In addition to general feedback, the SDG is seeking stakeholder input on Indicator 6.7.2 of Principle 6 (Environmental Values and Impacts), as outlined below.
Criteria 6.7: The Organization* shall* protect* or restore* natural watercourses, water bodies*, riparian zones* and their connectivity*. The Organization* shall* avoid negative impacts on water quality and quantity and mitigate and remedy those that occur. (C6.5 and 10.2 P&C V4)
Headwater Stream Protection - Questions for Consultation:
Indicator 6.7.2 - Management measures for headwater streams [with native vegetation riparian zones] [all areas in the management unit] include buffer zones, machinery exclusion zones or filter strips that extend a minimum of 10 metres from the stream bank. Such zones are increased where required for the management of slope, erosion risk or threatened species. (New)
Stakeholder feedback is sought on whether 10m buffer zones, machinery exclusions zones or filter strips for headwater streams can or should apply to all forest and non-forest areas in the management unit (including plantations) or only to those areas with native vegetation riparian zones.
The issues being considered are the need for protection of streams and water quality (and associated habitat) with the land use practicalities (net plant-able area), along with practicalities of mechanical harvest operations, particularly where plantations may already be established within these areas and therefore included in business planning and restrictions may create legitimate financial viability, environmental and safety issues.
Note: the information bracketed represent two potential alternatives of 6.7.2 that will be subject to forest testing.
Stakeholder input is sought on these specific issues:
- Should 10m minimum buffers, machinery exclusion zones or filter strips for headwater streams apply to only streams containing native vegetation riparian zones, or all areas of a forest management unit (native and non-native)?
- What would be the potential negative impacts if 10m buffers, machinery exclusion zones or filter strips wereapplied to non-native areas?
- What would be the potential negative impacts if 10m buffers, machinery exclusion zones or filter strips were not applied to non-native areas?
The SDG is seeking detailed reasons, with supporting references and/or specific information.
- What other measurable performance outcomes for the protection of water quality may be applicable to plantation or non-native riparian areas, as an alternative to 10m minimum buffers, machinery exclusion zones or filter strips, in order to achieve protection of streams and water quality?