Decision on logging in Pemberton watershed rests with Kuster 

Forest district manager evaluating information, must decide if proposal ‘adequately manages and conserves forest resources’

As Pemberton council prepares to throw everything but the kitchen sink at CRB Logging and Weyerhaeuser in a bid to stop a proposed logging operation, Pemberton’s own Integrated Watershed Management Plan and the issue of fireproofing have emerged as key arguments in the debate.

The Pemberton council, the Ministry of Forests, local logger Weldon Talbot and other special interest groups, developed the Integrated Watershed Management Plan, or IWMP, in the early 1980s as a guide for logging in the watershed.

The IWMP is relevant in this case because a small part of the area CRB is proposing to log on behalf of Weyerhaeuser is inside Pemberton’s watershed.

Talbot, who has logged in the watershed for 20 years and is one of two people both CRB and the council have referred to as an "expert", said the IWMP took "about seven years" to complete.

"What it involved was that all the stakeholders at the time said if there was to be logging, then what had to be done before it would be allowed," said Talbot.

"The result was that there would be a portion cut where we (loggers) operate and there would be an allowable cut for the watershed that would be sustainable.

"I believe it’s a 100-year rotation, so as long you met all this different criteria, like having reserves of 100 metres on either side of Pemberton Creek… then you were allowed to log."

Talbot said the IWMP allowed for 2,500 cubic metres of annual logging in the Pemberton watershed.

This is a significant point because Talbot has the contract to take that amount from the area every year, so if CRB starts logging in the area it will breech the recommendations made in the IWMP.

The good news for CRB is that the IWMP is not law, it’s simply a guide, but if it is broken there might be other repercussions.

For instance, Talbot could be forced to reduce the amount of logging he does in the watershed to accommodate CRB, or the Ministry of Forests could allow CRB to do some extra logging in the watershed, but this is something that would outrage environmental groups.

Either way, CRB’s plan to log the area behind the Signal Hill elementary school is facing stiff opposition and the man in the middle of it all is Ministry of Forests Squamish District Manager Paul Kuster.

Kuster’s job is to ensure CRB/Weyerhaeuser’s plan will "adequately manage and conserve the forest resources in the area," and if they do then Kuster does not have the power to stop logging.

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