Taking Action on Climate Change: a First Nations + Industry Collaboration

CHETWYND, B.C.: a forest enhancement project to utilize wood waste in Northeast B.C. is wrapping up, but the social, economic, and environmental benefits will endure for the community of Chetwynd and many members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided $299,759 in funding to a partnership project led by Duz Cho Logging of the McLeod Lake Indian Band and Canfor Energy North.

“FESBC was allocated $3 million from the provincial government as a part of its StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to deploy to projects that would increase the utilization of wood fibre throughout the province,” said Ray Raatz, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “The submission from Duz Cho Logging and Canfor Energy North was well thought out and we collectively could envision how it might be a catalyst for more of this kind of work in the Northeast region of B.C.”

The project resulted in the utilization of low-grade residual wood fibre left over from harvesting operations in the Chetwynd area.  The current economics for recovery of this fibre is limiting. Funding from FESBC extends the economic reach by enabling recovery and utilization of the low-grade fibre from areas a greater distance from the facility using the fibre. Typically, without funding like this from FESBC, leftover wood fibre is piled and burned, but in this case the residual fibre was hauled to the Canfor Energy North Pellet plant in Chetwynd where it was chipped and used for pellet and energy production.

“We were very pleased with the opportunity to help take the lead in this project,” said Chris Hayward, Logging Manager, Duz Cho Logging. “One of our core principles at Duz Cho is we ensure the footprints we leave behind are the ones our children will be proud to walk in, and this project was definitely in alignment. The environmental benefits were significant because by avoiding pile burning, the result is fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The economic benefits were also significant in that we were able to provide employment for McLeod Lake Indian Band members. Not only are these good paying jobs to benefit our members and their families, but people have the opportunity to learn new skills while doing this hands-on work which is important.”

Don Rosen of Canfor Energy North agrees.

“This was an important project for many reasons, including the economic and environmental benefits Chris referred to,” said Rosen. “Not only was it an exceptional partnership with McLeod Lake Indian Band’s Duz Cho Logging Partnership, but the FESBC funding was the impetus for our company to do more of this work as this was our first residuals utilization project in the bush. The project helped to expand our capacity for what we can do as a company in the future to better utilize fibre from our operations and create additional revenue streams for our partners like Duz Cho. We also know there are downstream benefits of these projects for logging contractors and haulers/truckers. We look forward to doing more!”

The project helped to expand our capacity for what we can do as a company in the future to better utilize fibre from our operations and create additional revenue streams for our partners like Duz Cho.

Don Rosen, Canfor Energy North

In total, the project utilized 14,742 cubic metres of residual waste fibre, equivalent to 295 truckloads. Duz Cho Logging and Canfor Energy North employees were able to contribute to the Chetwynd economy through fuel, accommodation, and food purchases, as well as hiring local tradespeople to provide maintenance on equipment.

Chip pile and chipper one week after chipper start up – D. Rosen Photo

“This project was a great opportunity for members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band to participate in a project that helps utilize more of the wood fibre being harvested within the traditional territories. We are creating a greener, more sustainable environment.”

Chris Hayward, Logging Manager, Duz Cho Logging

As a part of the StrongerBC funding allocation, FESBC provided funding to 14 fibre utilization projects, including the Duz Cho/Canfor Energy project, in many parts of the province.

“Our project showed true partnership,” said Hayward. “So much happened behind the scenes in the planning and implementation and from start to finish it was truly a collaboration – a project in support of each other for the benefit of many.”

For information or an interview regarding this project, contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Project Partners

Accomplishments Update Highlights – 14 New FESBC Projects Throughout B.C.

Kamloops, B.C.: From the Province’s $1.5 billion StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) received $3 million and funded 14 forestry projects throughout the province to increase the utilization of wood fibre creating many positive benefits.

“Projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC address a number of environmental, social, and economic priorities of British Columbians,” said Jim Snetsinger, RPF, FESBC board chair. “Forest enhancement projects achieve social, environmental, and economic aspirations of British Columbians. Investing in forests reduces our carbon footprint, reduces wildfire risks, enhances wildlife habitat, and creates jobs. It’s a win-win-win on all fronts.”

Moe MacLean is the scaler for All West Trading Ltd. where NorthPac is taking their logs.

The $3 million in funding helped to sustain approximately 100 forestry jobs this past winter to utilize wood fibre that is normally left behind after logging and burned in slash piles.

“Upon receiving word of the allocation, our team moved quickly to prepare and announce its seventh intake for funding applications,” said Snetsinger. “We were delighted with the quality and innovation shown in the proposals. It demonstrates the significant role the forestry sector plays in our province’s broader economic recovery, while at the same time helping to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets.”

Codie Long, 3rd generation owner of Longs Logging Terrace, B.C. and Rich-Seymour, Operations Manager, Kitselas Forestry LP

In total, FESBC approved funding for 14 projects which have just been completed as of March 31, 2021.

LocationProject PartnerFESBC-Funding*
Boston BarInterwest Timber Ltd$13,000
ChetwyndDuz Cho Logging Ltd.$300,000
ClintonArrow Transportation Systems Inc$720,748
Fraser LakeThe Corporation of the Village of Fraser Lake$100,818
HazeltonNorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.$279,749
MassetHusby Forest Products$61,750
MackenzieEast Fraser Fiber$294,000
MerrittValley Carriers Ltd.$416,029
NazkoCariboo Pulp & Paper$134,897
PrincetonWestwood Fibre Resources Ltd.$6,000
SmithersPinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.$133,745
TerraceWestland Resources Limited$256,561
Williams LakeAtlantic Power (Williams Lake) Ltd.$199,603
Williams LakeElhdaqox Developments Ltd.$83,100
*approved FESBC-funding as of March 2021

The 14 projects sustained an estimated 100 forestry jobs to utilize about 233,000 cubic metres of wood fibre (approximately 4,600 truckloads) this past winter and the projects are estimated to help avoid 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 13,000 cars off the road for a year.

Maverick Mueller, long-time Mackenzie resident and second generation logger, member of the Tsilqot’in First Nation

“Our Accomplishments Update report highlights these projects and the good work happening in B.C. forests,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, FESBC executive director. “Our report also features the people behind the projects. It is our opportunity to broadly share with British Columbians the good work not often seen or understood by non-foresters. As we like to say, in B.C. climate change heroes can often be found in the forest wearing hard hats.” 

Read the full FESBC Accomplishments Update

For more information or to arrange an interview with FESBC:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Three generations working in the grinding industry. From left to right: Mike Kilba, Benton Kilba, and Greg Kilba
Grinding work of residual wood fibre from harvesting operations in the Wells Gray Community Forest – G. Brcko photo

Wells Gray Community Forest Enhancement Project Achieved Through Collaboration & Innovation

Clearwater, B.C.: Many areas of B.C. are facing the challenge of a shortage of wood fibre that was more plentiful just a few years ago. Today, with many of the damaged mountain pine beetle stands harvested, wildfires and other factors, the scarcity of wood fibre supply has led the forestry sector to find innovative and collaborative ways to utilize the fibre that was previously piled and burned.

A project in the Wells Gray Community Forest (WGCF) in Clearwater, funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), has meant a homecoming for Greg Kilba, Division Manager Portable Wood Processing and Log Buying of Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. (Arrow), who grew up in the community and spent time raising his family there, too.

“Clearwater is a pristine and beautiful area I have many fond memories of and the Wells Gray Community Forest is a gem for the community,” said Kilba, now based in Kamloops. “When our team at Arrow first looked at a fibre utilization project in the Community Forest, there were many challenges – wet ground and large road ditches. There was a lot of fibre that could not be utilized by sawmills because of the amount of rotten wood typical of this type of stand. The Community Forest group’s goal was to log four cut blocks to help get a healthy stand of trees growing again. Together, we figured we could make economic sense of the project if we applied to FESBC for a grant. With the good news of an approval of a grant for $720,748, we developed a project plan for approximately $307,000 for the Wells Gray Community Forest, then got to work.”

Greg, his son Benton, his father Mike, and the rest of the Arrow team went back to the blocks in mid-October, taking the residual wood left over from earlier logging operations and ground it into hog fuel. Because of the planning of the project prior to harvesting, the WGCF was able to work with the logging contractors to build more accessible road systems to ensure Arrow’s grinder and trucks could access the slash piles.

“It was amazing to see trucks in the forest hauling out fibre,” said Kilba. “Early in my forestry career, I had contracts to burn slash piles like this. We would light up the piles and there was an amazing amount of energy coming from them. I had always wondered how we could harness that energy instead of wasting it. With the introduction of boilers that use this wood fibre, we now take this fibre we once burned and use it to create electricity. The grant from FESBC made it economically feasible to haul the material. Without this funding, piles of fibre would have otherwise been burned on site.”

Three Generations: Mike Kilba, Benton Kilba, and Greg Kilba

In total, Arrow ground 18,992 cubic metres of wood fibre, translating roughly to 350 logging trucks worth of wood fibre. The ground-up fibre was then transported to Domtar in Kamloops to generate electricity to run operations, with additional green energy being put back to the grid. The grinding project not only created an estimated 600 person days of work, or close to 5,000 employable hours, but by avoiding the burning of slash piles, the Clearwater airshed was spared smoke from fires, something George Brcko, WGCF General Manager, and many Clearwater residents appreciate.

“As a Community Forest, we can be nimble and innovative in finding ways to be collaborative and get work done,” said Brcko. “The grinding and hauling of these residuals meant that we didn’t have smoke hanging in our valleys from burning slash. Additionally, by removing the leftover wood fibre, this means we lessen the opportunity for a catastrophic wildfire in these areas.”

“Without FESBC filling the gap financially, this project would not have happened. This kind of collaboration and support of community forests is the way of the future and I believe just the tip of the iceberg in forest stewardship as we all work to do things better.”

George Brcko, Wells Gray Community Forest, General Manager

The WGCF has been an asset to the citizens of Clearwater as revenues generated from operations flow directly back into the community. Since 2004, almost $3 million has gone back into community projects like seniors housing, summer camps for kids, and accessibility projects like multi-use pathways, a boon to the community that BC Community Forest Association’s (BCCFA) Executive Director Jennifer Gunter applauds.

“As we work to grow the bioeconomy and make our communities and forests more resilient, FESBC is providing the missing link by enabling community forests and local entrepreneurs to partner on innovative projects like this,” said Jennifer Gunter, Executive Director of the BC Community Forest Association. “By supporting the utilization of residual fibre, multiple benefits are created for the communities, the forests and the province as a whole.”

Helping to fund and oversee the project on behalf of FESBC is Operations Manager Dave Conly.

“Arrow, in partnership with Domtar, has been able to develop great solutions with our local community forests, and by using fibre that would otherwise be wasted, they are creating well-paying jobs and assisting the Province in achieving climate goals,” said Conly. “Overall, FESBC projects will have generated 5.3 million tonnes of net carbon benefits which is equivalent to removing 1.1 million cars off the road for a year. Forestry is a great way to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets, while at the same time create more jobs in the bioeconomy.”

“I absolutely love that Arrow found a way, in partnership with FESBC and our Community Forest, to utilize residual wood fibre or slash. Our local Forestry Working Group – a group comprised of City councilors, local government representatives and industry stakeholders – has long advocated for this kind of work to be done because of the countless benefits: the economic benefits of good paying jobs for people, the social benefits when steady employment is available and smoke is removed from our airshed, and the environmental benefits when wood fibre is optimally used to reduce our carbon footprint.”

– Merlin Blackwell, Mayor of Clearwater

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

To arrange an interview with FESBC, Wells Gray Community Forest or Arrow contact:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221