TIMBERWEST CHIEF FORESTER Domenico Iannidinardo is pictured in the Comox Valley watershed.

Could eliminating large-scale logging improve Comox Valley water?

A proposal suggests land-use designations need to change to eliminate large-scale logging in the Comox Lake watershed.

This is the second in a three-part series about sustainable use in the Comox Lake Watershed.

The Proposal for a Comox Lake Watershed Sustainable Use Recreation Area suggests land-use designations need to change to eliminate large-scale logging in the watershed.

Private forest companies own about 65 per cent of watershed lands, which are open to the international market. TimberWest owns 60 per cent.

The Comox Valley Conservation Strategy Community Partnership, which penned the proposal, foresees the long-term importance of a community-owned watershed. Options could include buying the land, or making an arrangement where TimberWest is compensated for harvesting.

“They could have some long-term revenue streams out of the watershed and still own it, but they just couldn’t do what they’ve been doing,” project manager David Stapley said. “There would have to be some kind of economic compensation for that.”

That would require negotiations with a willing partner, he added.

“We see it as an opportunity,” Stapley said. “What’s going to happen in the long run with climate change? We’ve got to think long-term.”

The partnership condones selective logging but says clear-cut, industrial-scale logging in the watershed causes turbidity.

“Small-scale, ecologically based logging could occur in the watershed, but it has to be done in ecologically sound forest practices,” Stapley said.

“We do selective harvesting,” said Domenico Iannidinardo, chief forester at TimberWest. “The forest regeneration is not going to be compromised, because Douglas fir trees need sun to regenerate.

“It’s very difficult to regenerate a stand in most places in the Comox watershed without some form of clear-cutting. We plant trees right away and they need sunshine right away, or invasive species and other non-desirable species take over and start to devalue the forest ecosystem.”

Iannidinardo noted a safety element in the steep terrain of the watershed, where it can be dangerous to selectively harvest — hence the importance of allowing an opportunity for clear-cutting or open-stand harvesting.

He feels a lighter disturbance means a bigger footprint.

“With selective harvesting it’s necessary to build more roads and maintain a larger active road network. And it’s active roads that are the biggest risk for turbidity,” Iannidinardo said.

“We leave big reserves around streams now (compared to the first half of the 20th century). Now we leave buffers, we have geotechnical and biologists, all part of our planning.

“We deactivate roads but we’re not using them … These reduce the risk of sedimentation.”

Jack Minard, executive director of the Comox Valley Land Trust, said TimberWest is managing its product, but the partnership is concerned with managing long-term ecosystem health.

He agrees that, if clear-cutting, the company can put in a merchantable species. However, inside the drinking watershed, logging poses threats.

“It’s not just logging, and it’s not all logging, it’s just one of those potentials,” Minard said. “It’s likely the road building, the trucks coming and going. These are the biggest threats.

“Why do it in our drinking watershed? It’s the modern day and age. People are eliminating these things from drinking sheds all over the world, and the only reason we’re not doing it is because we have profit-managed forests.”

He noted TimberWest has offered a roundtable discussion, but resources are a problem for the partnership.

“Water quality is an integral part of our forest planning process,” said Iannidinardo, noting TimberWest staff includes a water quality technologist. Hazard assessments include monitoring for turbidity in active areas and over the long-term.

The company also believes harvesting one area at a time is better for animals in terms of not interrupting the stages of their lifecycle.

See Thursday’s Comox Valley Record for the third and final part of the series, which looks at managing public access in the Comox watershed.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A couple of clients took a break from the cold in January on opening day of the Connect Warming Centre. File photo
Courtenay council approves lease extension for Warming Centre

Courtenay council has approved a one-year lease extension and continued in-kind support… Continue reading

From left, NDP party leader John Horgan, Kus-kus-sum project manager Tim Ennis (with his daughter, Kestrel), K’omoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel, and Courtenay-Comox NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard pose for a photo across the estuary from the Kus-kus-sum site. Photo by Terry Farrell
B.C. VOTES 2020: Horgan promises to bridge Kus-kus-sum funding gap

NDP leader John Horgan made what could amount to a major financial… Continue reading

The three candidates vying for the Courtenay-Comox riding: Ronna-Rae Leonard (NDP) Brennan Day (Liberal) and Gillian Anderson (Green)
BC VOTES 2020 – Courtenay-Comox candidates address affordable housing

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Comox riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Hospice Society recently received a generous donation from a personal donor to help fill a fundraising gap created by COVID-19. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Comox Valley Hospice Society receives significant donation

CVHS is facing a fundraising shortage created by the pandemic

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A screenshot from the virtual all-candidates meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. (SCREENSHOT)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates weigh in on forestry, tourism, LNG

For the first time ever, Alberni Valley Chamber hosted a virtual all-candidates’ meeting

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Most Read