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jiinanga - the last watershed

jiinanga also known as Government Creek is one of the fourteen Council of the Haida Nation Protected Areas and is the last unlogged watershed in Skidegate Channel West, Skidegate Narrows, and
Skidegate Inlet.

jiinanga is located at the west end of Skidegate Narrows. The watershed is approximately 1,770 hectares. TimberWest, the licence holder, considers 1,230 hectares to be loggable and that area contains about 610,000 cubic metres (1 cubic metre equals 1 telephone pole.)
The watershed was once considered for preservation under the provincial Old Growth Strategy but was then referred to a Local Resource Use Planning Process (LRUP) in 1991. The LRUP had one roundtable meeting in February 1992 and then stalled due to objections put forward by the Council of the Haida Nation that no logging take place in the watershed, a second attempt to move the process forward was made by MoF a year or so ago.

TimberWest has again been asked by MoF to start some sort of planning process in the watershed. It is not clear at this time whether this will be a public LRMP process or some sort of 'higher level' planning. Regardless of the planning process, road and cutting permits for logging in Government Creek have been submitted to MoF by TimberWest. What is shaping up is the scenario that is referred to locally as 'log and talk.' This same scenario is looming for the Tlell Watershed.

The way it works is that 'non-contentious blocks' within the described area are approved for logging by MoF while discussion takes place about planning for the remaining area. Tlell Watershed Society and ICSI policy both prescribe to the planning process being completed before logging can take place.

Impacts will be faced

At an ICSI meeting Tuesday, May 21 at the MoF Board Room the minutes reflect that District Manager Bob Brash "made some general comments on the issue. He believes that if we don't plan now and log now, we will have to face the impacts. He further commented that he would not issue road permits in a contentious area where there would be likelihood of a blockade. The MoF would then have only achieved creating conflict." At the same meeting Brash "assured the group that no permits would be issued until we have discussed a planning process." Guujaaw "reaffirmed the need for ICSI to stand by its principles, ICSI needs to maintain its credibility and it can not do that by giving in on issues such as (jiinanga) Government Creek.
Before any access (can be given) to the area for harvesting, an ecobased planning process must be complete and approved by a Community Resources Board, and a Forest Ecosystem Network* (FEN) to Security Inlet mus be established."

ICSI wants planning

The ICSI CONSENSUS document 9.4 Government Creek states that "prior to the issuance of cutting permits, an integrated watershed planning process must be completed and the plan approved by the Community Resource Board.

jiinanga is the last unlogged watershed on Skidegate Inlet as was Waterfall Creek the last unlogged watershed on Masset Inlet.
Ralph Friedrich is the RPF for TimberWest and MoF's Bob Brash has sign-off on permits to log jiinanga. ·

*A FEN or Forest Ecosystem Network is a "network of representative old-growth and mature forests delineated in a managed landscape. Not only does a FEN aim to meet the needs of native species and ecological processes, it also serves to maintain or restore the natural connectivity within a landscape unit.

FENs are composed of a variety of protected areas, as well as classified areas (such as riparian management areas and wildlife habitat areas), any other areas that have been designated as sensitive, high visual quality areas, and areas of unstable terrain or other conditions that make them inoperable."
- from the Forest Practices Code of BC - Biodiversity Guidebook.

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