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Whistler watersheds exempted from pest management plan

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Although they are included in Terminal Forest Products’ five-year Pest Management Plan (PMP), the Whistler community watersheds of 19 Mile Creek and 21 Mile Creek won’t see an ounce of herbicides or pesticides, says forestry consultant Chris Nunn.

"Nothing has been written in stone and nothing’s been sent to the Ministry of Environment," says Nunn, a forester with N&R Forest Management Ltd. "We’re still preparing the plan and getting input from all the proponents, stakeholders, the public, local governments, First Nations."

Once the input is collected Nunn says it will be incorporated into the five-year plan, which will then be open to a 45-day day public review "where people can have another crack at it."

In the past, anyone who wanted to use pesticides or herbicides on provincial land would have to apply for a Pesticide Use Permit for each specific area, such as a specific cutblock. If the pesticide didn’t take, or time ran out on the permit, the company or public corporation would have to apply for a new permit.

With a single logging company owning tenure on hundreds of cutblocks at any given time, it was redundant to apply for pesticide use plans for every one.

"You would apply for a Pesticide Use Plan and give the government a bunch of detailed information on it, but it was a foregone conclusion that you were going to apply herbicides," says Nunn.

Pesticide Management Plans are more strategic in nature, allowing logging companies to make site-based decisions.

"The real focus is to try to prevent the use of herbicides as much as possible," Nunn says. "PMP’s generally mean less herbicide use, because they allow for other options than spraying.

"First you identify the sites where there’s going to be a problem with brush, then you do anything you can to avoid the use of herbicides – plant larger trees, use a bit of fertilizer, site prep to get rid of the brush. You select the treatment that is most appropriate to that site, which may be herbicides, or it may be manual brushing. It could be sheep for all we know."

According to the integrated pest management system that is being used for the PMP, community watersheds such as 19 Mile Creek are automatically classified as "Zone 4" and exempted from herbicide use.

Zone 1 designations allow for unrestricted use of herbicides, but in most cases the logging company will treat each site differently.

"Just because we can doesn’t mean we’re going to use herbicides, it just allows it is an option. If it’s just a quarter of a hectare of salmon berry causing a problem in the corner of a cutblock, we’ll ask if we even have to use herbicides on it, or can we just handclear it or leave it alone entirely."

Zone 2 designations would require further referrals before herbicides can be used, including consultations with First Nations, "who might have some traditional plans in the area," says Nunn. "Or there may be some habitat that has importance to wildlife. In those cases we’ll either stop, or go in and use ground defoliant spray as opposed to aerial spraying."

Zone 3 designations are areas where the foliage is crucial to wildlife, such as berry producing bushes in grizzly bear territory. The final prescription for the area would be left up to the Ministry of Environment.

Zone 4 means no herbicides at all.

Nunn held open house meetings in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton to discuss the PMP, but says only three people showed up.

For more information on the PMP process you can call Nunn and N&R Forest Management at (604) 892-1026.

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