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Horsefly River Roundtable
Box 354
Horsefly BC
V0L 1L0

www.horseflyriver.ca
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Horsefly River Roundtable

December 4, 2023

Josh Pressey
Regional Executive Director
Regional Operations Cariboo
Ministry of Forests
200-640 Borland Street
Williams Lake BC
V2G 4T1

Dear Mr. Pressey,

On April 20th, 2023 the Horsefly River Roundtable sent you a letter requesting a
moratorium on industrial forest activities in the Horsefly River Watershed. The letter
detailed eight reasons for this request and a following eight initiatives we felt should be
implemented as soon as possible. To date we have not received a reply or rebuttal of
any description from your department.

On June 7, 2018, your predecessor declared in an Order that the Horsefly River
Watershed, FR-5-001, is a Fisheries Sensitive Watershed. The Order outlined a set of
principles and practices to be followed in order to maintain natural hydrological
conditions to protect fish habitat for Sockeye, Kokanee, Chinook and Coho salmon,
Bull and Rainbow trout and other fish species.

The Horsefly River Roundtable embraced the announcement and looked forward to
improvement of water quality, ultimate protection of naturally functioning ecosystems
and an end to the continued degradation caused by industrial forest operations within
the Horsefly River Watershed.

Horsefly River Roundtable and our stakeholders continue to observe a marked
decrease of water quality caused by increased siltation and degradation of the land
base within the Horsefly River watershed. It appears harvesting pressure continues to
accelerate, without any regard for the legal objectives of Order FR-5-001 and no clear
plan for how those objectives are being, or will be met. We would appreciate a
response to our concerns outlined in the April 20th letter as it appears that the Order is
being completely ignored.

The Horsefly River Roundtable is a non-profit society formed in 2007 and made up of
stakeholders from government, First Nations, industry and the public

Horsefly River Roundtable
Box 354
Horsefly BC
V0L 1L0

www.horseflyriver.ca
Find us on Facebook@
Horsefly River Roundtable

Sincerely,
Original Signed
Hard copy mailed Dec 9 2023
Brian Englund
Horsefly River Roundtable Chair

CC: Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, Xatsul First Nation, Williams Lake First Nation,
Esketemc First Nation, Nskonlith Indian Band, Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band,
Canim Lake Band, Tyler Thibault, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Lorne
Doerkson, LA, Todd Doherty, MP, Coral Oakes, MLA, BC Premier David Eby, Sonia
Furstenau, Green Party, Mike Cullen and Minister Nathan Cullen, Ministry of Water,
Land and Resource Stewardship, and Michael Lee and Ministry Murray Rankin,
Minister of Indigenous Relations and REcondilliation, Jordan Sturdy and Kelly Greene,
Parliamentary Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnely, Parliamentary
Secretary for Watershed Restoration, Renee Marrifield and Minister George Heyman,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Canadian Wildlife Federation,
Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forests District Manager, Harold Stolar, Chief
Forester, Shane Berg, Association of Forest Professionals, CEO, Christine Gelowitz,
Forest Practices Board, Tolko, West Fraser, BCTS, Stuart Maitland, Joe Morhart, Len
Teppema, West Coast Environmental Law, Maureen Lebourdais, Cariboo Regional
District Area F Director, Horsefly Board of Trade, SAWS, Women’s Institute, Horsefly
Community Club, Miocene Community Club, HVFD AOTF, Scout Island

Download PDF Version

OPEN INVITATION OPEN HOUSE LOGGING – FISHERIES SENSITIVE WATERSHED

OCTOBER 14,2023

10AM – 2:00PM

HORSEFLY COMMUNITY HALL

MINISTRY OF FORESTS, TOLKO, WEST FRASER, BCTS

 

Five years ago the provincial government declared the Horsefly River watershed  a “Fisheries Sensitive Watershed“. The Order defines its intent as:

2. The area of land comprising the watershed listed in Schedule A requires special Management to:
i. conserve the natural hydrological conditions, natural stream bed dynamics and stream Chanel integrity,
ii. conserve the quality, quantity and timing of water flow consistent with the needs of fisheries values,
iii. Prevent cumulative hydrological effects that would have a material adverse effect on fish and fish habitat, and

The Order requires limited harvesting in the watershed as dictated by equivalent clear cut areas, and for Forest Professionals to prescribe timber harvesting activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.  Rough calculations reveal that there are areas where clear cuts surpass ordered limits.  To date, there have been no changes to harvest plans, a few vague promises and zero solid commitments.

Oh April 20, 2023, Horsefly River Roundtable communicated concerns in a letter which requested a moratorium on harvesting activities until requirements outlined in the Order could be defined.  The letter asks for the Order to be upheld, accurate measurements of clearcut areas and a definition of when young stands are no longer considered as “clear cut”.

It is evident that harmful harvesting practices blindly carry on, local Licensees, the Ministry of Forests and the Forest Professionals who work in the watershed have failed to achieve the objectives of the Order,  Lack of ongoing dialogue or collaboration with Government and Industry has left the Horsefly River Roundtable frustrated as this short-sighted approach seems to fly in the face of the intentions of the Order.

You can read the letter here.

Meanwhile, the pristine waters and sparkling spawning gravels of fifty years ago are long gone. Today we are faced with rapidly increasing siltation of spawning habitat, reduced water quality and a river bed coated with a layer of grey- green slime.

The Roundtable feels strongly that if present practices continue we are going to be left with increased land slides and wildfires, and a badly damaged ecosystem.   Achieving the Orders intent will support healthy fish, healthy wildlife and continued biodiversity

Change takes courage and does not come without sacrifice and cost but we feel time is running out.  If you share these sentiments please write or email  your Member of Parliament or any Forestry or Government Official you may feel you have influence with.

The Roundtable invites you to have your say regarding future forest related planning.  Mark your calendars and attend their Forestry Open House at the Horsefly Community Hall on October 14th from 10:00am to 2:00 pm

Finally, the Roundtable also asks that you to be vigilant when you are out in the watershed and observe, record and report anything you feel is harmful to wildlife, fisheries and ecosystem health.  Below you will find contact information for directing your concerns. Any support in this regard is helpful.

Report All Poachers and Polluters  Conservation Office 24-hour hotline: 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Here is a step by step process for reporting infractions of all types.

 

 

Posted by in AGM on April 30, 2023

 

Horsefly River Roundtable

Annual General Meeting

Will be held at the Horsefly Community Hall, Horsefly BC

June 3, 2023

10:00am – 12:00pm

Agenda

Call to Order

Introductions

Adopt Agenda

Adopt minutes from 2022 AGM

Financial Report

Review Members for Acceptance

Selection of Directors and Appointment of Chair and Secretary/Treasurer

ADJOURN

Regular meeting to follow AGM will be an open discussion regarding tasks and direction for the Society.

 

April 20, 2023

Josh Pressey
Regional Executive Director
Regional Operations Cariboo
Ministry of Forests
200-640 Borland Street
Williams Lake BC
V2G 4T1

Dear Josh,

Subject: Moratorium on all industrial forest related activities including Road Permits within the
Horsefly River Fisheries Sensitive Watershed.

An Order, signed June 7, 2018 by Michael C. Pedersen, Regional Executive Director of
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development declares the
Horsefly River Watershed, identified as FR-5-001, a Fisheries Sensitive Watershed (FSW).
The main objective is to protect the habitat of fish species which include Sockeye,
Kokanee, Chinook and Coho salmon, Bull and Rainbow trout and other fish species.

The following points support a pause in industrial forest activities.

  1. The area of clear cut logging set out in the Order is within approximately 5% of its
    allowed Equivalent Clearcut Area (ECA). There are discrepancies between agencies
    regarding current ECA status.
  2. The water quality within the FSW has steadily declined, resulting in algae bloom,
    increased siltation, warmer water temperatures and lower water levels which
    negatively affects all aquatic habitat and has caused multiple years of river fishing
    closures.
  3. The FSW provides some of the most important fish habitat in the Fraser River
    Watershed. Fisheries resources are comprised in part by Rainbow trout, a unique
    race of world class trophy size fish, which along with Sockeye salmon are biologically
    unique to the FSW at a cellular level. These two special fish along with Chinook,
    Kokanee and Coho rely heavily on the FSW for spawning and juvenile rearing.
  4. Over the last 25 years the number of imperiled species in Canada has increased
    exponentially as reported by the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation
    Council. Interior Fraser Coho were assessed as threatened in 2016 by the Committee
    on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, they were also provided with further
    protective legislation through the Fisheries Act.
  5. The BC government is committed to achieving stringent biodiversity objectives and is
    considering retaining more remnant old growth, ancient forest and big treed old
    growth. The untouched portion of the FSW is a wet, high elevation, steep alpine area
    and is integral to biodiversity and ecosystem protection. A portion of the remaining
    untouched area is classified as Interior Rain Forest.
  6. Horsefly Lake provides pristine drinking water which is relied upon by all residences.
    Throughout the FSW area subsurface aquifers supplying other local residents are also
    at risk.
  7. The FSW sees year round recreational use of fishing, camping, boating, hunting and
    winter activities which are enjoyed by First Nations, locals and visitors from all over the
    globe boosting the tourism sector.
  8. Climate change is at a precarious level globally and the effects on fisheries are
    unpredictable, the likelihood of cumulative, preventable watershed damage is probably
    high and increases the risk for further environmental instability and declining water
    quality.

The Horsefly River Roundtable and its stakeholders hereby request a immediate moratorium
on all industrial forest related activities including Road Permits within the FSW while
environmentally sensitive harvest plans are created. We request that the following points be
supported by the Association of BC Forest Professionals and the District Manager.

  1. Complete a State of the Watershed Report, including tiers 1 and 2 data.
  2. Completed hydrological impact assessments for the entire FSW including each basin
    and sub basin within it.
  3. Install and monitor sensors for water temperature, volume and suspended sediment in
    mouths of all streams draining into Horsefly River and Horsefly Lake.
  4. Thorough testing and monitoring of water quality of Horsefly Lake.
  5. Collaborate and create a standard procedure for collecting and updating ECA data,
    including a definition of stands which are hydrologically recovered and considered
    forest.
  6. Special planning and operational measures within areas of the Interior Rain Forest
    that will insure that any future development does not cause landslides, wildfires or
    excess surface erosion.
  7. Members of the Association of BC Forest Professionals practice a higher level of
    environmental stewardship and increase the size of riparian areas, assign a higher
    value to wetland complexes and related drainages and minimize allowable
    disturbance levels when prescribing forest activities in the FSW.
  8. Collaboration with all stakeholders in long term planning for effective and efficient restoration activities.

It is time to observe “Super Natural BC” and protect the Horsefly River Fisheries Sensitive
Watershed. Forest revenue in BC is forecast to decrease while tourism has been contributing
significant provincial revenue and it is forecast to increase in the coming years. Future British
Columbians depend upon both industries to maintain biodiversity, clean air and water and a
stable economy.

Sincerely,

Brian Englund
President Horsefly River Roundtable

Full Official Letter