beginning of the last century and learn from the way First Nations managed salmon populations for thousands of years,” concluded Taylor.

Taylor suggests a combination of robust compliance monitoring with the reintroduction of known-stock fisheries, which harvest large proportions of the fish near their spawning grounds, where they can be accurately counted, thus ensuring enough fish return to spawn to sustain the stocks before fishing commences.

Contact:

Greg Taylor, Senior Fisheries Advisor
Watershed Watch Salmon Society and Fish First Consulting
gtaylor.fishfirst@gmail.com
604-970-0277 cell, 250-537-2399

Jim Cooperman, President
Shuswap Environmental Action Society
jcoop@ribaa.ca, 250-679-3693, cell 250-319-4197

Aaron Hill, Executive Director
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
aaron@watershedwatch.ca
250-818-0054

BACKGROUNDERS

Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2018 Late Run Sockeye preliminary spawning escapement estimates

2018 Fraser Summary Near Final spreadsheet compiled by Greg Taylor, Fish First Consulting

Video: Saving Wild Salmon by Changing the Way We Fish

Feb. 13th CBC Interview with Greg Taylor – Adams River 1

Feb. 14th CBC interview with DFO spokesperson Jennifer Nener Adams River 2

Talkback response to the DFO interview:

Hopefully, listeners who heard the DFO spokesperson respond to the valid concerns about the diminishing salmon caused by overfishing will have realized that she is but an apologist for for government and the fishing industry. She tried to convince us that the low return to the Fraser River and the lowest return on record to the Adams River was not a problem because it was just a bit less than what they anticipated. She wants to the public to think that the problem is the uncertainty of estimating the late run rather than the fishing quota that is based on this uncertainty. Of course, she avoided telling that the Fraser River Panel that determines the fishing quotas is primarily made up of commercial fishing advocates and despite the uncertainty, they always focus on maximizing exploitation of salmon, despite the fact these fish are threatened by climate change, habitat destruction and diseases and sea lice from fish farms. Hopefully, the public does not buy into this cover-up and realize that better efforts are needed to protect our iconic salmon.