A Forest Practices Board investigation was launched after a complaint was received from a trapper in the Cariboo area.
The investigation found that BC Timber Sales is meeting government expectations to manage habitat for fishers (a type of weasel) and has accommodated the trapper’s interests in their plans and practices.
“Our investigation found that government has provided forest licensees in the Cariboo Natural Resource Region with clear expectations for managing fisher habitat, and district managers used their powers under the Forest and Range Practices Act to ensure those expectations are being met,” said Kevin Kriese, chair, Forest Practices Board. “The district managers placed conditions on the approval of forest stewardship plans to ensure they would address fisher habitat needs. This is a constructive approach to ensure wildlife values are addressed in forestry operations.”
According to the Forest Practices Board, the trapper was concerned that timber harvesting was removing habitat for furbearers, and was affecting his ability to make a living. They say the trapper does not believe there should be any more harvesting permitted in his trapline, which covers 13,500 hectares north of Highway 24, between 100 Mile House and Clearwater. This area is in the traditional territories of the Canim Lake Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Nothern Secwepemc Nation, Secwepemc Nation, and Simpcw First Nation. The trapper reportedly consulted with BC Timber Sales and provided input into the planning process, which was accepted.
The Forest Practices Board says government in the Cariboo has done more to ensure fisher habitat conservation than seen in other areas where similar complaints have been investigated., but the report notes it remains to be seen how effective these actions will be. Specific measures taken listed by the board include using the provincial fisher tool to assess habitat, using a qualified biologist to verify habitat, establishing a wildlife corridor, leaving wider reserves beside streams and wetlands, and protecting active fisher dens and rest trees identified during road building or timber harvesting.