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Wildsight calls for halt to Argenta Face logging

A Kootenay conservation group is calling for a delay to logging in the Argenta area, arguing that it endangers nesting and migratory birds.

Cooper Creek Cedar is slated to begin work on the Argenta Face, which lies between Argenta and Johnsons Landing at the north end of Kootenay Lake.

But Wildsight says at a minimum, the work should be deferred until the spring ends.

“This logging is slated to begin during the start of the nesting and migratory bird season,” conservation specialist Eddie Petryshen said in a news release, noting the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act offers protection for birds and their nests.

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Petryshen says nesting season begins in April and ends in August and pointed to a report prepared for the company by biologist Brenda Herbison that recommended avoiding harvesting from April to July.

A group of protesters blocked Salisbury Forestry Service Road last week, which leads to the cutblocks in question. Cooper Creek Cedar woodlands manager Bill Kestell says he expects police to enforce an injunction obtained in previous years to clear the roadblock and allow the company to do their work. But he doesn’t know when that will happen.

Kestell also pointed to Herbison’s report, which assesses risks to mountain caribou and other wildlife, but declined further comment.

Petryshen said while Wildsight is calling for the company to delay its plans, it is also asking the provincial government to “show leadership and resolve this longstanding land conflict … The province has committed to changing the paradigm in BC forestry; resolving this issue could help to rebuild public trust on forestry issues.”

Some residents have called for the Argenta Face to be added to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.

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