14th July 2018
EDITORS NOTE:This letter emanates from Minister Heyman's response to Ms Vaughn on the Oyster River Watershed situation.
Dear Mr O'Connor,
Please see below, a copy of the letter I originally sent to the Hon. George Heyman in May this year. Mr. Heyman's office forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Forests and I received a reply from Sharon Hadway, cc'd to you, (ref 239722, Jun 15, 2018).
In her reply, Ms Hadway suggested I bring my concerns about forest harvesting on private land directly to the MFC. I can do no better than to forward you my original letter and thank you for your attention to the concerns it raises.
Having sent the thumbdrive to Mr Heyman, I have lost track of its whereabouts. But you will be able to find the area of concern, the upper Oyster, on Google Earth. I cannot tell you how sick I feel at the destruction being wrought on our watersheds. The fact that logging standards are less restrictive on privately owned land makes a mockery of environmental stewardship.
Begin forwarded message:
Date: May 24, 2018 at 2:32:01 PM PDT
Subject: Oyster River Watershed
I am writing in regard to the Oyster River and the Oyster River watershed, Vancouver Island. This small watershed which is mostly privately owned, is a water source for the community of Black Creek; the river was historically a productive salmon river and is home to the Oyster River Enhancement Society. My concerns relate to management of the watershed given the context of climate change.
As climate change brings increased extremes of max and minimum snowfall, rainfall, heat and drought, the effects on the watershed threaten our community water supply and the ability of the Oyster to support salmon.
Despite a decent snowpack, low summer flows in the Oyster in 2017 were less than 10% of mean annual flow, a level at which fish habitat approaches 'severe degradation'. Good management of our watershed must take into consideration the new reality of climate change.
In line with proposals by Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition, the Oyster River watershed needs a water sustainability plan designed to protect critical flow volumes and water quality. Private forest land management standards need be raised to a level which acknowledges the multiple uses and users of the watershed, (allowing the headwaters of the Oyster to be logged was a travesty of good management). And there should be no mining in a community watershed. (Low flows and flooding raise the risk of pollution).
Take care of our watershed and it will take care of us. I thank you for your urgent attention to this matter and look forward to your reply.
Yours sincerely, Amanda Vaughan,
PS Oct 2018 I hired a photographer to take an aerial video of the Oyster corridor. Costs were such that I did not go along for the trip. I am sending you the 5min video on a thumbdrive. You can see the fresh logging of the old growth Douglas-fir around Pearl Lake, just outside Strathcona Park. If you look at Adrian Creek, a tributary of the Oyster, on Google Earth, you will see that it has been logged right to the river in places.