2013 Project and Budget Summary

With contributions from the provincial government and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation totalling $186,156 the following activities were completed.

Administration: Includes program coordination, book keeping, SERNbc comprehensive liability insurance, website maintenance and volunteer directors travel expenses.


Three contracts were awarded to complete surveys and prescriptions for restoration of grizzly bear habitat west of Tezzeron Lake, designated ungulate winter range habitat along the Blackwater River, grassland habitat along the Euchiniko Lakes, and Douglas fir ecosystems close to Naltesby Lake


Two helicopter flights were taken early spring of 2013 to assess potential for prescribed burning activity. The burns were not completed due to inappropriate conditions at that time. More details on how to deliver a safe and effective burn were gathered.


The ecosystem restoration strategic intent document for the Omineca Region was completed in 2013 with the completion of the final plan scheduled for early 2014.


Helicopter access funds were provided to complete the establishment of 2 permanent sample plots for white bark pine.


A contract to assess opportunities to expand the range of Douglas fir and western larch was awarded.


Miscellaneous funds spent on supporting research on prescribed fire stress on Douglas fir and also on an invasive weed treatment on Savory Ridge.




Activities Completed 2014

Uncooperative spring weather this past year made it difficult to achieve our prescribed burning goals. Activities were planned for the Euchiniko River, Stuart River, Ruby Rock and Bevel areas. For the first three areas, wet weather precluded a burning window until leaf and bud flush and then it was too late to burn. There was some potential to burn in the Bevel area but partnership discussions had not been completed prior to a brief burn window closing, again because of weather. More comprehensive discussions will take place in advance of treatment in 2014.

In Savory Ridge, local government staff and crews spaced and pruned 3.4 ha and laid out another 25.4 ha in preparation for further treatment. Staff also bucked and burned 7 Douglas fir beetle infested windfall (as a result of fire damage from October 2013 burning) in November, minimizing the potential spread of this beetle. Eight more attacked trees (next to the fire damaged windfall) are scheduled for felling and burning in March 2014. Twenty five other Douglas fir trap trees just outside the UWR were felled and burned to reduce the level of DFB in the area.

Assessments and prescriptions were completed for the Blackwater Ungulate winter range in Prince George District (area X), the Naltesby Lake and Euchiniko Lakes areas in Vanderhoof (area X), and preliminary assessments for restoration treatments has been completed in the Kuzkwa area in Fort St. James (800 ha).

In-Kind Services

The amount of in-kind services provided by various individuals and organizations is significant. At this point a conservative estimate based on activities associated with prescribed burning implementation and some program management activities indicate that $135,000 is provided through in-kind services.

All burning is carried out by zone staff from the Wildfire Management Branch and preparations of burn plans and prescriptions is also done with the assistance of zone staff from WMB. Also, all of the activities occurring throughout the region have either local district staff involvement, BC Parks involvement or land based stewardship (MFLNRO) involvement or leadership. And, though some monitoring is paid through contract, a significant portion of monitoring is addressed either through the land based stewardship program or the range program.

The SERNbc board is comprised of government and voluntary members including representatives from MFLNRO-Wildfire Management Branch, Range Branch, District staff, and Land based Stewardship Staff; MoE-BC Parks; the BC Trappers Association, The Guide Outfitters Association of BC, the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the BC Wildlife Federation. The time that these individuals put into the program is not born by the society and is considered in-kind services.

Funding Proposals

Not including requests from the Provincial Government or in-kind services provided by various organizations and individuals, we are requesting $319,420 for expenditure in 2014 from 2 main sources as identified below.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

Year 2 (of 5) funding of $111,900 was requested from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The proposal covers the costs of continued SERNbc coordination ($14,400), surveys and prescriptions for Sutherland Park, Chedakuz meadows, North Nechako/Coply Lake area, and Kuzkwa River in Fort St. James ($30,000), a Red Dragon plastic sphere dispenser for aerial ignitions ($10,000), helicopter rental for conducting monitoring and prescribed burning treatments ($50,000 in total for Stuart River, Euchiniko Lakes, Euchiniko River, Ruby Rock, and Blackwater River) and other administrative costs ($7,500). 

Year 1 (of 2) funding of $119,520 to undertake enduring features mapping and analysis was also requested from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The project will bring together all available geophysical, vegetation, and tenure information directly pertaining to habitat conservation and ecosystem restoration within the Omineca Region and, through GIS analysis and interpretation by qualified professionals, identify:

  • areas containing biophysical features that are important in terms of ecosystem function and habitat productivity, and that will endure in the face of climate impacts;
  • specific locations/habitats/features important in supporting selected focal species within the enduring biophysical feature polygons;
  • management considerations for identified polygons including things such as ecosystem processes, important structural elements, impending climate impacts, and habitat use by focal species.

Mapping and data products will inform decision making and prioritization regarding habitat conservation efforts, ecosystem restoration activities, and land use designations and practices.  We expect this will be extremely valuable in allowing users to identify important wildlife habitat and sensitive ecosystems, enabling landscape level habitat analyses regarding fragmentation, movement corridors, habitat protection, climate mitigation, and conservation/restoration priorities.

Peace/Williston Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program

Four funding proposals were submitted to the Peace Williston Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program as follows:

  • $30,000 for a prescribed burn at the Bevel site in the Mackenzie District;
  • $5,000 in seed funding to prioritize fish passage sites for assessment and treatment through development of partnerships between government, companies, FN, and SERNbc;
  • $40,000 for fish passage assessment and review of existing barriers; and
  • $5,000 in seed funding to map out opportunities for collaboration between SERNbc, PWFWCP, the Muskwa-Kechika Initiative, and the Yukon2Yellowstone Initiative.

Provincial Government

Funding submission for 2014/15 has yet to be completed. Though there is no specific deadline for submission, required budget from this funding source should be completed by the end of January 2014.  It is expected that funding from any projects identified for 2014/15 under the survey contracts will need to come from this source.

As a part of the two fish passage related funding applications to the Peace Williston FWCP, funding was also requested from the provincial government, through the Fish Passage Technical Working Group. Agreement in principle was provided by the FPTWG, contingent on FWCP funding in support of both the fish passage projects including seed money prioritization project ($10,000) and the assessment of current barriers project ($30,000).


Omineca strategic ecosystem restoration planning: As a part of everyday operations as well as through the development of the strategic plan, extensive stakeholder engagement was carried out in 2013, including the following activities

  • Email to all First Nations with interests in the Omineca Region soliciting interest and information on ecosystem restoration – discussions ongoing
  • Questionnaire soliciting interest in ER in the Omineca, priorities ecosystems for ER and potential sites was distributed to the public (via the website), the stakeholder list and also professional organizations (foresters, agrologists and biologists) in order to generate input for the strategic planning process
  • Discussion with a number of consultants and other proponents involved in ER planning and implementation in an effort to coordinate activities.

In addition, a workshop and series of conference calls were carried out with the SERNbc board in the development of a strategic plan that will provide guidance to the society in the coming years.

Regular communications: SERNbc regularly communicates through government members to government managers and the provincial ecosystem restoration program in order to sustain government interest and support for activities. A January meeting provides an update to the Omineca regional management team and confirms ongoing government support for the program. Also, regular meetings are held with staff and managers from the Wildfire Management Branch both for operational organization and to continue to clarify roles and responsibilities between WMB and SERNbc. These meetings are both ad-hoc from project to project and formally established as required. The Omineca MFLNRO regional ecologist is also involved in a research project looking at prescribed burning caused stress on Douglas fir trees. He is also in touch with research interests at the College of New Caledonia and will scope out the potential of their support in providing a NSERC grant.    

SERNbc contractors have also assisted with communications through their associated projects. We have developed contacts with the University of Northern British Columbia and are developing their interest in partnering with us on research projects, specifically those associated with climate change and tree species assisted migration. We’ve been in touch with NewGold, an independent mining company, with mutual interests towards Laidman and Matthews Creek wetland restoration.

A trip was made to Hudson Hope by the SERNbc chair and coordinator this past year to meet with the coordinator for the Peace/Williston Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program to determine how we may continue to work together. This was a successful meeting and resulted in numerous SERNbc submissions to the Program as identified above.