Municipal Forest Reserve Review

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North Cowichan is reviewing its forest reserve management practices, with the intent to develop options for a future management plan.

Thank you for participating in Round 2 of public engagement (November 2022 to January 2023), which asked people to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.


Previous public engagement

Round 2 (Fall 2022) asked people to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. These scenarios were developed by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting) that considered input on values heard during Round 1 in Fall 2021. The scenarios reflect ecological, economic, and social criteria and indicators, and represent a spectrum of timber harvesting and carbon credit revenue options.

During this round, people could participate in an information session (in-person November 30, 2022, and online December 6 & 12, 2022). An online survey asked people to rank the four scenarios from most prefered to least prefered, and to say why. A polling company conducted a representative survey in December 2022 (by phone) of North Cowichan residents, using the same questions.

  • Watch the presentation portion of the Dec. 12 online information session
  • The Round 2 Discussion Guide is an overview of the scenario options, plus relevant background information on the process.

Feedback heard during Round 2 public engagement will be presented to Council as part of a ‘what we heard’ report. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.

During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) stakeholders and the public were invited to share their values about the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR). Four virtual online workshops, a survey, and 19 stakeholder interviews resulted in a detailed report that outlined what people value about the MFR.


Working group and stakeholder involvement

A broad range of stakeholders, along with the public, can share their thoughts on the MFR.

An Engagement Working Group made up of North Cowichan residents from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints meet to provide important advice and input on the engagement process. A list of members as well as minutes from these meetings can be found in the Documents section of this page.

First Nation involvement

In August, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by North Cowichan and the Quw'utsun Nation, which is comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Lyackson First Nation. The MOU outlines the establishment of a Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) Working Group to share information in relationship to the stewardship and use of the MFR for the benefit of the community. The agreement signifies the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR.

Background of the review

In response to public interest in harvesting activities and requests for a review of forest management, Council dramatically limited harvesting in 2019 and initiated two initiatives: 1) undertaking public engagement, both deep and broad, on the future management of the MFR and 2) a technical review of forest management practices, options, and scenarios. The technical review will support the public engagement process by providing the information needed for informed public participation, and the public engagement process will inform the evaluation of the technical scenarios and options.

About the MFR

The Municipality of North Cowichan is one of the few communities in North America that owns and manages forest lands for the benefit of residents. North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve is different from community forests or tree farm licenses, as it is owned by the Municipality and not a licence granted by the Province.

  • The MFR is 5,000+ hectares (ha) and accounts for approximately 25% of the land base in North Cowichan.

  • The MFR consists of six major land holdings: Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, Mount Tzouhalem, Stoney Hill, Mount Richards, and Maple Mountain, plus a number of smaller parcels including Grace Road, Panorama Ridge, and near Cottonwood Road behind the Fuller Lake arena.

  • Since 1946, the MFR has been owned and managed as a working forest. The current annual harvesting allowance is 20,000 cubic meters.

  • Forest management on Maple Mountain is informed by the Municipality’s Framework for Integrated Forest Resource Management for Maple Mountain (1992) that seeks to balance harvesting, recreation, and conservation for that area.

  • One of the ways that the Municipality seeks to ensure sustainability of the MFR is by replanting harvested areas at the earliest possible time with the best seedling stock available. Species that naturally occur in this area are replanted, namely Douglas-fir, western red cedar, and western white pine.

For more information

Learn more about the Municipal Forest Reserve and related programs such as community contributions, forestry reports, and fire protection at North Cowichan Forestry.

North Cowichan is reviewing its forest reserve management practices, with the intent to develop options for a future management plan.

Thank you for participating in Round 2 of public engagement (November 2022 to January 2023), which asked people to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.


Previous public engagement

Round 2 (Fall 2022) asked people to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. These scenarios were developed by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting) that considered input on values heard during Round 1 in Fall 2021. The scenarios reflect ecological, economic, and social criteria and indicators, and represent a spectrum of timber harvesting and carbon credit revenue options.

During this round, people could participate in an information session (in-person November 30, 2022, and online December 6 & 12, 2022). An online survey asked people to rank the four scenarios from most prefered to least prefered, and to say why. A polling company conducted a representative survey in December 2022 (by phone) of North Cowichan residents, using the same questions.

  • Watch the presentation portion of the Dec. 12 online information session
  • The Round 2 Discussion Guide is an overview of the scenario options, plus relevant background information on the process.

Feedback heard during Round 2 public engagement will be presented to Council as part of a ‘what we heard’ report. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.

During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) stakeholders and the public were invited to share their values about the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR). Four virtual online workshops, a survey, and 19 stakeholder interviews resulted in a detailed report that outlined what people value about the MFR.


Working group and stakeholder involvement

A broad range of stakeholders, along with the public, can share their thoughts on the MFR.

An Engagement Working Group made up of North Cowichan residents from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints meet to provide important advice and input on the engagement process. A list of members as well as minutes from these meetings can be found in the Documents section of this page.

First Nation involvement

In August, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by North Cowichan and the Quw'utsun Nation, which is comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Lyackson First Nation. The MOU outlines the establishment of a Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) Working Group to share information in relationship to the stewardship and use of the MFR for the benefit of the community. The agreement signifies the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR.

Background of the review

In response to public interest in harvesting activities and requests for a review of forest management, Council dramatically limited harvesting in 2019 and initiated two initiatives: 1) undertaking public engagement, both deep and broad, on the future management of the MFR and 2) a technical review of forest management practices, options, and scenarios. The technical review will support the public engagement process by providing the information needed for informed public participation, and the public engagement process will inform the evaluation of the technical scenarios and options.

About the MFR

The Municipality of North Cowichan is one of the few communities in North America that owns and manages forest lands for the benefit of residents. North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve is different from community forests or tree farm licenses, as it is owned by the Municipality and not a licence granted by the Province.

  • The MFR is 5,000+ hectares (ha) and accounts for approximately 25% of the land base in North Cowichan.

  • The MFR consists of six major land holdings: Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, Mount Tzouhalem, Stoney Hill, Mount Richards, and Maple Mountain, plus a number of smaller parcels including Grace Road, Panorama Ridge, and near Cottonwood Road behind the Fuller Lake arena.

  • Since 1946, the MFR has been owned and managed as a working forest. The current annual harvesting allowance is 20,000 cubic meters.

  • Forest management on Maple Mountain is informed by the Municipality’s Framework for Integrated Forest Resource Management for Maple Mountain (1992) that seeks to balance harvesting, recreation, and conservation for that area.

  • One of the ways that the Municipality seeks to ensure sustainability of the MFR is by replanting harvested areas at the earliest possible time with the best seedling stock available. Species that naturally occur in this area are replanted, namely Douglas-fir, western red cedar, and western white pine.

For more information

Learn more about the Municipal Forest Reserve and related programs such as community contributions, forestry reports, and fire protection at North Cowichan Forestry.

Questions and answers

Have a question about the Municipal Forest Reserve Review? Ask it here. Questions will be answered within three to four business days. 

You need to be signed in to add your question.

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    Where are we at with the decision making on this? Has UBC presented to council yet? Thanks!

    Kaleb asked about 2 months ago

    Municipal staff continue to engage with the Quw’utsun Nation about the Municipal Forestry Review, respecting the commitments made in the signed Memorandum of Understanding. It is expected that further information and updates will be provided in the first quarter of 2024.

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    I can't find on this webpage any of the biological studies that went into informing the scenarios. Where would I find that? I'm looking for the sensitive and rare vegetation communities, wetlands, watercourses, breeding bird studies, anuran breeding studies, mammal use, etc. Also, at the Maple Bay firehall meeting the presenter said that recreational and other economic opportunities were not studied. Why not? Why was only forestry looked at as revenue for these lands?

    NicholasalohciN asked about 1 year ago

    Publicly available forestry related reports can be found on the North Cowichan website under Forestry Reports. The Forestry Interactive Webmap provides a wealth of data related to the forests, including the sensitive ecosystem inventory data. Use the layers feature to toggle this information along with a wide variety of other forestry related information that was used as part of the UBC Groups analysis.

    The scope of the UBC Partnership Group scenario examination did not allow for detailed analysis of revenues from multiple recreation sectors/uses. Exploring the wide variety of recreational users and the factors that could affect or influence economic opportunities under each scenario would be a difficult to undertake. Given there was little data readily available to help support the UBC Partnership Group to accurately distinguish recreation revenue among scenarios, they were all ranked the same in the analysis. 

    February 1, 2023 follow up question (by email) to this question:

    It seems the forestry map isn't informed by the municipality's watercourse and wetlands mapping. Why is this? This seems like a deficiency and leads to misinformation relating to protected areas.

    Answer to follow up question:

    Thanks for your additional question. The SEI assessments on Mount Tzouhalem were done in 2018 based on the watercourse inventory information, which is outdated. The contractor did field verify the data is some areas and found it to be unreliable so they did the best they could with the information they had available to them. In 2019, our GIS department used LiDAR data, along with other data sources from the Province in an attempt to update the watercourse information throughout the Municipality. This update was meant to show where water courses could be based on the latest information however the data sources used are not definitive nor are they field verified. It is for this reason the SEI data and the current watercourse information on the North Cowichan webmap do not align. As data is improves over time, the SEI and watercourse information will be updated.

    The watercourse data is a planning tool meant to highlight areas of potential concern and/or point out areas where further assessment may be required if there is an overlap with a planned activity. As with any activity planned in the Municipal Forest Reserve, an extensive ground review is conducted that would identify any water courses that may or may not reflect the GIS watercourse data and the appropriate actions would be taken. 

     

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    In the Carbon Credit system, WHO gets the carbon credits? I have read the proposal, and there is no clarification on how the carbon credit system would work, where the credits would be used etc. If I am asked, as a taxpayer, to make up for the $500,000 currently being spent a year for forest maintenance, that previously was covered by logging, do I then get a share of of the carbon credits? ( why would I need them anyway ?). The forest was self funding until it was shut down, and we are now on our last year of reserve funds. Who pays for the #3, and #4 scenarios?

    A. Richards asked about 1 year ago

    Should Council direct staff to include carbon sequestration as part of a preferred forest management scenario, staff would need to explore options and opportunities on how carbon offsets could be marketed, where they could be sold and what agent(s) may be interested in purchasing them. The Forestry budget is presented to Council on an annual basis as part of the Municipal budget approval process. During this process, staff seek Council direction on operating budgets and how they will be funded. Staff will present a recommended budget based on the forest management direction set by Council and seek direction on operational expenses that would include forest maintenance activities.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What is MNC doing to help bring back the historical/cultural practices of First Nations food/rights of passage. How much is this a part of the bigger picture?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    Any historical or cultural First Nations practices in relation to the forest would be initiated by the Quw’utsun Nation through the MOU process.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What are the new ways of replanting in the scenarios?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    Replanting methods were not reviewed as part of the scenario analysis work. Should replanting be part of the future management direction provided by Council, the operational details such as replanting methods will be considered as part of the Forest Management Plan development.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) I have a question regarding the cost of harvesting in the 3 scenarios that involve harvesting. Is there a breakdown of these costs? I’m particularly interested in the amount paid in wages for all work related to harvesting; cut block layout, road building (and decommissioning after harvest), harvesting, hauling, stand tending (if any). Finally, the net revenue benefit that MNC uses towards tax reduction. Is there a graph that shows the value of carbon credit over the last 10 years and projections into the future. Has a multiplier effect calculation been done? I am especially interested in wages paid but of course wages are dependent on the health of the companies that they work for.

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    The costs under each scenario are estimated based on $/m³ pricing realized from recent harvesting within the Municipal Forest Reserve. These costs do not include associated operational costs such as layout, future silviculture activities, road works etc. as it would be difficult to predict the conditions that could influence these costs without knowing specific operational details of the directed forest management direction. 

    A graph showing the simulated net revenue over the next 30 year time frame for both carbon credits and timber revenue was included in the UBC Partnership Group presentation on page 35. This graph does not include past pricing information.  

    A 2% annual increase was applied to the timber net revenue calculations and a startup cost of $175,000 including $20,000 annual maintenance cost was applied with the carbon project revenue calculations. This information is included in the UBC Partnership Group presentation on page 36.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) How much money have the tax payers lost so far from not harvesting logs ? How much money is in the reserve funds from prior harvesting. How much money has being spent for this study so far ?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    Financial information is included as part of the Annual Forestry Report in Appendix C.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) Why is Passive Conservation rated higher for water services and visual qualities than active conservation? How does active conservation harm water or visual quality?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    The Passive Conversation rating is slightly higher for visual quality as there is some harvesting considered in this scenario that could influence visual quality objectives. The water services rating and the overall ecological score are the same for both scenarios.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What are the past harvesting practices and historical context that have led to the 16,500 - 17,500 harvest quota?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    The chosen harvest amount of ~17,500 is derived from averages of past harvest volume. The model program used tends to “over harvest” during simulated runs so the target harvest volume was set lower to account for this.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) Is there any information that the rock climbing community could provide to support more accurate modelling for the recreation revenue?

    ConnectAdmin asked about 1 year ago

    We recognize that recreation is important to both North Cowichan residents and the people that come to visit, which is why we [UBC Group] initially considered it as one of the criteria and indicators. Exploring the wide variety of recreational users and the factors that could affect or influence each type of potential recreational use under each scenario would be a difficult to undertake. Given there was little data readily available to help support the UBC Partnership Group to accurately distinguish recreation revenue among scenarios, they were all ranked the same.

    Any newly available information could be considered as part of the forest management plan development but the scope of the UBC Partnership Group scenario analysis did not allow for detailed analysis of revenues from multiple recreation sectors/uses.

Page last updated: 12 Feb 2024, 02:02 PM