2.0 Local Citizens Committees
2.1 Introducing Local Citizens Committee
2.2 Profile of the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee
2.3 Summary of LCC Roles and Responsibilities
2.4 Who Else Does What in Forest Management Planning?

2.0 Local Citizens Committees

2.1 Introducing Local Citizens Committee

This handbook is written for both new and experienced members of Local Citizens Committees and for members of the public who are interested in learning more about the forest management planning process.
The Local Citizens Committee (LCC) is an advisory committee, appointed by the District Manager of the Ministry of Natural Resources. The LCC provides advice on the development and the implementation of forest management plans, and represents a wide range of interests.
First, a little history: forest management in Ontario was the subject of a lengthy environmental assessment review which looked at how forestry is done. The review looked at harvesting practices, regeneration, road building and the like, but it also looked at how forest management plans are developed. A central concern of the environmental assessment review panel was how the public was involved in forest management planning. Consequently, some of the Panel’s key recommendations related to the establishment of Local Citizens Committees to provide advice to the Ministry of Natural Resources on the development and implementation of forest management plans.

The EA Decision, released in 1994, set out definite requirements for public involvement in forest management planning including participation through Local Citizens Committees, and these were then included in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, which replaced the Crown Timber Act in 1994. Two years later, the Forest Management Planning Manual was released (a revised version was released in 2004) with even more detail on how Local Citizens Committees should operate and what their responsibilities are.

But several LCCs already existed by then! For example, the North Bay Local Citizens Committee was created in 1992 and was active in preparing for the 1994-2014 Forest Management Plan for the Nipissing Forest. Other “early” LCCs were formed around the same time in Sudbury, and stakeholder groups with varied mandates existed in several areas, including Temagami, Hearst and Kapuskasing. These groups later made the transition into Local Citizens Committees as required by the Forest Management Planning Manual.

The core responsibility of a Local Citizens Committee is to provide advice during the development and implementation of the local forest management plan. The formal arrangement is that the LCC provides advice to the District Manager of the Ministry of Natural Resources, but the practical reality is that the advice is often provided to the District Manager through the local staff of the MNR who work most closely with the LCC, usually an area supervisor or MNR forester. The LCC also provides advice to the Plan Author. The Plan Author is an employee of the forest company that holds the Sustainable Forest License for the area and is responsible for developing the forest management plan. That advice may be provided directly or through the LCC member who represents the LCC on the Planning Team. The District Manager or other staff of the MNR may also seek the advice of the Local Citizens Committee on other matters related to the local forest.

Local Citizens Commitees are central to the forest management planning process. LCCs provide important reviews and reality-checks throughout the planning process, and are the main source of public input on much of the detail in the plan, such as the description of the future forest and related benefits and the forest management plan’s objectives. While there are opportunities for other members of the public to comment and get involved, the LCC’s familiarity with the planning area and consistent participation throughout all of the stages of the forest management plan’s development and implementation make their role extremely important.

Some Local Citizens Committees have also taken on a co-management role, undertaking various local projects related to natural resource management. Projects have included activities like fish stocking, trail maintenance, and producing maps of local canoe routes. These projects can make excellent contributions to the local community and provide LCC members with the opportunity to work together on projects with tangible outcomes. However, in a few cases, some tensions have emerged as a result of increased workloads and volunteer burn out. There have also been misunderstandings within LCCs about the roles and responsibilities that have been assigned to them through the Environmental Assessment decision, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, and the Forest Management Planning Manual in comparison to the co-management activities and projects which they may have also taken on.

While many Local Citizens Committee members have an interest in a range of issues and activities which are related to their advisory roles but are beyond their roles and responsibilities as described in the Forest Management Planning Manual, it is important that each LCC be clear about its mandate and priorities and reserve enough time and energy for their important roles as advisors on the development and implementation of the local forest management plan. The Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee has been one of the most successful LCCs in terms of remaining focused on their core responsibilities.

In general, there is one Local Citizens Committee for each forest management unit, meaning that the LCC’s advice and input is primarily focused on one forest management plan. However, there are several local citizens committees that provide advice on more than one plan, and there are two forest management units that have more than one Local Citizens Committee!

2.2 Profile of the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee

The Nipissing Forest LCC was formed in 1992 and the first meeting was held in October of that year. Although there was no formal requirement at that time for Local Citizens Committees to be in place, the North Bay District office of the Ministry of Natural Resources was pro-active in establishing the Nipissing Forest LCC and then involving the LCC in the development of the 1994-2014 forest management plan.

Launched in 1992 as the North Bay Local Citizens Committee, the committee was renamed the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee in 1996 to coincide with the renaming of the North Bay Crown Management Unit to the Nipissing Forest. The Sustainable Forest License was granted to Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc. during the same time.
 
With the experience of three successive forest management plans under its collective belt, the Nipissing Forest LCC has a solid commitment to the planning process. During development of the most current plan, approved in March 2004, the LCC attended all of the open houses and field trips, and commented on all key aspects of the plan, including an old growth strategy and a general road use strategy. 

Members were involved in issue resolution, providing recommendations to the District  Manager. The LCC reviewed and in some cases responded to letters to the District Manager or letters addressed specifically to the LCC. 

During the intensive months of forest management planning in 2003 and 2004, the LCC held monthly meetings. During plan implementation, the LCC generally meets every second month. 

In 2005 the LCC established a regular schedule for reviewing its Terms of Reference and electing co-chairs. Until September 2005, the Committee had been co-chaired by a staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources and a member of the Committee. Since September 2005, the Committee has been co-chaired by two LCC members. It continues to receive secretarial, administrative and other support from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The Local Citizens Committee uses a variety of means to communicate with each other and with the broader public. LCC members also communicate with the public by participating in meetings of the associations and groups which they represent on the LCC.

Minutes of the LCC meetings are available on request from the Ministry of Natural Resources, and are posted on the websites of Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc and Northwatch’s Forest Project websites. On the Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc (www.nipissingforest.com ) scroll to the bottom of the opening page and click on “Local Citizens Committee” which is the centre link. On Northwatch’s Forest Project website (www.northeastforest.net )  click on the “Local Citizens Committee” at the top right hand corner, then click on “Nipissing LCC” and scroll to the bottom of the page for links to meeting minutes.

In 2005, the Nipissing Forest LCC published its first bi-annual newsletter, in paper copy and electronic format. In 2006, the LCC established a Communications Committee. The Communications Committee is responsible for developing materials to be approved by the LCC and distributed publicly. First products of the LCC Communications Committee have included a pamphlet and an issue of the LCC newsletter, both produced early in 2007. The LCC Communications Committee also had its first information booth in April 2007 at the Fur Harvesters’ Convention in North Bay.

Drawing members from communities across the Nipissing Forest, the LCC currently has fifteen members and is seeking candidates to fill several vacant seats.

The Nipissing Forest LCC’s Terms of Reference describe the Committee’s purpose, membership, roles and responsibilities, procedural matters, communications, and funding. They also provide direction for meeting schedules and agendas, the review of the Terms of Reference, and membership selection.

Summary of Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee Terms of Reference

Membership  The Nipissing Forest LCC includes members (and their alternates) from local Aboriginal communities, anglers and hunters and access groups, cottagers, the educational sector, environmental groups, the forest industry, independent loggers and woodsworkers, local heritage groups, municipalities, naturalists, Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc., prospectors, mining and aggregate industries, the public at large, silvicultural contractors, snowmobile clubs, tourism industry and trappers. Future members may be added to represent forest industry trade unions, local business interests, municipalities and the renewable energy sector.
Budget  The Nipissing Forest LCC does not manage its own funds. The Ministry of Natural Resources will reimburse Local Citizens Committee members for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their participation on the committee. Members are responsible for submitting invoices to the Ministry of Natural Resources. The MNR provides meals and full secretarial support for the LCC
Meetings  The Nipissing Forest LCC generally meets (as of April 2007) on the third Tuesday of the month. During the period when a forest management plan is under development (e.g. 2007 and 2008) the Committee will usually meet every month. During plan implementation, the Committee will generally meet every second month. Meetings usually begin at 5:30, following an informal supper served in the meeting room. Meetings are generally two to three hours long, and cover a standard set of agenda items, based on a standing agenda included in the LCC’s Terms of Reference.
Field Trips The Nipissing Forest LCC is committed to making at least two field trips to resource management operations each year. These often happen in conjunction with an LCC meeting (e.g. the field trip is in the afternoon, followed by an LCC meeting).
Monitoring and Audits  The text of each forest management plan will include a description of opportunities for involvement of the Local Citizens Committee in forest operations inspections and MNR district monitoring of forest operations.  The LCC receives summary reports of compliance inspection and monitoring done by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Nipissing Forest Resource Management Inc.
Decision-making  The LCC will attempt to develop consensus decisions, but if they are unable to arrive at a consensus within the available time they may ask the District Manager to appoint an independent facilitator to assist them in developing consensus or they may provide the District Manager with majority and minority options, qualified by a show of hands in support of each of the options.

2.3 Summary of LCC Roles and Responsibilities

In the 400 page Forest Management Planning Manual, there are over one hundred references to Local Citizens Committees. LCCs are referred to in each of the five sections of the Manual with detailed listings of LCC responsibilities and opportunities to participate in forest management plan development and implementation. Part 3 of Section A includes descriptions of the LCC’s purpose, membership, and Terms of Reference which are particularly helpful.
 
 
 

Text Box: 3.2.2 Purpose (of the Local Citizens Committee)The local citizens committee will participate as an integral part of the preparation and implementation of the forest management plan by:(a) nominating a representative of the committee to serve as a member of the Planning Team, if desired by the committee. Other committee members may attend Planning Team meetings as observers;(b) attending joint meetings with the Planning Team, to be held at agreed-upon stages of the planning process; (c) ensuring that all local interests are effectively communicated to all others involved in forest management planning;(d) increasing the effectiveness of the public consultation process by:(Ii) participating in its implementation;(iii) providing advice on public notices;(iv) participating in developing and/or issuing supplemental notices;(v) providing advice to the Planning Team on the content and presentation of information and maps at information centres;(vi) having representatives attend and participate at information centres; and(vii) providing advice on any additional public consultation opportunities that would be useful in the context of local circumstances and needs;(e) participating in a meeting with the Planning Team to discuss the desired forest and benefits;(f) participating in the development, identification and description of management objectives, strategies, problems and issues;(g) participating in the development of values maps;(h) promoting integration of all interests by participating in the evaluation of trade-offs which must be made during the planning process, and the resolution of problems, differences and conflicts as early as possible in the planning process; (i) providing opportunities to participate in the formal issue resolution process; (j) providing opportunities for a representative of the committee to attend the presentation of the draft forest management plan to the MNR Regional Director;(k) providing advice to the MNR District Manager when discretionary decisions must be made (e.g., categorization of amendments, and responses to requests for an individual environmental assessment of specific proposed forest management operations in the forest management plan);(l) producing regular reports of the committee’s activities;(m) assisting in the monitoring of performance of plan implementation;(n) participating in the independent forest audit process by having the opportunity:(i) to provide comments on forest operations;(ii) to identify concerns and issues;(iii) to provide a representative to participate in field visits; and(iv) to provide any other relevant information; and(o) providing input to the development of district insect pest management programs (Part D, Section 6.0) by having representative(s) of the local citizens committee(s) invited to serve on the interdisciplinary team which produces a district insect pest management program.

In broad terms, the role of the LCC is to represent the diverse public in the advice that it provides to the District Manager and others and to provide advice during the forest management planning process on how to effectively consult the public about the plan’s development. In some cases, the LCC may work directly with the public, supporting the public’s participation in forest management planning. For example, the desired forest and benefits developed as part of the Long-Term Management Direction are identified by the Planning Team and the Local Citizens Committee with input from the public. The LCC is also asked to play a role in helping to resolve issues raised by members of the public during the planning process, and members of the public may request a meeting with the LCC to discuss the forest management plan more generally.

Consistent with their role of representing the broader public, the membership of Local Citizens Committees is designed to “represent a range and balance of interests from the communities within or adjacent to the management unit”. Most of the members are selected from nominations by local interest groups, including economic, social, and environmental interests. Some members may represent a combination or range of interests.
 
Local Citizens Committee Membership
Economic
Social
Environmental
local business
tourism industry
forest industry
forest industry trade unions
trappers and other resource users
woodsworkers
small independent loggers
·mineral sector
·waterpower sector
Chamber of Commerce member or Economic Development Officer
anglers and hunters
local heritage groups organizations
municipalities
other Crown land recreationalists
naturalists
local environmental groups
General public
Aboriginal communities

In addition to the membership categories identified above, the District Manager also has the option of adding representatives from “other interest groups” to reflect the local community and local concerns or perspectives.

As will be discussed in Sections 3 and 4 of this handbook, the LCC has a broad range of responsibilities in each phase of the forest management planning process and throughout plan implementation, including the following:

A.  During the preparation of a forest management plan, the LCC will:

· renew its Terms of Reference and contribute to the review of membership LCC membership
· nominate a representative of the committee to serve as a member of the Planning Team.
· review updated background information on the forest, and request any sources needed during the process
· participate in determining the desired forest and benefits (the Planning Team and the Local Citizens Committee identify the forest structure and composition, and the goods and services which are desired from the forest)
· help the Planning Team consider the appropriate background information, the results of the desired forest and benefits meeting, and the results of the scoping analysis to develop management objectives related to the objective categories and indicators
· receive a presentation of the proposed management strategy to demonstrate that the strategy balances the achievement of all management objectives
· receive presentations and consult on the proposed long-term management direction, the review of planned operations, the draft FMP, and the inspection of the MNR approved plan
· attend joint meetings with the Planning Team
· ensure that all local interests are effectively communicated to all others involved in forest management planning
· participate in the implementation of the public consultation and provide advice on public notices
· provide advice to the Planning Team on the content and presentation of information and maps at information centres
· participate in information centres
· provide advice on any additional public consultation opportunities that would be useful
· participate in a meeting with the Planning Team to discuss the desired forest and benefits and in the development of values maps
· participate in the development, identification and description of management objectives, strategies, problems and issues
· promote integration of all interests by participating in the evaluation of trade-offs which must be made during the planning process, and the resolution of problems, differences and conflicts as early as possible in the planning process
· participate in the formal issue resolution process
· have a representative of the committee attend the presentation of the draft forest management plan to the MNR Regional Director
· produce regular reports of the committee’s activities
 

B. During implementation of the FMP, the LCC will:

· produce regular reports of the committee’s activities
· receive presentations of annual reports and the annual work schedule
· provide advice on adjustments to the values maps as necessary
· provide advice to the MNR District Manager when discretionary decisions must be made, such as categorizing proposed amendments to the approved the forest management plan
· provide advice to the MNR District Manager during the development of a contingency plan, should one be needed.
· help monitor the performance of plan implementation
· participate in the Independent Forest Audit process by providing comments on forestry operations, identifying any concerns or issues, and being represented on field visits
· provide input to the development of district insect pest management plans

Text Box: What is a contingency plan?Under special circumstances, there may be a period between the expiry of one forest management plan and the approval of the next plan. Under these conditions, an interim forest management plan – called a contingency plan – may be developed.


C. During the planning of operations for the second Five-year Term of the 10-year Forest Management Plan, the Local Citizens Committee will:

· update the membership and Terms Of Reference of the LCC
· contribute to updates to values maps and continue to receive comments from members of the public
· report on committee activities to date
· advise on the Information Centre for the Public review of proposed operations
· receive presentations by the Plan Author and Planning Team and review the draft planned operations
· formulate a brief statement of dis/agreement with the planned operations
· advise on public review of draft planned operations
· advise on the public inspection of MNR-approved planned operations

2.4  Who Else Does What in Forest Management Planning?


A multi-disciplinary team of government and industry foresters, biologists and planners (with advice from the Local Citizens Committee) is responsible for the writing of a Forest Management Plan (FMP).

The Plan Author is the Registered Professional Forester licensed to practice professional forestry under The Ontario Professional Foresters Association Act, 2000. The Plan Author is responsible for the preparation and certification of a Forest Management Plan (FMP), and is an employee of the company that holds the Sustainable Forest License.

The Plan Author will be assisted by an interdisciplinary Planning Team, advisors, and the Local Citizens Committee. The Local Citizens Committee (LCC) is a standing advisory committee of local citizens representing a range and balance of interests, appointed by the MNR to participate in the forest management planning process. Besides participating as a group, the LCC elects a member to be the Committee’s main representative on the Planning Team.
Some of the particular tasks of the Plan Author and the Planning Team are to:
· Assemble and update background information that will be used in the preparation of the FMP.
· Identify the forest structure and composition and the goods and services which are desired from the forest to achieve a balance of social, economic and environmental needs (desired forest and benefits). These include the benefits identified locally by the Planning Team and the LCC with input from the public.
· Make a presentation of both the draft and final forest management plans to the Local Citizens Committee and a presentation of the FMP to the MNR Regional Director.

· Within 15 days of the completion of the public review of the draft forest management plan, the Plan Author and Planning Team will review comments from the public and Aboriginal communities and determine if any changes or additions are required to the preliminary list of required alterations.
· Prepare public notices
Additionally the Plan Author, in conjunction with MNR, will respond in writing in a timely way to all written comments and submissions received from any person or organization during the preparation of a forest management plan.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is the government ministry responsible for the forest management planning process and for approving forest management plans. MNR contributes at all levels of planning, implementation, compliance and monitoring, and reporting. The Ministry is arranged in a hierarchy from local to regional to provincial. Staff members at all levels, from field technicians to managers and directors have input at various points in the planning process.

Many MNR staff members are on the Planning Team or act as advisors. Staff from the appropriate MNR area or district office will internally review forest management plans, annual work schedules and annual reports and may recommend approval of these as submitted or identify required alterations and the reasons for them. They will also internally review this revised schedule, plan or report and check that the required alterations have been made. Staff members review the long-term management plan, contingency plans, operational plans for things like prescribed burns, and write postings for the EBR registry, amongst other tasks.

The MNR District Manager appoints the Planning Team and LCC members. Additionally the District Manager is to:

· Ensure that training materials regarding roles and responsibilities and general forest management planning matters are available to the Local Citizens Committee and that copies of the documents that provide direction and guidance for decision-making are available to the Planning Team and the Local Citizens Committee at the beginning of the planning process
· Approve The Terms of Reference for the Planning Team and resolve resourcing issues and disagreements among members.
· Issue public invitations to participate in the development of the forest management, and inform the public of proposed prescribed burns, insect management strategies, etc.
· After the completion of the public review of the draft FMP, consider the comments that were received and produce a final list of required alterations.
· Review any requests for amendments, and taking the LCC input into account, approve minor amendments and certify major amendments.
· Decide whether comments from the public will be included in the final list of required alterations.
· Approve and sign the annual work schedules, contingency plans, planned operations, and the Forest Management Plan itself.