A Prince George logging company was fined Friday for harmful alteration of fish habit along the Willow River near Giscome.
Longwood Production Ltd. was ordered to contribute $4,750 to the habitat enhancement branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Prince George and fined $250 for the violation of the Federal Fisheries Act.
In May 2009, DFO officials, acting on an anonymous tip, found unauthorized logging along a 270-metre stretch of the Willow's northeeast riverbank about 18 kilometres downstream from the confluence with the Fraser River, and near Hubbard Road and the Beaver Forest Service Road.
Specifically, they found that 59 black cottonwood trees had been hand logged, raising a concern that the riverbank's stability may have been compromised and that shade along the section had been taken away.
Chinook salmon, bull trout and whitefish are found in the Willow River.
Although a fine of up to $300,000 could be issued for the violation, Crown prosecution recommended a penalty in the low end of the range, noting Longwood owner Alvin Roy Long pleaded guilty to the charge and it was his first offence.
Long also conceded that he should have presented his plans to log the site to the DFO before starting work, the site was not clearcut, and the location has since naturally regenerated with shrubs and bushes, it was noted.
Prince George provincial court judge Victor Galbraith issued the penalty following a joint submission from Crown and defence counsel.