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.”
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.”
In total, FESBC approved funding for 14 projects which have just been completed as of March 31, 2021.
Interwest Timber Ltd
Duz Cho Logging Ltd.
Arrow Transportation Systems Inc
The Corporation of the Village of Fraser Lake
NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.
Husby Forest Products
East Fraser Fiber
Valley Carriers Ltd.
Cariboo Pulp & Paper
Westwood Fibre Resources Ltd.
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.
Westland Resources Limited
Atlantic Power (Williams Lake) Ltd.
Elhdaqox Developments Ltd.
*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.
“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:
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.”
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.”
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 | email@example.com | 250.574.0221
Merritt, B.C.: A grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is helping Valley Carriers take a new approach to bring 24,000 cubic metres of wood fibre into Merritt to be used to generate electricity instead of burning it in slash piles. With the FESBC grant, Valley Carriers initially explored an opportunity to use a forest slash bundler to see what they could recover in waste residual forest fibre piled along forestry roads in the area. The pilot hoped to prepare biomass bundles that could be transported by regular logging trucks. Valley Carriers modified their approach after a full evaluation of the bundler and approached the remaining utilization opportunities with a more conventional grinding operation.
“The project trial had some initial challenges, but what we appreciate about working with the team at Valley Carriers is their approach and innovative style,” said Dave Conly, Operations Manager, FESBC. “They have been able to pivot and get into the grinding business to assist the local economy in improving forest fibre utilization. By all accounts, it has been a great success so far and a benefit to B.C.’s environment and economy.”
With a funding grant of $416,029 from FESBC, the recovered fibre will be delivered to Merritt Green Energy and used to generate electricity. When the residual fibre is utilized instead of burned in slash piles, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions contributing to help achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets. Additionally, the electricity generated can displace electricity otherwise generated by fossil fuels.
“The FESBC funding is allowing us to provide a solution for fibre removal that was previously burned because of high hauling and transport costs,” said Derek Mobbs, Interior Operations Manager, Valley Carriers. “It is great to see the wood fibre in the brush piles being utilized instead of burned and to see extra value being created out of our local timber resources.”
Valley Carriers’ Merritt-based division specializes in forest product transportation, sawmill residual service, supply, and grinding residual forest fibre. The FESBC funding made it possible for the company to extend their grinding operations and keep up to 10 people employed with 5,750-person hours generated from this project. Employment included the full-time operations of a grinder, loader, four 53-foot trucks and the part-time employment of a dozer, excavator, and a spare truck. The fibre produced from this project is anticipated to provide Merritt Green Energy with 37 days of run time.
Klassen notes the FESBC grant is projected to generate $1.75 million in revenue that helps to sustain members of the community who have endured multiple sawmill curtailments and closures over the last decade. “We have been able to support our community with good paying jobs from a resource that otherwise would have gone unrecovered. At times, we have had to juggle our operations to address customer needs, and without the flexibility of this FESBC support, this would not have been possible.”
The project has also led to collaborative working relationships with Stuwix Resources, Tolko, and Aspen Planers to recover forest fibre in other parts of the Southern Interior.
For information on/or an interview with FESBC regarding this project, contact:
Vancouver, B.C.: A new online exhibit is on display with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum called Fire Followers. In the exhibit, artist Megan Majewski and writer Sharon Roberts give voice to forests impacted by B.C. wildfires. While preparing for the exhibit, Sharon interviewed the Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s (FESBC) Executive Director, Steve Kozuki.
“We were approached by Sharon back in 2018 when she was first working on the Fire Followers project,” said Kozuki. “The idea of taking an artistic approach to telling the story about the impacts of B.C. wildfires intrigued me because of the work I do with FESBC. It is abundantly clear that there are many, many passionate people who want to improve B.C.’s forests, including First Nations, community forests, woodlots and many others.
“FESBC has been empowering local people who want to do local projects that enhance our forests through wildfire risk mitigation, accelerated ecological recovery after wildfires, wildlife habitat enhancement, and increased utilization of forest fibre to contribute to the achievement of our climate change goals. The work we do now means people today, and for generations to come, will benefit from our forests. We thank Sharon and Megan for their work to bring the voice of our forests to all British Columbian’s through this unique exhibit.”
The artists’ greatest hopes for the project are to help shape the public perception of what a healthy forest looks like.
“We view this exhibit as a living and breathing thing, just as the forests are – it’s just a sapling now, it’s soil freshly tilled,” said Sharon and Megan. “With the care and nurturing by all who contribute it will take on a life of its own and grow into something beautiful that we can’t yet imagine. Something as rich and diverse as the forests themselves.”
In the summer of 2019, four water utility providers in the Okanagan were awarded close to $680,000 in grants from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC). The grants supported a collaborative approach to wildfire risk reduction in four major Okanagan watersheds that border one another and are managed by the District of Lake Country, Black Mountain Irrigation District, Glenmore Ellison Improvement District, and the Regional District of North Okanagan.
Work is now underway on the ground to protect several high-priority interface areas of the individual watersheds. Wildfire risk reduction will help better protect the Okanagan basin’s water quality, important wildlife habitat and infrastructure, and create opportunities to enhance the utilization of woody debris left behind after fuel management treatments.
“The funding provided by FESBC was fundamental in bringing together all four water purveyors on the Aberdeen plateau, in collaboration with the Okanagan Shuswap Natural Resource District and Gorman Brothers, to guide the watersheds towards a more fire resilient condition through wildfire risk mitigation planning,” said John Davies, RPF, Frontline Operations Group Ltd.
This analysis started over the summer of 2019, including the completion of mapping of potential fuel breaks – an area where flammable woody material is removed to slow or stop a wildfire – in all watersheds and identifying the highest priority interface fuel breaks.
FESBC funding approval enabled the partners to collaborate on overview planning, leading to efficiencies in key components such as GIS (Geographic Information System) analysis. This overview planning then identified critical priority areas for detailed planning. This planning included developing a wildfire risk reduction prescription, obtaining support from BC Wildfire Services and local Forest Lands & Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development representatives, and groundwork including identifying and confirming the treatment boundaries and unique values to be protected.
Professional fuel management prescriptions were completed for a high-risk interface area in each watershed. Once the planning was complete, the contracts were put out to bid and were awarded to Sage Forestry Ltd. and Loki Tree Service.
Each area has unique features requiring different approaches. Here is a status update on each project:
District of Lake Country: completed treatment operations adjacent to Beaver Lake Lodge and district water intake of Beaver Lake involving the removal of surface woody debris from approximately 2.5 hectares.
Black Mountain Irrigation District: provided operational treatment recommendations for Gorman Brothers’ operations on Schram Creek slope and completed field survey of proposed fuel break locations above Schram Creek slope.
Glenmore Ellison Improvement District: completed treatment operations within the interface above Postill Lake Road.
Regional District of North Okanagan: completed interface treatment operations adjacent to Blue Nose trail and are currently implementing prescriptions adjacent to private property on Blue Nose Road.
“FESBC is pleased to see the high level of collaboration between Frontline Operations Group and each of the local water purveyors,” said Dave Conly, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “These four significant watersheds provide both drinking water and irrigation water for local communities. We deployed funding to do our best to protect the watersheds from extensive damage which could potentially result from wildfires. We’re pleased to see the overview plans, which set the stage for longer-term work, while addressing some of the highest priority areas with the funding available.”
Work is expected to be completed by the end of summer of 2021 and further updates to media and the community will follow.
“The FESBC funding program has been instrumental in addressing wildfire risk mitigation on Crown land in B.C. at a meaningful scale,” said Davies. “We have gained in leaps and bounds with this important endeavour in the Okanagan Valley through FESBC support.”
For an interview with Frontline Operations Group Ltd.
VICTORIA – The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has allocated $3 million in new grants throughout the province to support jobs in the forestry sector and increase the use of wood fibre that otherwise would be burned as slash.
“This new funding is part of the government’s $1.5 billion economic recovery plan, which reflects our ongoing commitment to help British Columbians deal with challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The latest round of funding supports 15 different projects in different regions of the province, with individual grant amounts ranging from $6,000 to $663,748 (see backgrounder for details about each project). The projects will allow about 250,000 cubic metres of post-harvest waste wood to be used in the production of pulp, wood pellets, electricity and compost for soil remediation. This work will also provide environmental, economic and social benefits to B.C. communities, including a reduction in greenhouse gases.
“One of the aims of our StrongerBC economic recovery plan is to build stronger, more resilient communities in every corner of the province,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program does just that, while also advancing the forest sector’s transition to high-value production, which is essential for B.C.’s long-term economic wellbeing.”
Eight of the approved applications were from new proponents that will receive FESBC project funding for the first time.
“We were very pleased to receive this additional funding to support incremental fibre use and forest rehabilitation projects,” said Jim Snetsinger, board chair, FESBC. “Upon receiving word of the $3 million allocation, our team moved quickly to prepare and announce its seventh intake for funding applications.”
“We were delighted with the quality and innovation shown in the proposals that we received. This work will help support families and communities in a time of need. It demonstrates the significant role that 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.”
Aleece Laird Communications Liaison Forest Enhancement Society of BC firstname.lastname@example.org 250 574-0221
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Media Relations 250 213-8172
The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is a Crown agency. It was established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by:
preventing wildfires and mitigating wildfire impacts;
improving damaged or low-value forests;
improving wildlife habitat;
supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests; and
treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.
As of Jan. 28, 2021, the B.C. government has invested $238 million in FESBC, with about $237 million allocated to 270 projects since the society’s inception. Funded projects have helped minimize wildfire risks, enhance wildlife habitat, improve low-value and damaged forests, replant damaged forests and use fibre for green-energy production.
FESBC is a partner in the Forest Carbon Initiative, which is funded in part through the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. This initiative assists with B.C. government priorities, such as:
revitalizing the forest sector;
partnering with First Nations;
supporting the Province’s CleanBC commitment to transition to a low-carbon economy; and
providing economic benefits for rural communities.
$3 million in grants support fibre use projects
The Forest Enhancement Society of BC has allocated another $3 million in grants to support 15 projects that will increase the use of wood fibre that otherwise would have been burned as slash.
Funding for these projects has been distributed as follows:
October 2020 project approvals (Intake #7):
$20,000 to Interwest Timber Ltd. to take uneconomical pulp fibre to a plant for chipping and future delivery to coastal pulp mills (about 1,537 cubic metres in the south coast region)
$101,562 to the Village of Fraser Lake for the Fraser Lake Community Forest, to transport uneconomic residual waste fibre to the Pinnacle Pellet plant in Burns Lake (about 13,488 cubic metres in the Omineca region)
$135,000 to Cariboo Pulp & Paper to transport low-value pulp fibre, which otherwise would be uneconomical to move, to manufacture pulp (about 9,122 cubic metres in the Cariboo region)
$200,000 to Atlantic Power (Williams Lake) Ltd. to help local First Nations companies deliver fibre to Atlantic Power for electricity generation (about 15,385 cubic metres in the Cariboo region)
$663,748 to Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. to transport uneconomic fibre to secondary users (about 44,250 cubic metres in the Thompson-Okanagan region)
$216,158 to Westland Resources Limited to enhance use of uneconomic pulp logs from two licensees (about 22,125 cubic metres in the Skeena region)
$279,749 to NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd. to increase fibre use by sending residual waste to coastal pulp mills (about 18,355 cubic metres in the Skeena region)
$6,000 to Westwood Fibre Resources Ltd. to increase use of residual waste fibre for distribution to secondary fibre users in the southern Interior (about 660 cubic metres in the Thompson-Okanagan region)
$133,745 to Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. to increase fibre use by manufacturing wood pellets (about 45,803 cubic metres at various locations across the province)
$336,252 to East Fraser Fiber to distribute waste fibre to a local chipping plant and other secondary fibre users in the north-central Interior (about 15,913 cubic metres in the Omineca region)
$300,000 to Duz Cho Logging Limited Partnership to increase fibre use by manufacturing wood pellets (about 15,625 cubic metres in the northeast region)
$61,750 to Husby Forest Products to recover otherwise uneconomic fibre from timber harvesting operations and support coastal pulp mills (about 4,060 cubic metres in the West Coast region)
$326,533 to Valley Carriers Ltd. to increase use of wood waste, which will be ground up for use in energy production (about 30,432 cubic metres in the Okanagan Shuswap District)
$83,100 to ?Elhdaqox Developments Ltd. to use waste fibre from a tree stand rehabilitation project for energy or wood pellet production (about 10,000 cubic metres in the Cariboo Chilcotin District)
$136,403 to Tk͛emlupsemc Forestry Development Corporation to convert woody biomass into a growth medium that expedites plant growth and soil stabilization (about 5,940 cubic metres in the Thompson-Okanagan Region)
Big Bar Lake, B.C. – Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. and the community of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (St-wet-lem hight-lem) (SXFN) have partnered to reduce wildfire risk to the rural communities of Big Bar Lake with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).
FESBC provided close to $625,000 toward two projects in the Cariboo region, both of which are nearing completion and are focused on reducing wildfire risk in forested areas near Big Bar Lake, which is located approximately 40 kilometres west of Clinton, B.C. The areas were identified as priorities for wildfire risk mitigation by the 100 Mile House Resource District.
The joint project with SXFN (formerly Dog Creek Indian Band & Canoe Creek Indian Band) has provided employment for local crews for the last two years. Crews have been creating a series of landscape-level fuel breaks to help reduce the intensity and rate of spread of any approaching wildfire and provide a safer point of attack for firefighters if a wildfire occurs. The treatments include:
removing accumulations of forest fuels (e.g. wood waste, vegetation and other flammable material)
decreasing the number of trees
pruning other trees, from the ground up to shoulder height, to remove “ladder fuels” (e.g. low branches that could allow a fire to spread into treetops)
clearing away ground fuels by gathering them into piles and burning them
“There is tremendous potential for a significant wildfire to come through the area close to the community of Big Bar Lake,” said Bill Layton, RPF, senior forester with Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. “Depending on a fire’s behaviour and the site conditions, the fuel breaks that we’re working on would do a lot to stop a fire’s progress from the northwest and southeast.”
The width of the fuel breaks ranges from 100 to 300 metres in strategic areas around Big Bar Lake, and they total more than three kilometres in length.
The Big Bar Lake area is a relatively dry and cool ecosystem with stands ranging from even-aged juvenile pine to multi-layered Douglas-fir dominated forest with dense understory. Future treatments such as low-intensity prescribed burns or cutting of new growth will be required in the area to ensure the objectives of the fuel break are maintained.
“These projects are a great example of proponents working with their partners and staff from the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District to help protect a rural community from the threat of a wildfire, to support the District in achieving its wildfire risk mitigation priorities, and to provide employment opportunities to local forestry workers,” said Ray Raatz, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “This project is a triple win for British Columbians as it has helped create positive social impacts, employment, and greater resiliency in one of our most significant natural resources: our forests.”
To Arrange an Interview with FESBC or Zanzibar Holdings Ltd.:
KAMLOOPS, B.C.: The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Fraser to the Board of Directors.
Sarah is currently the A/Assistant Deputy Minister, Rural Opportunities, Tenures and Engineering Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. She is responsible for a diverse portfolio including strategic and operational policies that relate to authorizing disposition of Crown land and forest tenures, sale of high value Crown land, and remediation of Crown contaminated sites.
The FESBC Board is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the Society, and reviews and approves annual operating plans and budgets, including the proposed forest enhancement projects.
“Sarah’s extensive background and experience in economic development and community transition support programs will be a benefit to the important strategic decisions we make as Board members for the benefit of British Columbians. Her background in public service working to further rural policy and programs will certainly strengthen our organization and our FESBC Board and staff are pleased to welcome Sarah to the team.”
-Jim Snetsinger, RFP, FESBC Board Chair
Fraser is equally enthused to join the Board:
“I am excited to join FESBC to further the important work of the Society,” said Fraser. “FESBC has been a leader and an agent of action, funding projects which help fight climate change, reduce wildfire risk, and build future timber supply. The innovative work is done in consideration of social, environmental, and economic benefits for Indigenous peoples and communities and am pleased to lend my knowledge and experience.”