Mackenzie Mill Maximizes Wood Fibre with Grant: “It’s the Right Thing To Do”

MACKENZIE, B.C.: close to $615,000 in funding awarded to East Fraser Fiber Co. Ltd. (EFF) by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is helping to support jobs in Mackenzie and in the recovery of close to 30,000 cubic metres of low-quality fibre that otherwise would not have been used. Extracting as much useable fibre from a block, and not burning it at roadside, allows for significant greenhouse gas emissions to be avoided, contributing to meeting British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets.

“Increased utilization is good for the environment and the economy”

Jo-Anne Lang, RPF, East Fraser Fiber Forester

“Increased utilization is good for the environment and the economy,” said Jo-Anne Lang, RPF, EFF forester. “To be able to do this successfully in remaining mountain pine beetle-killed and significantly deteriorated stands, support such as that provided by FESBC is necessary.”

EFF mill owners Pat and Richard Glazier have always believed that the full utilization of sawlogs and residual material is the right thing to do, which is why 30 years ago the company built a whole log chip plant equipped with the first drum de-barker in B.C. This allowed for efficient debarking of small diameter logs and debris that would otherwise have been left at roadside to be piled and burnt.

“In 2005 and 2006,” said Pat, “We logged a mountain pine beetle-attacked block, and by bringing it in tree length and processing in the yard, we were able to realize 98,000 cubic metres of sawlogs and 35,000 cubic metres of pulp from a block that originally cruised out at 92,000 cubic metres.”

Although it has not always been profitable, EFF has continued to hold on to their vision of enhanced utilization of fibre because they strongly believed in the long-term benefits this approach would bring to revitalizing forests for future generations. “We worked together to make it work,” said Pat.

One of the ways EFF has been working together with partners was through a log purchase agreement with Three Feathers Limited Partnership, a consortium of the Kwadacha First Nation, Tsay Keh Dene First Nation, and the McLeod Lake Indian Band. Three Feathers holds a Non-Replaceable Forest Licence with requirements to harvest significantly damaged leading pine stands of which EFF is currently harvesting and managing volume under this agreement.

“We’re still harvesting mountain pine beetle-impacted stands, which are well past their prime,” said Lang. “Harvesting is more costly, and blocks are further and further away from the mill. FESBC funding made it possible to substantially increase the utilization of residual fibre from damaged and low value stands that our company may otherwise have had to leave or burn at roadside because of the costs to transport it. Being able to harvest and deliver the fibre to those who can utilize it will benefit the community, contractors, employees, and the environment.”

Also, EFF now has a business relationship with Sasuchan Development Corporation (SDC) to do similar work.

“Similar to Three Feathers, SDC holds a non-replaceable forest licences (NRFL) with conditions to harvest significantly damaged leading pine stands,” said Lang. “EFF is currently managing and harvesting a portion of this volume under our agreement with SDC, and some of pulp will be extracted from the SDC NRFL utilizing the FESBC funds.”

In providing the grant to EFF through its 7th Intake, FESBC recognized the proposal’s many benefits.

“A project like this generates so many benefits,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC. “Healthy forests for future generations of British Columbians, improved wildlife habitat, better water quality, reduced greenhouse gases, reduced wildfire risk, jobs in the Port of Vancouver and beyond, and the enhanced utilization of pulp products which can displace fossil fuels such as plastic straws. Hard-working people in the Mackenzie area are doing their part to make life better for all of us.”

Robert MacCarthy, EFF’s regional manager commented on the good work. “On any given block, we can extract up to 50 per cent additional volume in the form of pulp logs. There is immense overall benefit to the public in making sure the fibre is brought in and utilized.”

Robert MacCarthy, regional manager, East Fraser Fiber

EFF’s operations in Mackenzie include a chip plant, logging side, and a finger joint mill. The finger joint mill is a value-added plant that utilizes residual fibre from sawmills to produce finger joint studs. Residual material from the finger joint and chip plant is sold to others to generate power or produce pulp. Providing employment through every phase, Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson notes the diversity of operations and the economic stability it brings to the community.

“Mackenzie exists to support the forest industry, that’s why the town is here. It’s nice to see a local business like East Fraser Fiber so focused on community and supporting their employees. And kudos to FESBC for raising the bar in terms of forest management and practices. I think companies should be looking at what FESBC is trying to achieve to support sustainable forest management practices especially with so much of our forests having been lost to fire and insects.”

For information or an interview regarding this project, contact:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Helping A Community Forest Rebuild for the Future

BURNS LAKE, B.C.— Over 10,000 hectares of the Chinook Community Forest (CCF) was lost in the 2018 wildfires and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has provided $800,000 toward revitalizing approximately 300 hectares of the hardest hit stands.

“As a shareholder in the Chinook Community Forest, we are grateful to FESBC for the funding to salvage burned fibre from the devastating wildfires of 2018,” said Dolores Funk, Mayor, Burns Lake. “This project benefits our local economy through job creation and allowing the utilization of fibre that is no longer economically viable.”

The fire reduced the value of the remaining fibre significantly and it was unlikely it was ever going to be economically viable to salvage the fibre and regenerate the site with a new forest. FESBC funding allows for the rehabilitation of this area resulting in the quicker regeneration of a healthy forest.

“The Chinook Community Forest, a partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, is committed to good forest stewardship and seeing this forest thriving for future generations,” said Ken Nielsen, General Manager, CCF. “This is a long-term investment by all parties to get to regeneration.”

A high level of utilization means there is a long-term carbon benefit by avoiding the fibre being burned in slash piles. The removal of fuel also results in wildfire risk mitigation as there is less available to burn if there is ever another fire in the area.

“We are happy to support this project and bring some hope and opportunity back to the community after the wildfires,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “It is important to assist with the heavy lifting due to the economic challenges and bring this area back to a green, healthy forest.”

Nielsen agrees. “We were hit heavily. Through this project, CCF, FESBC and other partners pulled together to rebuild from that devastating loss.”

Jennifer Gunter, Executive Director of the BC Community Forest Association, is pleased to see the collaborative efforts as well.

“Community forest tenures give communities the opportunity to steward the land,” said Gunter. “Among the multiple benefits of this project is the fact that it is making the community forest land base more resilient and reducing the risk of more catastrophic fire in the future. Community forest tenure holders are proving to be important leaders in this work. The tenure is a significant asset that helps to make this possible.”

Community forests are “an integral way to manage forests for the long-term sustainability of our region and projects such as these ensure communities are stronger, healthier and safer.”

Dolores Funk, Mayor, Burns Lake

CCF has salvaged approximately 100 hectares of the burned fibre last year and plans to salvage anther 200 hectares this year. It was bunch skidded to the roadside where it was then recovered and the sawlog was trucked to various secondary fibre users like a local fence post operation and Pinnacle Pellet, depending on the condition and size of the fibre. This approach meant that all the burned fibre removed from the community forest was utilized.

Tree planting is slated to begin in the spring of 2022 with a company associated with one of the local Indigenous communities.

“It’s really important to fund the reforestation of these areas,” said Clint Lambert, Director of Electoral Area E. “The trees originally growing there were not big enough to produce cones yet, which means the area didn’t naturally reforest itself after the fire. We have lost a lot of fibre and therefore jobs, so it’s nice to support local companies and help a community get back on its feet again.”

Project Partner

For information on/or an interview with Chinook Community Forest regarding this project, contact:

Ken Nielsen, General Manager, Chinook Community Forest, 250.692.0630, Ken.Nielsen@chinookcomfor.ca.

For information on/or an interview with FESBC regarding this project, contact:

Gord Pratt, Operations Manager| gpratt@fesbc.ca | 250.319.1119

Mercer Celgar and Forest Workers Reduce Greenhouse Emissions in the Kootenays

CASTLEGAR, B.C.— Mercer Celgar is actively working to facilitate and increase fibre utilization in the Kootenay-Boundary Forest Region thanks to $3M in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

The funding facilitates the recovery of fibre that would otherwise be burned on site, resulting in less burning which avoids the immediate release of carbon into the atmosphere.

Across the company’s operational area, significant volumes of usable fibre have continued to be burned as a result of the harvesting activities by forest licensees or from wildfire risk reduction projects near communities or in parks. Meanwhile, Mercer Celgar has been exploring many ways to have their fibre supply increased by improving utilization of non-sawlog fibre to their pulp mill in Castlegar. FESBC and Mercer both saw the opportunity in the convergence of these two issues.

“The FESBC funding has provided the economic support required for logging contractors to innovate new methods of increasing utilization of fibre from the areas they were harvesting,” said Gord Pratt, Operations Manager, FESBC. “For this project to be successful it took many partners to adjust their operations and policies to allow fibre to make its way to the pulp mill.” 

Pratt said these adjustments included how logs were loaded onto the logging trucks and the support of residents to allow logging trucks to use roads on private land to recover fibre from a wildfire risk reduction treatment in the neighbouring West Arm Park near Nelson. If not recovered, this fibre would have been burned on site. 

“Mercer Celgar’s program with FESBC has strongly influenced the company’s decision to proceed with the woodroom modernization announced last week that incorporates full forest utilization and sustainable resource management as a key requirement of the project,” said Stan Hadikin, RPF, Manager, Fibre Procurement, Mercer Celgar. “Strong collaborative efforts from industry, government, and stakeholders demonstrate a multitude of benefits including reduced wildfire risk, enhanced public safety, increased employment, improved wildlife habitat, ecosystem resilience, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Utilization can minimize the overall residual (left over) fibre on site by factors of 10 to 90 per cent. This project involves working with forest operators to increase the use of wood fibre and support the transportation of up to 200,000 cubic metres (one cubic metre is about the size of a telephone pole) of residual fibre for use at Mercer Celgar facilities.

The goal of fibre recovery and carbon benefits are intertwined. Through this project, Mercer Celgar will reduce the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by avoiding the burning of wood waste, along with the negative health effects associated with the activity.

“Initiatives like this are critical to optimize the use of the existing wood fibre supply as much as possible,”

Gord Pratt, Operations Manager, FESBC

“FESBC is excited to hear that Mercer Celgar was able to take what they learned from their FESBC fibre utilization project and make the decision to invest in a significant improvement to their facility which will result in the long-term increase of forest fibre utilization well into the future,” Gord Pratt, Operations Manager, FESBC

West Arm Park Interface Treatment with Follow Up Discussion: Erik Leslie – Manager, Harrop Proctor Community Forest; Amanda Weber-Roy – Conservation Specialist, BC Parks; Amber Cooke – Wildfire Risk Reduction Specialist, FLNRORD; Charlene Strelaeff – Fibre Forester, Mercer Celgar; Len MacCharles – Fire Chief, City of Nelson; Gord Pratt – FESBC; John Dooley – Mayor, City of Nelson; Grant Walton, Resource Operations Manager, FLNRORD; Eric Wahn, Land & Resource Coordinator FLNRORD

Project Partner

For information on/or an interview with Mercer Celgar regarding this project, contact:

Rose Leslie, Communications Advisor | publicrelations.mc@mercerint.com | 250.365.7211 Ext. 3347 

For information on/or an interview with FESBC regarding this project, contact:

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

Print Version: FESBC Mercer Celgar Press Release June-22-2021

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.