Vaagen Fibre Canada Achievement Report: Issue 002

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FORESTRY ACHIEVEMENT REPORT Developed by Vaagen Fibre Canada | ISSUE 002

Working Alongside Our First Nations Partners

Our goal is to find unique and creative approaches to forest management with partners like the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), the West Boundary Community Forest, local land and woodlot owners, and other forest licencees to secure sustainable and reliable access to fibre. We seek to help our partners and create mutually beneficial opportunities. Our forest management focuses on addressing multiple objectives across the landscape, recognizing the values and expectations that our First Nations and local communities have for our forests, and managing for much more than simply timber extraction. At Vaagen Fibre Canada, we go beyond value-added—we believe in Values-Added.

“ We work side-by-side with the team at Vaagen Fibre Canada to co-manage our forests through the lens of our culture and best forestry practices. Together, we’re ensuring the continued prosperity


of our people and our land.”


Wildfire Recovery

& Restoration —Nk’Mip Creek


W ildlife Habitat Maintenance —Rice Creek


Fuel Management

— Beaverdell


Nk’Mip Forestry Osoyoos Indian Band

Vaagen Fibre Canada and the Osoyoos Indian Band are Doing Things Differently OIB and Vaagen work together on numerous projects related to land management including road maintenance, layout and development, brushing, slash pile burning, and manual treatments for fuel mitigation.

“Meshing together cultural knowledge and modern-day strategies will produce an optimal result on the ground that aligns with the intentions of the community and the principles they support.”

Part of this work includes the development of a Forestry Management Strategic Plan, a guiding document for Nk’Mip forestry practices done in collaboration with the Band and incorporating the values and objectives they want to see implemented across the landscape on their traditional territory.

The goals of the Plan include: » Building in the new Syilx Forestry Standards to our management and planning » Emphasizing jobs and revenue for the OIB from their natural resources » Education of and training for OIB community members

“The foundations of the Forest Management Strategic Plan are based on direction from the community and the principles and practices used in the past, combined with modern -day forest strategies,” said Peter Flett, RPF, Vaagen Forester.

The goals are supported by the guiding framework of protecting the water and riparian values, selection harvesting, limiting road building and risk of erosion, reestablishing indigenous plants and shrubs, and maintaining the safety of hunters, recreators, and drivers.

When Vaagen envisions what ‘forestry reimagined’ could look like, we consider many different perspectives, including looking at the priorities of BC Premier John Horgan’s Mandate Letter to the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Some of the foundational principles for the ministry noted in the letter are: 1. Putting People First 2. Lasting and Meaningful Reconciliation, and 3. a Strong, Sustainable Economy that Works for Everyone. A strong example of this approach in action can be found in looking at our wildfire recovery and restoration project near Nk’Mip Creek outside Osoyoos.


Location: Nk’Mip Creek Area: 250 hectares

A collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band In the summer of 2021, the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire burned over 20,000 hectares of land east of Osoyoos. Infrastructure was destroyed and much of the forests in the OIB’s traditional territory were burned. The wildfire recovery and restoration project in partnership with the OIB has focused on recovering burned wood, increasing utilization of wood fibre, restoring traditional hunting grounds, replanting native shrubs and trees, preventing erosion, and the general clean-up of dead wood to prevent fir beetle infestations. The burned and damaged fibre is being salvaged from areas with high hunting and recreational values. Replanting with native plants will help with faster regeneration and encourage biodiversity to return to the ecosystem while also establishing shrubs and bushes that provide important traditional values to the OIB. All the harvesting will be done carefully and strategically, particularly in riparian areas, with the goal of ensuring the best possible recovery, minimizing any further damage to the ecosystem, retaining trees that survived the wildfire, and emphasizing the traditional and cultural land-use values. Members from the OIB community are involved in every aspect of the work including layout, harvest monitoring, road maintenance, silviculture decisions, and manual fuel mitigation and treatments. “It’s a project that I believe focuses on good forestry practices in areas such as this which were devastated by wildfire. We want to make sure the management of these burned areas give the forest stands the best possible

chance to recover, that the damaged water systems are protected, and that the area is safe for hunters and recreators,” said Dan Macmaster, RPF, Fibre Manager, Vaagen. “This project provides several good jobs for rural community members, and OIB members.” The multiphase project is focused on the restoration of light, moderate, and severely burned areas. The goal is to recover fibre in the heavily burned areas and increase resiliency to future fires and climate change by replanting with native vegetation. “The selection of these plants will be guided by OIB Elders and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Keepers (TEKK),” said Peter Flett, RFP, Vaagen Forester. “Their direction is paramount in identifying and selecting species that are resilient, suitable for the site, and provide cultural values.” Some lightly burned areas will be left to naturally regenerate with the focus mainly on the areas that are too fire-damaged to recover. Some of the moderately burned areas have burned before and the trees in these stands have significant value to wildlife. These will be left to support biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. “The connection with OIB has been key with these projects,” said Flett. “Having the community involved with everything from initial planning to operations is key in ensuring highly sensitive cultural areas aren’t disturbed. There is immense knowledge of the land and its history within the Band and I learn something new from every conversation I have with a community member.”


Location: Rice Creek Area: 146 hectares

A Win for the Williamson’s Sapsucker The Williamson’s Sapsucker is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the British Columbia Wildlife Act and is considered a vulnerable species. As of 2017, the Sapsucker was listed as an endangered species by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In partnership with the OIB, dead and suppressed trees were removed in a 146-hectare area near Rice

Creek. The south-facing slope areas are a challenge to revegetate as they are exposed to intense sun during the summer months. To address this, juvenile and mature trees were strategically retained to provide a natural seed source, shade, and stability for seedlings. These factors are critical for ensuring successful regeneration with limited summer moisture and extended periods of high temperatures.


“ The team implemented best management practices to develop a permit that included suitable nest trees for cavity nesting, greater than 85 live trees per hectare, coniferous trees for sap trees, and woody debris components to support ant populations. There were so many aspects to consider and our collaborative work in planning and implementation was a big win for wildlife habitat.” — Peter Flett, RPF Vaagen Fibre Canada

Location: Beaverdell Area: 110 hectares

Protecting Our Local Communities Through Proper Forest Management The objectives of this project, that surrounds the community of Beaverdell, are to remove dead blowdown trees and excess fuels on the forest floor, to harvest any areas of fir/pine beetle attack, to remove small trees that will act as ladder fuels, and to space the canopies of the retained trees to limit the risk of a catastrophic crown fire. The planning and development included field visits with Penticton Indian Band (PIB) foresters and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Keepers (TEKK) who completed a fuel modification treatment plan and cultural heritage

review. Following the Syilx forestry standards and direction from the PIB, Vaagen developed wildlife corridors, enhanced riparian buffers, and protected wetlands and seasonal waterways. Multiple site visits with the Band foresters provided the direction Vaagen needed to develop a prescription that was approved by the PIB, supported by the BC Wildfire Service, and met the goals of protecting the Beaverdell community. Treatment will begin this spring and postharvest cleanup of fine fuels that remain will take place in 2023.

Our mill located in Midway, B.C. depends on our surrounding communities just like our surrounding communities depend on our mill. We have a close connection to our First Nations partners, Community Forest, and local residents and are proud to be located in the West Boundary. If we can ever offer you a tour or more information on our partnerships, connect with me.

“Vaagen Fibre Canada is much more than just logging. We are addressing the concerns and issues that our First Nations, forests, and small communities are voicing. Wildfire risk reduction, forest health, protection of water, and listening to our local Indigenous and rural communities is the foundation of every project we initiate. Keeping our community mill operating with proper forest management and input from community members is of the utmost importance.” — Dan Macmaster, Fibre Manager Vaagen Fibre Canada

Dan Macmaster MSFM, BSc, BEd, RPF Fibre Manager | Vaagen Fibre Canada PO Box 510, 1160 Highway 3 Midway, BC V0H 1M0 Phone: 250.528.0344

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