~Acknowledging the Women and Men Taking Action on Climate Change~
BRITISH COLUMBIA: Climate change is a concern for many people around the world. In British Columbia, there are local people throughout the province taking action on climate change through their work in forestry. A new video is being released by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) during National Forest Week (Sept 19 – 25). It highlights nature-based forestry solutions that people in B.C.’s forestry sector are implementing to take action on climate change.
“Our goal was to provide an educational video to help British Columbians better understand the important role of forestry to help in the achievement of British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. “We also wanted to acknowledge and recognize people from First Nations, industry, community forests, and others who are doing innovative forestry work which is often unseen.”
“One approach to tackle climate change is to adapt to increases in drought, wildfires, flooding, and other extreme weather occurrences,” said Kozuki. “We could as a society learn to adapt.”
The second approach is taking action to prevent, or at least limit, further climate change.
“To do that,” noted Kozuki, “We need to improve the management of greenhouse gases. International carbon accounting standards recognize that forestry helps mitigate climate change which makes our forests the biggest nature-based tool we have. The government of British Columbia has climate scientists and expert carbon modellers on staff who evaluate projects for potential greenhouse gas benefits and carbon expenditures to determine how much net benefit there will be.”
The video describes nature-based forestry solutions, including fertilization of trees and reducing the burning of wood waste after harvesting. Another solution is planting trees, a collaborative program with the Office of the Chief Forester which saw a significant number of trees planted throughout the province.
“FESBC was pleased to collaborate to help plant 70 million trees in the span of 5 years,” said Kozuki. “Many of these trees were planted in areas following natural disasters such as insect epidemics or catastrophic wildfires. The science tells us that reforestation is a significant way we can help mitigate climate change, and we have many in the forest industry to thank for that work.”
HAZELTON, B.C. – utilization of residual wood fibre by coastal pulp mills has reduced pile burning and greenhouse gas emissions from the forested areas near Hazelton in northwest British Columbia. This work has contributed significantly not only to the local and provincial economies but also environmentally to assist in the achievement of British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets. The project was supported by a $484,164 grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).
“Our FESBC-funded project allowed us to increase the overall recovery of fibre from our area forests, resulting in a greater availability of logs for domestic pulp producers and a reduction of the amount of biomass that is burned each year,” said Cathy Craig, CEO, NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.
Residual waste wood fibre in the forest is typically legally required to be burned to reduce wildfire hazard, and, because this fibre has a low economic value, it is usually piled and burned. Leaving and burning pulp logs is, in many cases, the only solution as the incremental operational costs of skidding, processing, loading, hauling, and increased road maintenance is greater than the value of the fibre. This is especially difficult within the Kispiox area where there are minimal wood processing facilities and a forest dominated by low-value hemlock. The grant helped to create positive economic conditions for NorthPac which allowed Craig and her team to utilize the fibre and avoid burning.
“The dollars allocated to us as a grant from FESBC provided us with operational certainty,” said Craig. “These dollars allowed us to commit to contracts with loggers and truck drivers, which further stimulated our local economy. Our crew at NorthPac is grateful for the grant and consider the project a great success.”
When piles of residual wood are burned, greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released. If the piles are not burned and the fibre is instead utilized, then much of the greenhouse gas emissions are avoided.
The FESBC-funded NorthPac project will save approximately 42,000 cubic metres of pulp logs from being burned in the forest. That equates to approximately 1,050 truckloads of fibre not being burned and instead delivered to the point of sale in Kitimat. The pulp logs were purchased by All West Trading Limited and barged to coastal pulp mills to be used to make pulp, paper products, and green energy. Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Operations Manager is pleased with the overall outcomes citing it as a team effort of many forest sector professionals.
“The project was delivered by a team of local logging and trucking contractors, and it contributed to the regional economy of northwest British Columbia,” said Pratt. “This is a win-win because it not only creates economic benefits for local communities, but global environmental ones as well.”
For information or an interview regarding this project, contact:
KOOTENAY REGION, B.C. – many Indigenous communities, municipalities, regional districts, woodlots, and community forests have taken action in the last few years to protect their communities from wildfire. Using funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) these project partners first create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) or a Community Resiliency Protection Plan (CRPP), which identifies the location of buildings, communications infrastructure, water, power, safe places, and emergency escape routes. Then based on the amount of woody fuel risk, the CWPP or CRPP prioritizes which treatments should be done first.
“The key goals of the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process are varied,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager FESBC. “Goals include increasing communities’ capacity and understanding of wildfire risk, fostering greater collaboration across administrative boundaries, and being more responsive to the needs of different types of communities throughout B.C. in terms of their size, capacity, and the threats they face.”
Wildfire risk mitigation planning and treatments can be quite different depending on where in the province a project is located.
“Wildfire treatments will often space trees far apart and remove low branches in order to keep a fire on the ground and to reduce the amount of wood in the forest, so it doesn’t burn as hot. This makes it easier to fight the fire,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director of FESBC. “But every community is different, and some communities have chosen to encourage the planting of broad-leaved trees in specific areas because they are often more fire-resistant.”
Since inception, FESBC has provided nearly $57 million to fund 124 wildfire risk reduction projects. These projects have not only reduced wildfire risk to 120 communities and rural sub-divisions but have generated an estimated 483 jobs (full time equivalent jobs created) and 43 of these projects have involved, or have been led by, First Nations.
“We wanted to share with residents in the region some of the wildfire mitigation work FESBC has funded in the area,” said Kozuki. “We’ve enclosed descriptions of 40 projects in the Kootenay regionto provide a deeper look at the important work that has been done. Although many of the project leaders are currently working on fighting fires and unfortunately not available for interviews at this time, our team at FESBC is ready to share additional project details or answer questions media or citizens may have.”
In addition, when it comes to wildfire mitigation work, the BC government has a wildfire risk reduction funding program called Community Resiliency Investment Program (CRI) which is a partnership with the First Nations Emergency Services Society, the Union of BC Municipalities, the Ministry of Forests, and others, including FESBC. The CRI Program has been spear-heading the FireSmart initiative to educate homeowners about actions they can take to protect themselves, such as cleaning gutters and removing flammable materials outside of homes and businesses. Other funding programs to reduce wildfire risk are administered by the Columbia Basin Trust and the BC Community Forest Association.
For information or an interview regarding these projects, contact:
Steve Kozuki, Executive Director | firstname.lastname@example.org | 250.819.2888
Smithers, B.C.: for 40 years, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has helped fund conservation groups, government, Indigenous Nations, and local communities to implement projects that protect B.C.’s wildlife, freshwater fish, and the habitats they need to survive and thrive. This year, HCTF awarded $9.3 million in funding for 175 individual conservation projects throughout British Columbia.
HCTF’s CEO Dan Buffett is pleased to report that the 2021/22 grant season represents the Foundation’s highest record annual investment and reflects the financial contributions and hard work of many British Columbians that fund and implement these projects. To date, HCTF has funded 3,230 conservation projects and granted over $195 million in funds across the length and breadth of this ecologically diverse province.
One such project is led by the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club. The Lake Babine Area Moose Winter Range Enhancement project received $107,847 in funding and will increase winter moose browse supply and availability near Smithers, B.C.
In many parts of northwestern B.C., moose populations have been in decline due to several cumulative factors, and the loss of quality moose forage supply is directly correlated to declining moose numbers. To address this issue, a percentage of Scouler’s Willow has been manually felled and “hinged” to improve stump and tree sprouting while also providing on-the-ground forage for moose. This treatment increases the amount of winter food currently available and improves the growth of the plants for years to come. The unroaded treatment area is connected to other valuable winter range areas for moose and supports fire risk reduction objectives for the Lake Babine Nation. In addition, a follow up study will guide future activities in terms of seasonal timing and methodology.
“This work would not be possible without the financial contribution of HCTF, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), and the Forest Employment Program,” said project manager, Len Vanderstar. “720 hectares of Scouler’s Willow sites have been treated within the Lake Babine area this year alone and is expected to enhance forage supply of treated vegetation by up to four times for up to 15 to 20 years.”
Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Skeena Region include:
$50,000 to restore and replant Whitebark Pine Ecosystems, co-funded by FESBC.
$53,603 to restore fish passages at road, rail, and stream crossings along the Bulkley River Watershed.
$34,000 to research Mountain Goat range boundaries, habitat selection, and population dynamics, co-funded by FESBC.
$42,000 to assess species composition, distribution, and exploitation rate of Bull Trout and Dolly Varden in both the Nass and middle Skeena Rivers.
$24,062 for a Taku River Tlingit First Nation’s led initiative, monitoring habitat use, migration and health of Tawéi (Tlingit word for thinhorn sheep) near Atlin.
Funding and support for these projects and others across the province come from a wide variety of sources including public groups such as the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF), partner organizations like FESBC, provincial government contributions, court fines, and endowments. A significant source of funding comes from the conservation surcharge paid by B.C.’s anglers, hunters, trappers, and guide outfitters.
“Over 40 years ago, a group of concerned hunters and anglers, lobbied for a surcharge on hunting and fishing licenses to fund wildlife and fish habitat improvement projects throughout the province,” said BCWF president Chuck Zuckerman. “The result of this impassioned call from B.C.’s hunters, anglers, trappers and sport shooters formed a new fund in 1981 that subsequently evolved into the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.”
Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC, has been pleased to be a partner with HCTF.
“We are proud to partner with HCTF and local experts on the ground throughout British Columbia to improve wildlife habitat,” said Kozuki. “HCTF combines wildlife biology expertise with their excellent management of funds to deliver outstanding benefits for wildlife. With all the pressures on the land base, the good work HCTF does is more important than ever.”
Each project funded by HCTF goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensure that species important to B.C. 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.
Forest Enhancement Society of BC Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison Direct: 250 574 0221 | email@example.com
HCTF QUICK FACTS
It is the mission of HCTF to improve the conservation outcomes of B.C.’s fish and wildlife, and the habitats in which they live. We make a difference by funding conservation projects and by educating and engaging the public about B.C.’s natural assets. 2021 marks HCTF’s 40th anniversary of helping conservation groups and individuals secure funding for conservation projects and providing education to the general public about B.C.’s important natural assets. Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $195 million in grants for 3,230 conservation projects across B.C. HCTF began as an initiative by B.C. anglers, hunters, trappers, and guide outfitters.
-Campsites, Hiking Trails, Ski Resorts and Heritage Sites-
British Columbia: in the midst of wildfire season, many British Columbians understandably become focused on fires burning throughout the province and close to their communities, threatening treasured hiking and biking trails, recreational sites, and more. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is releasing a 2021 Summer Accomplishments Update featuring 39 forest enhancement projects which are protecting and enhancing important recreational values from campsites and hiking trails to ski resorts and heritage sites.
“Earlier this spring, our team was reviewing the 269 projects FESBC has funded since inception, and we noted a number of the projects throughout the province had a secondary benefit to them – protecting and enhancing recreational values,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, executive director FESBC. “The primary purposes of FESBC projects range from mitigating wildfire risk and enhancing wildlife habitat to improving the recovery of wood fibre and replanting forests. At the same time, FESBC projects often deliver additional co-benefits such as climate change mitigation, job creation, Indigenous peoples’ participation in the forest economy, as well as protecting and enhancing forest recreation.”
Of FESBC’s 269 projects, 39 were identified to protect or enhance one or more recreational values. Project examples include:
Project partners are thankful for the funding and what the forest enhancement work means to their communities.
“We are proud of the work that was done, the results, and the safety assurances it brings. This action speaks for itself. We feel protected,” said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort Ltd.
Echoing Ballingall is Ed Coleman, former CEO of Barkerville Historic Town & Park.
“We look forward to the future as we care for the past. One where the historic town and park are safe from damaging wildfires so we can continue to welcome thousands of tourists each year and provide both employment and enjoyment because of the proactive work we did now.”
Since inception, FESBC has empowered local people who want to do local projects that contribute to the achievement of our climate change goals and enhance B.C.’s forests through wildfire risk mitigation, accelerated ecological recovery after wildfires, wildlife habitat enhancement, and increased utilization of forest fibre.
FESBC Board Chair Jim Snetsinger is proud of the efforts of the FESBC team and the many First Nations, community forest leaders, local governments, and industry partners who carried out this exceptional work.
“With support from the governments of B.C. and Canada, FESBC has enabled others to do this remarkable work to enhance our forests, generating immense social, economic, and environmental benefits,” said Snetsinger. “When British Columbians enhance our forests, we are bequeathing an inheritance to our children and grandchildren: cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gases, better timber supply, higher quality wildlife habitat, safer communities, and protecting important recreational assets we all value and enjoy.”