Soil Conservation Surveys Guidebook

Table of contents

4 Survey methods

4.1 Information needed from the approved plan

The purpose of a soil conservation survey is to determine whether the standards in the approved plan (silviculture prescription, stand management prescription, or site plan) have been adhered to. Check the approved plan to determine the following2:
  • the date the plan was approved and, in some cases, when it was submitted for approval.

Note that if the prescription was submitted before June 15, 1998 but approved after this date, it must adhere to the rules in place prior to the June 15, 1998 legislation and regulation amendments;
  • which access structures are permanent, and the approved maximum allowable limits for these structures;
Although not a requirement, worksheets used for calculating road occupancy from road layout and design standards may sometimes accompany the prescription. These worksheets can be useful for comparing proposed and constructed dimensions;
  • which access structures are temporary, by how much maximum soil disturbance limits can be temporarily exceeded to construct temporary access structures, and, if required, the maximum allowable limits for temporary access structures;
  • which excavated or bladed trails and other temporary access structures have to be rehabilitated, the maximum time to complete rehabilitation following the completion of harvesting, and, if required, the methods for rehabilitation;
  • whether fill slopes are considered favourable or unfavourable growing media (this information is optional for prescriptions, but is useful to know when measuring haul roads and unrehabilitated excavated or bladed trails);
  • whether fill slopes adjacent to permanent roads will not be reforested to improve visibility or to facilitate snow removal;
  • what maximum allowable level of soil disturbance has been approved for each standards unit;
  • what maximum allowable level of forest floor displacement has been approved for each standards unit (if required);
  • whether roadside work areas may be surveyed separately from adjacent portions of a cutblock;
  • the minimum area to which maximum soil disturbance limits should be applied (see section on "Survey methods for soil disturbance-Site stratification"); and
  • the hazards assessed for soil compaction, soil erosion, soil displacement, and, if required, forest floor displacement and mass wasting (Interior sites), as well as the likelihood of landslides if a terrain assessment has been carried out (this information is used to determine which soil disturbance categories to count in each standards unit).
Information from the silviculture prescription, stand management prescription, or site plan can be recorded on a Soil Disturbance Summary form (FS 889 in Appendix 6) for reference when assessing soil impacts.

4.2 Visual inspection

A visual inspection is the first level of assessment and can be as simple as a walk-through of the area. It is recommended that the method of inspection and any findings are documented. The back of the Soil Disturbance Summary form (FS 889 in Appendix 6) can be used to make notes and map any areas requiring a further ground check (e.g., such areas as unauthorized temporary access structures or heavily disturbed roadside work areas).

During the visual inspection:

  1. Note that the information in italics is no longer a requiremenrt for prescriptions submitted and approved on or after June 15, 1998

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