Directors against salvage logging in Sicamous-area watersheds

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Directors are not supporting a proposal to conduct salvage logging in the Sicamous and Wiseman Creek watersheds at this time due to the high risk of landslides following the past summer’s Two Mile wildfire.

The Board was responding to a referral from BC Timber Sales, which is proposing to conduct salvage logging of burnt timber in the area.

At the Regular Board Meeting held February 17, 2022, Directors voted unanimously to recommend a temporary ban on logging in those affected areas until 2024, when the re-growth of vegetation should stabilize the slopes and reduce the geohazard risk level. A letter will be sent to BC Timber Sales with the CSRD’s recommendation.

In making the decision, the Board vote agreed with the recommendations of BCG Engineering, which was hired by the CSRD to take a closer look into the possible impacts of logging in this area. BGC Engineering has also conducted previous post-wildfire studies in the area that point to a high likelihood of a debris flow or debris flood in the Wiseman Creek watershed in the next two years.

The letter from BGC Engineering recommended two solutions:

  • Postpone salvage logging to 2024 and reassess at that time,
  • Conduct salvage logging by using best industry practices under the direction of specialized geotechnical and foresters.

The situation is particularly alarming because of the threat to the safety of the residents in the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park and protection of their property, which is located at the base of Wiseman Creek. The Shuswap Emergency Program and the District of Sicamous have been working with those residents since December to make them aware of the threat and consider options to help protect their safety.

Considering those options, BGC Engineering recommended against any salvage logging in the area, noting that promoting vegetation regrowth in the Two Mile, Sicamous Creek and Wiseman Creek drainages is critical to reducing the risk to the threatened communities in Sicamous.

The District of Sicamous has also been requested to provide a referral to BC Timber Sales on the proposed logging. This referral will be discussed by Sicamous Council at its meeting set for February 23, 2022.

Photo: Upper watershed of Wiseman Creek burned to a high severity as shown in October 2021. Photo courtesy of BGC Engineering.

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