A Community Focuses on Forest Health and Wildfire Risk Mitigation

Midway, B.C.: The small rural community of Midway is located on Highway #3 about one hour east of Osoyoos. The town may only have a population of 649 people, but the community hosts thousands of visitors throughout the year who venture into the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) to hike, bike or snowshoe the extensive Midway Trails network. As locals, visitors, and school groups are actively out in the community forest, the WBCF Board understood how critical it was to proactively start looking at ways to improve the health of the forest for future generations and to start removing dead and fallen trees that could pose a catastrophic wildfire threat.

“This project has been a community effort,” said Dan Macmaster, Fibre Manager for Vaagen Fibre Canada and Forest Manager of the WBCF. “Our team at Vaagen worked to develop the prescription, and then supervise and implement the work using funding dollars provided by FESBC and the WBCF. This project is on actively used trail systems, so it was important to engage the community to ensure their involvement and buy in, including our First Nations partners, in the planning and implementation phases.”

The Osoyoos Indian Band and their forestry team provided archaeology assessments at the outset and members of the Band have been involved in post-harvest treatments like bucking and piling trees.

“This project work has been a very light touch on the landscape using an innovative harvesting/forwarding system to minimize soil disturbance. Plus, we are doing hand treatments where possible. We’ve even had school groups come in to learn more about their community forest and to do some of the hands-on work.”

Dan Macmaster, Fibre Manager Vaagen Fibre Canada, Forest Manager WBCF

The need for the project started in the summer of 2018 when a strong windstorm came through the southern Boundary region and blew over a vast number of trees. Through daily inspections by the Midway Trail Society volunteers, blowdown from the storm was noted as significant, and an aerial inspection by the WBCF verified the extent of the damage. Because the area is already susceptible to the Douglas-fir beetle, the downed trees needed to be removed to prevent further infestation in the local forest. The Mayors of Midway and Greenwood were very supportive of the project, and a Director of the WBCF Board has been hearing excellent reviews from local residents and community leaders alike.

“We are pleased to see the hard work of so many make an improved difference for our Community Forest and for the Midway Trails,” said Ross Elliot, Director on the Board of the WBCF. “We expressed early on to the Midway Trails Society members and to the residents of Midway and Greenwood who have joint ownership of this Community Forest that there was a lot of work to be done. The $94,200 in FESBC funding, in conjunction with a $139,500 contribution from the WBCF, has allowed us to get the work underway. Moving forward, we will continue to rely on our community volunteers to maintain the trails well into the future for everyone to enjoy.”

Noting the many benefits of the project is FESBC Operations Manager, Gord Pratt.

“Our team likes to see projects that request FESBC-funding cover a number of our purposes and this project is doing just that. Not only are excessive fuel loads being reduced to mitigate increased wildfire risk, but the work is making the forest healthier. This in turn helps create enhanced wildlife habitat, maintain forest recreation opportunities, and ensures timber supply for future generations. When marginal stands can be harvested and brought to the local mill, projects like this also create economic benefits, including jobs for the community.”

To see the project area in relation to the Midway Trails System, refer to the map below or visit the West Boundary Community Forest’s website

For a tour of the area following all Covid-19 safety protocols or an interview:
Dan Macmaster, RPF, Fibre Manager Vaagen Fibre Canada & Forest Manager West Boundary Community Forest
dmacmaster@vaagen.ca | 250.528.0344

For information on/or an interview with FESBC:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison, Forest Enhancement Society of BC
communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Skid trails to become new hiking trails in Midway

Ember the FireSmart Fox Name chosen after nationwide online contest by FireSmart BC

FireSmart BC welcomed a new member to the team: Ember the FireSmart Fox!

Ember is a fun, fictional fox mascot whose image will become part of FireSmart messages, activities and events. 

The name Ember was determined through an online contest that encouraged Canadians to submit suggestions. The winning entry was submitted by Arlene Steward of Swansea Point, B.C., who was the first of more than 50 Canadians (across every province and territory), and one of more than 500 contest participants, to suggest Ember.

Ember is an effective messenger because of her unique characteristics that include alertness, adaptability, intelligence and community-mindedness. Ember’s primary job is to educate the public about how to apply FireSmart principles to their homes, properties and neighbourhoods to increase wildfire resiliency.

“In an effort to spread awareness about our brand and programs, we’ve worked with FireSmart Canada to develop a fox mascot to help further engage and connect with the public,” says Kelsey Winter, FireSmart BC program lead and chair of the BC FireSmart Committee. “Ember will serve as a key tool to help us communicate to BC residents the importance of adopting FireSmart principles and best practices.”

FireSmart BC is a partner of FireSmart Canada, which leads the development of resources and programs designed to empower the public and increase community resilience to wildfire across Canada. 

To learn more about Ember, get to know some of our contest participants, and read about their FireSmart experiences, visit www.firesmartfox.ca.

About the BC FireSmart Committee:

The BC FireSmart Committee was initiated by the BC Wildfire Service in May 2017 to provide greater direction for wildfire prevention activities and better integration of the seven FireSmart disciplines throughout the province — based on the FireSmart Canada model. 

Members of the committee include the BC Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Fire Chiefs’ Association of B.C., Emergency Management BC, the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C., Indigenous Services Canada, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Regions and Rural Development – Regional Operations, Parks Canada, and B.C. Parks.

Resources:

FireSmart BC website: https://firesmartbc.ca/

FireSmart BC Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCFireSmart 

FireSmart BC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firesmartbc 

FireSmart BC Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firesmartbc/ 

Media Contact: 

About FireSmart Canada:

FireSmart® Canada is the national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart Canada provides tools for Canadians to become proactive in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and neighbourhoods. FireSmart programs and products are supported by organizations such as the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the National Fire Protection Association and The Co-operators. For more information visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

Meet Ember the FireSmart Fox!

Wildfire Risk Reduction Projects on the Move to Safeguard Okanagan Watersheds

Okanagan, B.C.: Last summer, four water purveyors – or municipal/regional water utility providers – in the Okanagan were awarded grants from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC totaling $678,910. The purpose of the grants was to fund a collaborative approach to wildfire risk reduction in all four major Okanagan watersheds.

The work happening on the ground now will not only safeguard high priority interface areas of the individual watersheds which border one another, but also help protect the broader Okanagan basin’s water quality, important wildlife habitat and infrastructure, and create opportunities to enhance the utilization of woody fibre associated with interface fuel management treatment.

Frontline Operations Group Ltd.’s Principal, John Davies, RPF, is heading up the projects. He’s been working with all four water purveyors together with input from First Nations, local governments, and key stakeholders to lead the development of prescriptions for high-value watershed infrastructure sites and a landscape level wildfire risk management plan to identify high-risk areas and subsequent plans to reduce dangerous wildfire behaviour. He is pleased with the level of engagement from all the water purveyors in the planning and the work now being done for the projects.

“The four water purveyors for the watersheds on the Aberdeen Plateau have collaboratively developed maps illustrating opportunities for landscape level fuel break development extending across the watersheds from Lavington to Joe Rich,” says Davies. “The locations are conceptual and based on in-depth GIS analysis and additional input from BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).”

A fuel break is an area where flammable woody material is removed in order to slow or stop a wildfire.

The four water purveyors involved have all started the hands-on work:

  • District of Lake Country,
  • Regional District of North Okanagan,
  • Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District, and
  • Black Mountain Irrigation District

“All four water purveyors have small-scale operational projects on the go over the fall and winter. Work will occur around residential developments as well as critical infrastructure associated with water intakes, treatment facilities, and communication towers essential to safe operations of the watersheds. Plus, these projects are providing opportunities for local contractors to pick up additional work.”

John Davies, RPF, Frontline Operations Group Ltd.

Here is a status report on each of the projects:

District of Lake Country Project: work has seen the removal of woody debris from approximately 2.5 hectares in an area near the Beaver Lake Lodge and the Vernon Creek intake. The Beaver Lake Reservoir provides essential water services for over 4,000 customers and is a backup for Okanagan Lake water customers. The wood being removed is fallen dead wood which has been provided as firewood for the local community and delivered to Okanagan Indian Band for their elders.

Black Mountain Irrigation District: A treatment to thin and remove trees for the Philpott Road has been prescribed and the Irrigation District is working with Gorman Bros. Lumber to finalize the implementation of the project this winter. Mapping of the area and recommended treatments are complete on four fuel break areas above Schram Creek slope.

Glenmore Ellison Improvement District: The Postill Lake project area will see work begin shortly as site conditions permit. An additional area has also been prescribed for treatment outside of the Postill Lake area and has been sent to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and BCWS for assistance.

Regional District of North Okanagan: The removal of trees and ground debris through hand and machine treatments is underway in an area near the Bluenose Trail in Lavington and behind private residences along Bluenose Road. The work will serve to reduce wildfire risk for homes and key infrastructure for the Greater Vernon Water Utility. Timber harvested by local contractors will go to local mills and any merchantable timber will go to local processing facilities. In addition, traditional Indigenous fire practices will be incorporated in understory cleanup.

Also pleased with the planning and implementation is Dave Conly, RPF, Operations Manager for FESBC.

“When we are assessing projects to fund, not only do they need to align with our purposes, but we appreciate it when they are proactive and collaborative, and these four projects checked all the boxes,” said Conly. “We continue to monitor progress and are engaging in a number of field trips with the contractors and water purveyors. We look forward to completing this first phase of work to reduce fire behaviour and severity.”

All four FESBC-funded projects are expected to be complete by late summer 2021.

“The watersheds provide water to many communities, and tens of thousands of residents, throughout the North and Central Okanagan. To have the water quality and quantity within these watersheds impacted to any degree by a wildfire would cause incredible duress to communities and residents alike.”

John Davies, RPF, Frontline Operations Group Ltd.

For an interview with Frontline Operations Group Ltd.: John Davies, RPF, Wildfire Management Specialist | john@frontlineops.ca| 250.540.3473

For information on/or an interview with FESBC: Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC Announces Intake 7

British Columbia: The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is pleased to announce its seventh intake for funding applications. Applications will be accepted through the Forest Enhancement Society Information Management System (FESIMS) starting on September 28, 2020. The online FESIMS portal will remain open for applications until midnight October 16, 2020. 

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is pleased to invite applications from all over British Columbia,” said Steve Kozuki, Executive Director, FESBC. “Projects being considered for Intake 7 will be for increased utilization of wood fibre that would normally be left as waste or the rehabilitation of forests where low value or damaged areas can be cleared to then be reforested to grow healthier forests. These projects not only provide strong environmental benefits, they also generate much-needed economic benefits locally by creating and maintaining jobs.”

Funding applications will be required to clearly demonstrate that all activities under the proposal will be fully completed and invoiced by March 31, 2021. Interested proponents are encouraged to click the Applying for Funding tab for details on how to apply through the FESIMS system.

“The FESBC website also showcases the diversity of previously successful proponents such as First Nations forest companies, small woodlots, community forests and others,” said Kozuki. “We hope these stories inspire others to apply.”


All applications must be submitted through FESIMS and there are limited funds available.

FESBC Launches its 2020 Accomplishments Report

250 Reasons Why B.C.’s Forests are Better Today

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has launched its 2020 Accomplishments Report to coincide with Canada’s National Forest Week “healthy forests, healthy future” celebrations. There are two-hundred and fifty FESBC-funded projects throughout British Columbia featured in the Accomplishments Report. These projects were proposed by First Nations, woodlot owners, community forests, and many others to enhance B.C.’s forests for today and generations to come.

“FESBC is helping many communities in B.C.,” said Steve Kozuki, Executive Director of FESBC. “We are putting $233 million in the hands of local experts for projects across the province to reduce wildfire risks to protect people and communities, to enhance wildlife habitat, to improve low value and damaged forests, to re-plant damaged forests, and to use waste wood that otherwise would have been slash burned.”

The 36-page Report not only outlines the 250 projects by their purposes, ie: wildfire risk reduction, but also features projects by community so British Columbians can at a glance see the projects that have occurred, or are occurring, in their own backyard.

“These projects are taking action to improve not only the health of our environment but are also creating many social and economic benefits for the people and communities where these projects are occurring.”

Steve Kozuki, Executive Director, FESBC

Since the inception of the government agency in 2016, FESBC has generated significant benefits from the 250 projects including:

  • The creation of 2,124 full time equivalent jobs
  • $357 million in economic activity created from the $233 million investment
  • 60 projects led by First Nations plus 22 with significant First Nations involvement

“With support from the governments of B.C. and Canada, FESBC has been enabling others to reduce greenhouse gases, protect communities from wildfire, improve wildlife habitat, and create jobs for British Columbians,” said Jim Snetsinger, FESBC Board Chair and former Chief Forester for the Province of BC. “This work generates immense social, economic, and environmental benefits, now and into the future.”

Although FESBC is immensely proud of the progress, Kozuki acknowledges there is much more to be done.

“FESBC is well-positioned to continue the successful delivery of a carefully crafted program of initiatives that serve the needs of British Columbians. With so many people in every community committed to forest enhancement, there is no doubt we will achieve our shared vision of enhanced forest resilience for the lasting benefit of B.C.’s environment, wildlife, forest health, and communities.”

View the 2020 Accomplishments Report here:

2020 Accomplishments Report

For More Information or Media Interviews:

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

Partnership Supports Local Jobs, Reduces Carbon Emissions

Grants of $3.9 million provided to Pinnacle Renewable Energy by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) are helping support jobs throughout the Interior and recover about 300,000 cubic metres of wood waste that otherwise would have been burned in slash piles.

A $500,000 allocation from those grants made it economical for Lavington Pellet Limited Partnership to recover 38,000 cubic metres of residual wood fibre (also known as “bio-logs”) from harvesting areas in the Monashee Mountains. The area’s steep terrain makes it difficult for wood grinders and traditional chip trucks to reach harvesting sites after logging is finished. However, with this funding, the uneconomic waste wood fibre could be hauled out at minimal additional cost by logging contractors already working in the area.

Lavington Pellet Limited Partnership in the Okanagan Valley is a joint venture between Pinnacle Renewable Energy and Tolko Industries Ltd. The project began in the winter of 2019-20 and is expected to last until March 2022.

“These companies are working together to support local jobs and produce a marketable wood product from residual fibre, while also reducing carbon emissions,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“The crucial financial support provided by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC made this innovative project possible.”

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

The collaboration between FESBC and local forestry companies not only helps improve air quality by burning less wood waste, but also supports good-quality jobs for British Columbians in their communities. The strategy has resulted in a consistent supply of wood fibre for Lavington Pellet Limited Partnership.

“This funding allowed us to reduce carbon emissions through the utilization of harvest waste,” said Jason Fisher, vice-president fibre, Pinnacle Renewable Energy. “Harvest residuals are more costly to handle, process and transport than mill residuals, especially in areas with challenging geography like the regions around Lavington. FESBC’s support for this project turned into local benefits and helps us turn B.C. wood waste into a global carbon solution.”

The residual waste recovered by Lavington Pellet Limited Partnership was stored in Lumby and processed in the spring, when mill curtailments and road use bans were in effect. Having the additional waste fibre available for processing reduced layoffs for 35 direct employees and 80 truck drivers.

“It’s a win-win project that supports the environment, local industries and the economy by providing employment opportunities for local contractors,” said Dave Conly, operations manager, FESBC.

To learn more, visit the FESBC project pages or the BC Government website: news.gov.bc.ca

Contacts:

Aleece Laird
Communications Liaison
Forest Enhancement Society of BC
communications@fesbc.ca
250 574-0221

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource
Operations and Rural Development
Media Relations
250 213-8172

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

Creating Economic and Environmental Benefits for Rural and Urban Communities

Roderick Island, B.C.: many British Columbians may not have heard of Roderick Island located near Klemtu in the Great Bear Rainforest in the Central Coast District. Nor have they visited the area only accessible by a one hour 45-minute float plane flight from Campbell River, but a collaborative initiative is underway to both enhance the utilization of wood fibre and create more room for trees to grow.

Ironside Contracting Ltd., based out of Campbell River, operates a 42-person logging camp working on road building and logging in the Jackson Lake area where Kitasoo Forest Company (KFC), a company 100% owned by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, and Western Forest Products (WFP) do the harvesting. Typically, low value wood has been left behind in the area because the costs of transporting it to facilities that could use it far exceeded the sale price of that wood when delivered by barge to the south coast. Now, with funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), more wood fibre is being moved out of the area for use by local pulp mills.

“We were very pleased to receive funding from FESBC,” said Tim Walley, MBA, Domestic Sales and Cedar Sales Specialist with Storey Creek Trading, the company that does the marketing, quality control, and log sales for the KFC and WFP joint venture. “This funding has meant the difference between leaving the uneconomic wood fibre in the area, spread out in small piles at roadside to allow for reforestation activities, to this new opportunity to ship these lower value logs to market. It’s a win-win project with economic benefits to the area’s First Nations people and B.C. companies.”

Overall, the amount of available wood in the area presents a challenge for harvesting as there are lower volumes of trees per hectare and the general quality of the timber is average or poor. When trees are harvested, they are trucked approximately 15 kilometers to the ocean where they are put into the water, bundled, and loaded on to a barge for shipping. The pulp and other uneconomic logs are then chipped in the south coast of B.C. 

“FESBC funding has assisted us in being able to bring out more of the lower value wood fibre,” said Walley. “The opportunity to harvest more wood from the forest helps with overall fibre supply.”

Tim Walley, Storey Creek Trading

To Dave Conly, RPF, Operations Manager of FESBC, the project is assisting in the recovery of low value wood that traditionally is unable to be utilized, thus creating more opportunities for employment and for fibre to secondary manufacturing facilities such as pulp mills that would otherwise not have been possible. The project was originally approved as it meets several of FESBC purposes, in particular Improving Low Value or Damaged Forests and Recovery of Fibre. Environmentally, the project reduces wood waste which results in increased plantable spots for a healthy new forest. 

“The remoteness of this area presents unique challenges for harvesting,” said Conly. “Severe weather, limited hours of daylight, and seasonal conditions can all play a role. The funding provided by FESBC means several different companies, each of whom is committed to good forest management and sustainable timber harvesting practices, are able to enhance fibre utilization and set the stage for planting the forests for our children and grandchildren. This collaboration helps create jobs, benefits both remote communities who rely on forestry and coastal pulp mills who rely on a robust fibre supply and enhances the management of our most important natural renewable resources – our forests.”

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Aleece Laird,

Communications Liaison
Forest Enhancement Society of BC

communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Work Heats Up to Cool Down Wildfire Risk in 100 Mile House

A partnership between the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) and 100 Mile House Development Corporation is reducing the risk of wildfires for people living in and around 100 Mile House.

Manual and machine clearing of forested areas for fuel breaks is focused on neighbourhoods and areas near the community, with the goal of reducing wildfire risk to homes and recreational areas.

“This partnership is supporting the economy by creating opportunities for people from local communities, including the Canim Lake Band, as well as local contractors,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “It’s also benefiting people living in and near 100 Mile House, and all British Columbians, by reducing wildfire risk.”

The project is contributing to an estimated 10 full-time jobs and is providing opportunities for local contract work. It includes machine and hand clearing, as well as prescribed burns.

“People are facing the risks connected to climate change and preparing their communities to respond. Reducing the risk of wildfires is one of the actions communities can take to safeguard public health and safety,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This project and others like it create opportunity and provide jobs through economic recovery from COVID-19.”

FESBC funding of nearly $1.3 million in 2019 has allowed the corporation to clear close to 240 hectares since the project began last fall.

“The contractor is working with experienced crews from local First Nations communities, and with the slowing of the local forest economy, they also employed laid-off loggers,” said Joanne Doddridge, director of economic development and planning, District of 100 Mile House. “The public has been, overall, supportive. The development corporation is aware of the impact of implementing the treatments so close to residences. We are striving to minimize the impact on these neighbourhoods, while creating fuel breaks to enhance public safety and reduce wildfire risk.”

Much of 2019 was spent doing mechanical harvesting and piling treatments, followed by manual work where crews prune trees, thin out small stems and pile debris. This summer, crews laid out areas for prescribed burns and prepared for mechanical clearing. Manual treatment options may be delayed due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

Activities for this field season will take place north and south of Horse Lake. Work will also include the completion of activities in areas treated last fall east of 100 Mile and properties on the north side of Horse Lake Road and the Ranchette subdivision.

It is hoped that material removed this year to create the fuel breaks can be used as biomass in the form of pulp or ground for pellets, minimizing the amount of material that needs to be burned. All the pulp fibre and a significant portion of the residual fibre removed last year was used.

The project is expected to continue through March 2022.

“This project has been innovative in maximizing the use of mechanical treatments, which reduces overall costs and allows more area to be treated. The success of this project has been due to the collaborative efforts of all the parties involved to achieve a successful outcome.”

Ray Raatz, Operations Manager, Forest Enhancement Society of BC

“Funding from FESBC has been critical in all phases of this project. Assessing, developing prescriptions and treating these fuel treatment blocks to enhance community safety would not be possible without the assistance of FESBC.”

Mitch Campsall, mayor of 100 Mile House

To learn more, visit the BC Government website, here or the FESBC projects pages: www.fesbc.ca/projects

The Pinnacle of Emission Reduction and Fibre Recovery in Smithers

Smithers is contributing to the achievement of Canada’s and B.C’s climate change targets by diverting residual fibre from the Bulkley Timber Supply Area that would otherwise be burned due to the uneconomic haul distance to Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s newly developed Smithers Pellet Facility. This is a good example of what the transition to green sustainable bioeconomy looks like.

$1.2 million in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) helped to bridge haul costs, meaning the residual fibre is now being delivered to the pellet facility as raw material to create a marketable product, instead of being piled and burned in a cut block in the forest. As a result, air quality is better protected because incineration of biomass is cleaner than open burning of wood piles, Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s customers are able to reduce their overall fossil fuel consumption, all the while creating family-supporting jobs.

“In recent years in the Bulkley Valley, there has been no feasible end destination for any pulp-logs or bio-logs , forcing licensees to burn high amounts of fibre that could have been used to produce energy,” said Josh McQuillin, Superintendent of Biomass, Pinnacle Renewable Energy. “Through this funding we were able to utilize nearly 90,000 cubic metres of fibre that would otherwise have been piled and burned.”

Pinnacle Renewable Energy has a log supply agreement with Pacific Inland Resources, a division of West Fraser and partners with them to recover residual material left behind after timber harvesting within West Fraser’s license area.

“Harvest residuals can add challenges where the logistics costs of transporting fibre from cut blocks to our plant are difficult, or where storage space is limited, as is the case with Smithers,” said Jason Fisher, Vice President Fibre, Pinnacle Renewable Energy. “We know that by turning harvest residuals into pellets we are putting the carbon in that fibre to good use.”

Pinnacle Renewable Energy applied for FESBC funding to help offset any incremental haul costs associated with hauling fibre from greater than five hours away, allowing for the recovery and utilization of fibre that would otherwise not be economically feasible.

“FESBC funding enables Pinnacle to utilize fibre otherwise too expensive to haul to their facility which helps Pinnacle reduce greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding the burning of that residual fibre,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “We are pleased to support Pinnacle in reducing those emissions.”

Fisher said Pinnacle Renewable Energy recognizes the importance of reducing carbon emissions.

“Our customers buy our pellets to reduce their carbon emissions. FESBC funding allowed us to achieve that goal through enhanced fibre utilization,” said Fisher. “FESBC support turns into local benefits and helps us turn BC harvest residuals into a global carbon solution.”

McQuillin said additional community benefits include improved local air quality and employment opportunities for local contractors. The funding allowed Pinnacle Renewable Energy to find longer-term storage for a surge of fibre supply, resulting in employment continuity.

“We were able to divert fibre being produced by local contractors to an offsite storage facility where it was stored and then hauled to a pellet plant over break-up,” said McQuillin. “Without FESBC, our fibre supply needs in both Burns Lake and Smithers were challenged. Initiatives such as this help balance fibre needs as well as create and sustain several local jobs.”

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

To find projects in your area, visit the FESBC projects pages: www.fesbc.ca/projects

For more information or to arrange interviews:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison
Forest Enhancement Society of BC
communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Forestry Project Cuts Carbon, Boosts Bulkley Jobs

SMITHERS – Funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is helping a small mill in the Bulkley Valley turn wood waste into products it can sell, reduce carbon emissions and create local jobs.

Seaton Forest Products, located nine kilometres west of the Wet’suwet’en village of Witset (formerly Moricetown) and 30 kilometres west of Smithers, received $2.5 million from FESBC in 2018. It is two years into a three-and-a-half-year project funding the diversion of 170,000 cubic metres of fibre from distant cutblocks to manufacture into lumber and wood chips.

“This FESBC project supports the use of fibre that would otherwise go to waste, while creating jobs for local communities, including Indigenous communities,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “It’s great to see this funding already making a difference by reducing wildfire risk and carbon emissions, while building up local economies.”

The FESBC grant is funding 22 in-forest fibre-recovery jobs over the project. Meanwhile, the Seaton mill employs another 22 people, including approximately 15 from local Indigenous communities.

About half the recovered fibre is manufactured into cants – large squared-off logs that can be processed into smaller lumber products – and exported to China. The rest is chipped, sold to Pinnacle Renewable Energy in Smithers and processed into pellets.

“This funding improves our ability to have consistent access to wood and become part of the supply chain, as we use half the log for product and chip and ship the rest to be processed into pellets,” said Andy Thompson, manager, Seaton Forest Products. “While most larger mills require more wood and green wood, we are able to take the logs others cannot utilize and would have normally been either left in the bush and/or burnt.”

Including the FESBC-funded fibre recovery, Seaton is able to secure a total of 80,000 cubic metres of wood waste a year. Using the wood waste means it won’t be burnt to release carbon or left on site where it can be a wildfire risk.

“FESBC is excited to provide funding to enable operations like Seaton Forest Products to utilize fibre outside their current economic radius that would traditionally have been burned at the cutblock,” said Gord Pratt, operations manager, FESBC. “FESBC is pleased to assist the Province in meeting its goals of increasing fibre utilization and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by funding projects like this one with Seaton. Projects like this also often create much-needed local employment opportunities.”

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

Kirsteen Laing, Seaton Forest Products

Kirsteen Laing, administrator, Seaton Forest Products:

“There are very few employment opportunities in this area, so to provide up to 22 jobs is pretty significant. If we have a good wood supply, it supports one shift year-round. If the markets are down, then we can have some down time. It’s beneficial for us to use what we can and send the rest to the pellet plant. Here, we’re able to put more people to work and support the economy with an annual supply of 80,000 cubic metres.”

To learn more, visit the BC Government website, here or the FESBC projects pages: www.fesbc.ca/projects

Tree Buffer to Reduce Wildfire Risk for Granisle Residents

GRANISLE – People living in the Village of Granisle will benefit from reduced wildfire risk when a buffer of birch and cottonwood trees are planted around the community.

Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) funding of approximately $400,000 is supporting the Babine Lake Community Forest (BLCF) to surround the village with a mixed stand of trees, mostly made up of deciduous trees, which are less susceptible to forest fires than conifers.

“It’s great to see communities and First Nations like the Village of Granisle and Lake Babine Nation working together to reduce the risk of wildfires on their doorsteps,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Provincial funding to FESBC allowed it to support these projects and now it’s making a difference on the ground, protecting communities and creating local employment opportunities.”

As part of the project, BLCF has cut 36,000 cubic metres of existing conifers in the forest, which were then delivered to Hampton Mills in Burns Lake where they will be used to produce lumber. Planting of the buffer of 225,000 trees will begin next year.

The community forest is held in equal partnership between Lake Babine Nation and the Village of Granisle, which has a population of about 350 and could not afford to take the project on alone.

The FESBC funding was approved in 2018 to assist BLCF with its long-term wildfire mitigation, including community consultation and long-term site plans that integrate wildlife values. It is part of the larger project, to which BLCF is contributing $1.7 million.

As part of the project, conifers were logged last year. Fuel management is planned this year (the piling and burning of surface fuels) and planting will take place next year.

“The Village of Granisle and Lake Babine Nation have both been incredibly supportive,” said Peter Tweedie, general manager, BLCF, and owner of Tyhee Forestry Consultants, which conducted the work on behalf of BLCF. “In our public-input meetings, they were diligent in providing information. We’ve had almost unanimous buy-in from attendees who have felt anxious about the existing wildfire risk – especially since the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons.”

A review by the BLCF and the BC Wildfire Service indicated that replacing the dense conifer stand around the community with deciduous trees would be a low-maintenance, long-term solution to creating a wildfire buffer around the community.

“Our community is extremely grateful for the time and direction by our community forest board of directors in addressing the wildfire mitigation surrounding our town,” said Linda McGuire, mayor, Village of Granisle. “Daily, we have been observing the progress of this project and have every confidence it will be completed in the coming months and the board will have achieved their goal on a successful endeavour.”

The project is also enhancing skills training opportunities and providing employment to residents of both Lake Babine Nation and the Village of Granisle. FESBC funding is creating about four jobs.

Quotes:

Gord Pratt, operations manager, FESBC –

“FESBC is excited to assist the BLCF meet multiple objectives. This includes reducing the wildfire risk to the Village of Granisle and improving the forest by taking an innovative approach to diversifying the species in the community forest, allowing them to market hardwood fibre in the future.”

Gordon Alec, Chief of Babine Lake First Nation –

“Having worked in the forest industry for 43 years, I know managing and sustaining the forest and economy is vitally important. I fully support the Babine Lake Community Forest. I am quite confident that this venture will go a very long way in benefiting all of the communities involved. Let’s keep these positive initiatives going. Thank you all.”

To learn more, visit the BC Government website, here or the FESBC projects pages: www.fesbc.ca/projects

Terrace Community Forest Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions

TERRACE – A grant of $443,400 from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC to the Terrace Community Forest (TCF) is helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use wood fibre that would otherwise be burned.

The project, which got underway on June 1, 2020, will support an estimated four (full-time equivalent) jobs, through the grinding and trucking of waste wood fibre. The grant will allow TCF to ship the ground waste wood to Skeena Bioenergy’s new pellet plant in Terrace, where it will be used to manufacture wood pellets.

“One of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s goals is to support increased use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This project is a great example of how waste wood fibre can be redirected to support the production of high-quality wood pellets.”

The TCF has been thinning second-growth tree stands over the past few years within its tenure area, with white wood waste (hemlock and balsam) being brought to a processing area to be delimbed and cut to log length. About 15,000 cubic metres of hemlock and balsam were piled up to allow the wood to dry for two years. This curing period reduces the moisture content of the wood and decreases its weight, allowing more of it to be transported per truckload and lowering drying costs at the pellet plant.

TCF had stockpiled the wood waste for two years instead of burning it, hoping to find another way to utilize the fibre. The grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, which is supported by the B.C. government and the federal government, will help meet that objective.

Pellet plants often mix white wood with “hog fuel”, which is an unrefined mix of coarse chips of bark and wood fibre, to produce higher-quality pellets.

“Without this funding, we would be burning this fibre since it is otherwise uneconomical to transport it,” said Kim Haworth, general manager, TCF. “Now we can grind and store the white wood on site and supply the fibre to the pellet plant on an as-needed basis. We would rather see the fibre used, generate some revenue and provide economic, social and environmental benefits to our community.”

TCF is a company owned by the City of Terrace. It is managed by an appointed board that directs the general operation of the forest tenure. Its primary mandate is to create employment opportunities in the Terrace area, while financially supporting recreation and community groups that provide recreational activities within the Terrace Community Forest and the community.

“We are pleased to fund the Terrace Community Forest project,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, operations manager for the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. “In the long run, it will help improve future forest practices to increase fibre utilization and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the burning of residual fibre.”

To learn more, visit the BC Government website, here or the FESBC projects pages: www.fesbc.ca/projects

Funding for Southern Interior Mule Deer Research and 180 Conservation Projects Across BC

Kelowna, BC: The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects across British Columbia this year.

“This is no small feat,” said Dan Buffett, CEO of HCTF. “It reflects a diversity of funding from our core contributors [hunters, anglers, trappers and guides], court awards, provincial government contributions and endowments, and our partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).”

Through cooperation with partners such as the FESBC, HCTF is able to support conservation projects like the Southern Interior Mule Deer Project in studying how mule deer population respond to wildlife and habitat change. Conducting research in the Boundary Region, West Okanagan, and Bonaparte Plateau the project hopes to reveal why mule deer populations are declining in BC’s southern interior and provide recommendation on how to restore their abundance in the area.

“What we have heard from Indigenous communities, ecologists, and resident hunters is that the decline of mule deer matters to them and the status quo is no longer sufficient. It is time we bring more science to bear on issues affecting wildlife in BC,” said Dr. Adam T. Ford, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.

A combination of GPS tracking collars, trail cameras and pregnancy checks on wild doe deer are being used by researchers to assess changes in deer populations at the study sites. These research activities are helping to reveal how wildlife along with fire suppression efforts, timber extractions, highways and urban development are changing the movement and size of deer populations in BC’s southern interior. Bringing together conservation organizations, government agencies, and universities in both Canada and the USA, this project combines cutting-edge research on deer ecology with on-the-ground partnerships with First Nations, industry experts and local communities to investigate and develop solutions for mule deer conservation.

Other funded projects taking place in the Okanagan Region include:

  • $28,500 to support the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program to protect fish and wildlife habitat. Co-funded with FESBC.
  • $47,129 for assessing the bull trout population in the Upper Shuswap.
  • $53,080 for habitat restoration of Black Cottonwood ecosystems in the Kettle River Watershed to help conserve species-at-risk such as the Lewis’s Woodpecker.

FESBC’s Executive Director Steve Kozuki is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat. With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”

Each project funded through HCTF is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensures that species important to BC anglers and hunters are supported but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk and investing in environmental education across the province.

To see the complete list of HCTF funded projects or explore the conservation work being done near you view the 2020-21 Approved Project List or the HCTF 2020-21 Project Map.

Fire Rehabilitation Work Underway – South of Burns Lake

BURNS LAKE – With the help of a $1.25-million grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Cheslatta Carrier Nation is rehabilitating tree stands that were severely damaged by wildfires in 2018 and re-establishing productive forest ecosystems.

“This project is an excellent example of how partnerships are improving the health of B.C.’s forests,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The funding that the Province provided to back the society’s projects is making a difference and supporting jobs in many parts of British Columbia.”

Work on this project started in May 2020 on the south side of François Lake between Grassy Plains, Ootsa and Cheslatta Lakes, about 65 kilometres south of the Village of Burns Lake.

Fire-damaged trees are being removed so the wood can be used, instead of burning fibre that would otherwise be uneconomical to deliver to a processing facility. The grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC will help Cheslatta Forest Products (which is 100% owned by the Cheslatta Carrier Nation) cover the costs of shipping the residual fibre to a pellet plant or bioenergy facility. Diverting this fibre from burn piles will result in a net reduction of carbon emissions.

The logging operations were planned with the needs of wildlife in mind, ensuring high-value habitat areas and trees will be preserved. Rehabilitation of these fire-damaged stands will improve wildlife habitat in areas heavily impacted by the 2018 wildfires. The treated areas will be reforested, primarily with spruce seedlings.

“The wildfires of 2018 burned 75% of the Cheslatta Community Forest and even more overall on the territory,” said Ben Wilson, forestry co-ordinator, Cheslatta Carrier Nation. “At Cheslatta, we were proportionally impacted along with everyone else, and our goal was to clean the burned wood off the land base and get it growing green again.”

The Cheslatta Carrier Nation has a proven history in the forest industry. Its members depend on forests not only for cultural well-being, but also to provide financial opportunities. Logging had just begun in its harvest permit area when wildfires burned through much of it in the summer of 2018, resulting is a substantial loss of revenue. This project supports local employment and makes use of community-owned equipment to remove dead wood, providing benefits to the larger community and support for the local economy.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is excited to fund this project to improve forest stands heavily impacted by the 2018 wildfires,” said Gord Pratt, operations manager, Forest Enhancement Society of BC. “The rehabilitation of the ecosystem to pre-fire conditions will improve the damaged forests by creating diverse, healthy stands. It will contribute to the future timber supply and improve many forest values, including wildlife habitat.”

Read more on the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development website: https://news.gov.bc.ca/22573

Funding for Replanting of Whitebark Pine Ecosystems in the Skeena Region and 180 Conservation Projects Across BC

Smithers, BC: the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects across British Columbia this year.

“This is no small feat,” said Dan Buffett, CEO of HCTF. “It reflects a diversity of funding from our core contributors [hunters, anglers, trappers and guides], court awards, provincial government contributions and endowments, and our partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).”

Tree planting – Sybille Haeussler Photo

Through cooperation with partners such as FESBC, HCTF is able to support conservation organizations like the Bulkley Valley Centre for Natural Resources Research and Management in their efforts to restore endangered whitebark pine ecosystems in the Skeena region. As western Canada’s first officially endangered tree species, the whitebark pine, and the ecosystems they support, are of critical importance to high elevation grizzly bears, birds and other wildlife species that rely on their oil-rich seeds for energy in cold climates.

The centre has been restoring remote whitebark pine ecosystems across the Skeena Region since 2011, contributing to the restoration and conservation of biodiversity, carbon storage and beauty of the region’s scenic mountain ecosystems. Working along-side BC provincial parks, community forests and the forestry industry, the centre collects seeds from healthy parent trees, grows and plants seedlings in disturbed ecosystems and assists breeding efforts to improve resistance to the deadly white pine blister rust disease. Recently, the centre received word that one of their parent trees was found to produce the most disease-resistant seedlings ever tested in BC.

Sybille Haeussler, an adjunct professor at the University of Northern BC and project lead, is hopeful that the 25,000 seedlings currently being grown in a local nursery will contribute to ongoing efforts that see the restoration and persistence of whitebark pine ecosystems across their northeastern range.

“We continue to monitor the growth and survival of restoration trials established across northern BC and are learning much more about how and when the white pine blister rust attacks and kills trees and how to ensure that seedlings are planted in the best possible sites to ensure future survival under climate change. It will be a long time before these young trees start to produce cones and seeds that will support healthy wildlife populations, but we are in this project for the long run,” says Haeussler.

6 year old planted whitebark pine at Morice Lake – Sybille Haeussler photo

Other HCTF funded projects taking place in the Skeena region:

  • $29,900 for research into Mountain Goat range boundaries, habitat selection and population dynamics, co-funded by FESBC.
  • $43,788 for Northern Goshawk nest and habitat assessment led by the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation that will inform the implementation of the provincial Northern Goshawk recovery plan.
  • $113,000 for fisheries development, planning and stock assessment activities on the Skeena, Kitwanga, Bulkley, Kispiox and Morice Rivers.

FESBC’s Executive Director Steve Kozuki is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat. With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”

Each project funded through HCTF is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensures that species important to BC anglers and hunters are supported but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk and investing in environmental education across the province.

To see the complete list of HCTF funded projects or explore the conservation work being done near you, view the 2020-21 Approved Project List or our 2020-21 Project Map.

$9.2 M in Funding for South Coastal Northern Goshawk Research and Conservation Projects Across BC

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects across British Columbia this year.

“This is no small feat,” said Dan Buffett, CEO of HCTF. “It reflects a diversity of funding from our core contributors (hunters, anglers, trappers and guides), court awards, provincial government contributions and endowments, and our partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).”

Through cooperation with partners like the FESBC, HCTF is able to support conservation projects such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s (FLNRORD) study of Northern Goshawk in South Coastal BC. The project, occurring among coastal and transitional forests of the Lower Mainland region, aims to investigate breeding success and habitat requirements of at-risk Northern Goshawk populations in coastal and transitional forest landscapes.

The Northern Goshawk’s short but powerful wings and long tail feathers make the species expertly adapted to maneuvering through forest canopies in search of prey such as squirrels, hares, and grouse. Because of these adaptations the birds require structurally mature forest stands to support both the breeding pair and their chicks, however this habitat type is increasingly becoming fragmented due to forest harvesting activities. As a result, the species has been recognized as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and has been placed on BC’s provincial red list. To ensure the survival of the species, it is necessary to fill in some gaps in the scientific understanding of the species and pinpoint crucial habitat areas within their range.

This is where Melanie Wilson, FLNRORD Wildlife Biologist, and her team come in. Utilizing modern tracking technology, fitting birds with telemetry backpacks and placing motion cameras to monitor nest sites, researchers can identify highly valuable foraging areas and better understand the types of prey species being delivered to the nests.

“This research provides a unique opportunity to investigate the ecology of this threatened forest raptor and will provide valuable data to inform provincial management recommendations and ensure species recovery,” said Wilson.

Other HCTF funded projects taking place in the Lower Mainland region:

  • $29,593 for habitat restoration and invasive species removal, restoring and reconnecting a floodplain forest with the Fraser River, co-funded by FESBC.
  • $36,000 for research into grizzly bear ecology, habitat use and movement relative to landscape features and human activity, co-funded by FESBC.
  • $47,804 to facilitate a Bull Trout fishery assessment on Chilliwack Lake, utilizing a tag-return study to assess conservation and management priorities.

FESBC’s Executive Director Steve Kozuki is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat. With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”

Each project funded through HCTF is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensures that species important to BC anglers and hunters are supported but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk and investing in environmental education across the province.

To see the complete list of HCTF funded projects or explore the conservation work being done near you view the 2020-21 Approved Project List or our 2020-21 Project Map.