Rodger Stewart is set to take on a new position as director of regional initiatives with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Forest resiliency focus moving forward in the Cariboo Chilcotin

Rodger Stewart as FLNRO’s new director of regional initiatives will focus on rebuilding forest resiliency after the 2017 wildfires

Creating resilient forests while recovering and rebuilding from last year’s wildfires is a challenge Rodger Stewart will face in his new position as director of regional initiatives for the ministry of forests in the Cariboo Chilcotin region.

Stewart says the plan is for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) to work with First Nations governments, communities, the forest sector, landholders and stakeholders to rebuild the forest estate and enhance forest resiliency.

“Having communities directly involved in the recovery of the landscape and their forests could be the silver lining in what was once a dark cloud of smoke,” Stewart said.

Earlier this month, Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) announced it is investing $134 million and that $99 million of that amount was going into the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Stewart said FLNRO will tap into some of the funding, along with many First Nations and other organizations in the region for various projects.

“The $99 million will also give us the ability to leverage for other funding,” he said.

FESBC executive director Steve Kozuki said initially the society received $85 million from the provincial government to get started in 2016 and then an additional $150 million the second year.

“We were intending to metre out $235 million over the course of time, but then the wildfires happened in 2017 and the province and the Forest Enhancement Society decided we needed to respond and assist communities to accelerate the forest recovery,” Kozuki said, noting the large proportion is going to the Cariboo Chilcotin because 90 per cent of the area burned was in the region.

Some of the money is allocated for multi-year projects, with a good portion for tree planting.

“Last fall while there was still smoke in the air in September, we did what we call spec sowing where we had the nurseries plant 11 million seedlings in the greenhouse and a year from now they will be ready for planting,” Kozuki said.

Stewart said assessments of the burnt areas will continue so that by October, the ministry will be able to develop plans for reforestation of burned areas.

Aside from replanting, the ministry will also focus on developing shaded fireguards next to communities and work to reduce forest fuels, he said.

“We have to ensure we all recognize and acknowledge why we had the fires in 2010, 2015 and 2017 and the critical importance of building wildfire resilient communities,” Stewart said.

“These big fires only stay on the minds of people for a limited period of time so it will be up to us to do a good job of being able to inform people that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Kozuki said some of the organizations receiving FESBC project funding in the latest round include the Cariboo Woodlot Association, Williams Lake Community Forest, Alexis Creek First Nation, Esk’etemc First Nation and FLNRO.

The projects range from mountain pine beetle rehabilitation, forest treatment, creation of fire breaks to wildfire risk reduction.

“We are a funding, granting organization, but all the credit goes to the people that live in the Cariboo Chilcotin carrying out the projects,” Kozuki said.

Read More: Williams Lake Community Forest focuses on fir-beetle, wildfire mitigation and education

Just Posted

VIDEO: Supernault family and RCMP make appeal to witnesses in Sugar Cane unsolved murder

The body of Gerald Supernault was discovered on the outskirts of Sugar Cane Reserve Oct. 5, 2008

Bernadette Ducharme voted the 2019 Keeper of the West

Horsefly born and raised singer-songwriter honoured at Kamloops Cowboy Festival

Provincial government needs to fund search and rescue: CRD

CRD board wants NCLGA resolution calling on the province to ensure secured funding is in place for SAR groups

Quesnel and Williams Lake under air quality advisory

Dust and overall air quality prompts Environment Canada to issue statement

Province gives CRD $25,000 towards new Emergency Operations Centre

‘The CRD is working towards constructing a new Emergency Operations Centre’

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read