The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has raised concerns around cutblocks proposed for the Bastion Creek watershed. (Contributed)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has raised concerns around cutblocks proposed for the Bastion Creek watershed. (Contributed)

Bastion Creek: Report shows moderate likelihood of debris flow relating to proposed cutblocks

Province provides info after denying moratorium requested by Columbia Shuswap Regional District

An engineering report on cutblocks proposed for the Bastion Creek watershed shows a moderate likelihood of a debris flow post-harvest.

After denying a request from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District for a moratorium in the Bastion Creek watershed, the province has provided the regional district with additional information regarding cutblocks proposed by BC Timber Sales (BCTS).

Among that information is an addendum that includes an April 3, 2020 report from a terrain stability assessment of the Bastion Creek area. The report determined the “likelihood of debris flow and debris flood events occurring on, and being transported down the mainstream of Bastion Creek” to be moderate for three proposed cutblocks post harvest.

In addition to showing a moderate likelihood of debris flow/flood, a table included in the addendum rates the likelihood of a landslide for one of the cutblocks, K0WG, as moderate to high, but the risk is reduced to low if provided recommendations are implemented. The addendum notes it is the responsibility of BCTS to “review this risk assessment and determine whether the residual risk… is tolerable.”

The report recommends a new study, or updating an existing March 2000 report on the “disposition of Bastion Creek to debris flood or debris flow events” to reflect current watershed conditions.

Read more: CSRD backs logging moratorium near Bastion Creek

Read more: Province denies request for moratorium on logging above Shuswap homes

A July 19 letter to CSRD chair Kevin Flynn from BC Timber Sales woodlands supervisor Warren Yablonski states BCTS is currently updating that 2000 report with a new detailed channel and debris flow assessment for the watershed, adding the field work will be completed over the next two months with a planned draft expected in mid-September.

Yablonski said safety of the public is of paramount importance to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), and that “our professionals take this responsibility very seriously and undertake this along with managing the host of values our forests provide.”

The CSRD asked the ministry for a moratorium after receiving a presentation by concerned residents of the 32-home Totem Pole Resort strata, who were concerned the logging in the watershed would increase the risk of a landslide.

On June 3, the CSRD received a reply from FLNRORD regional executive director Gerry MacDougall, who said that because of considerable measures being taken to ensure operations can be conducted in a safe manner, a moratorium is not considered necessary at this time.

The ministry’s recent provision of information is part of the CSRD board meeting scheduled for Aug. 19.
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