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Audit Released On Panuke Lake Harvest

Clear cutting was the correct technical and scientific approach for a forest harvest last summer, near Panuke Lake, Halifax Co.

The conclusion was reached by the Mersey Woodland Advisory Committee and an independent forestry auditor in a report released by government today, Feb.

26.

“The community raised serious concerns and an independent audit has concluded that government’s judgment was the right harvest based on science regarding this clear cut at Panuke Lake,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “We achieved that crucial balance needed to protect the forest while maintaining jobs in the province.”

Last October, Mr. Churchill asked the Mersey Woodlands Advisory Committee to review August’s logging operation near Panuke Lake. Committee members Gordon Beanlands and David Dagley delivered their report on Jan. 16. The committee engaged SPS Forestry & Environmental Consulting Inc. through a competitive bid process to audit the harvest.

The advisory committee represents forest contractors, fish and game associations, municipalities, paddlers, conservationists, off-highway vehicle operators and other outdoor enthusiasts.

In addition to validating government’s Panuke Lake harvest approval, the report suggested some improvements for the department to consider.

Government is postponing harvests in the environmentally sensitive zones on western Crown lands with the exception of a small area that is approved for harvest during the spring road closure. That harvest must follow government’s interim guidelines for environmentally sensitive areas on western Crown lands and will be monitored to ensure the guidelines are followed.

As part of its ongoing efforts to be open and transparent with Nova Scotians, government has already acted to improve public engagement, such as the posting of harvest maps, asking for public feedback, and advising people by email when those maps are updated.

Copies of the review and government’s response are posted at www.novascotia.ca/natr .

Source: Release

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