2017 Project and Budget Summary

With contributions from the Federal (ECCC) and Provincial (MFLNRORD) governments as well as the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) totalling approximately $982,000 the following activities were completed or are in the process of being completed.

Helping to Manage Climate Change Impacts
Road Rehabilitation:
The basic concept here is to identify forestry roads that are no longer required and return them to a revegetated state through treatment and planting. Besides storing more carbon, there are a multitude of ecosystem benefits including those to habitat, water and hydrology. Besides implementing the projects through prescription development, treatments and planting, we are also supported to present our results, update a road algorithm which identifies opportunities through a desk top exercise, and monitor above and below ground results. This will be an ongoing, multi-year project with project delivery proposals submitted to FESBC.

Forest Carbon Storage:
There is significant funding oriented towards the forest carbon initiative and SERNbc has agreed to coordinate planning activities for most of the northern area. We are coordinating contracts to spatially plan opportunities for carbon storage. The ultimate aim will be to survey, prescribe and plant areas that would not otherwise regenerate, adding to the positive balance of forest carbon storage and helping to combat climate change. We are not interested in becoming a tree planting facilitator, and further discussions are required to decide on implementing the full suite of activities, but we will deliver initial planning efforts that will provide for the combined objectives of the forest carbon mandate (increasing carbon storage) and SERNbc (restoration of vulnerable and degraded ecosystems).


Restoring Terrestrial Ecosystems: Restoring Terrestrial Ecosystems Caribou is a species at risk and an indicator of a damaged ecosystem. We are working on a tactical plan for restoration in each of the seven South Peace ranges (Graham, Moberly, Scott, Burnt Pine, Kennedy Siding, Quintette, Narraway-Bearhold/Redwillow). This plan will serve to guide future restoration activities in the ranges.

We’ve also partnered with Chu Cho Environmental on their Lichen Seeding project for caribou habitat enhancement and are supporting their publishing of monitoring results in The Forestry Chronicle.

We’ve assisted the Bulkley Valley Research Centre in the planting of whitebark pine seedling in the Skeena Region and are working on a formal review and update of the Whitebark pine best management practices document.

Prescribed fire review for the Northern area is being worked on with the intent to develop a decision making framework, helping us understand and have consensus on when it is and is not appropriate to deliver prescribed burning. We’re assisting BC Parks with completion of dendrochronological work in the Red Hills Provincial Park area to help us understand the historical burn regime in this area of south facing Douglas-fir and open grassland ecosystems. We’ve tracked down 1928 vintage photos in federal archives and are using them to assess vegetative changes in the Sutherland Provincial Park area. This adds to the retrospective analytical work completed 2 years ago using 1960 and 2012 photo. We’re finding much more variability in vegetation types the further we go back in time. And, there are obviously more and more regular burn activities in the 1900 time period likely due to anthropogenic activities. Rounding out our work in fire is further assessment and prescription work to address fuel hazards along the Takla/Driftwood corridor as per the Vanjam Fire Management Plan.

A relatively small planning project is being completed, funded in part through the HCTF, to assess and determine potential restoration activities required in designated wildlife habitat areas and fisheries sensitive watersheds in the Omineca Region. This work should result in further proposals for implementation.


Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems: At this point, our work related to aquatic ecosystems has focussed on fish passage assessments and shallow water wetlands enhancement. Environment and Climate Change Canada along with the province is supporting our efforts and we are implementing a project that will result in aspen plugs planted along riparian areas. These will assist with the development of wetlands. Trees will be planted in 2018. Also, we are leading a research project to assess aspen distribution across the landscape with the intent to understand the nature of aspen presence or absence and its impact to wetland abundance.

Further communications with the Provincial Fish Passage Technical Working Group may result in SERNbc coordinating fish passage assessments and ultimately improvements to fish passage in Northern BC. Depending on the results of these discussions and the role of SERNbc, our ability to tap into numerous sources of compensation funds is expected to increase.


Projects Meeting Multiple Objectives: Projects Meeting Multiple Objectives Most of SERNbc projects cover off multiple restoration objectives however are generally focussed on the mandate of the entity providing the funding and can be separated into specific themes as identified above. Some projects are too general for this theming and are presented in this catch-all category.

Skeena ecosystem restoration scoping is one of these projects that will ultimately identify issues and restoration opportunities for a number of different ecosystems. Similar to the scoping project completed for the Omineca and the South Peace, the Skeena scoping project will stimulate discussion, build capacity, identify the main restoration interests and ultimately assist with the restoration of vulnerable and degraded ecosystems in the Skeena Region.

We provide seed funding for people interested in developing proposals for restoration activities. SERNbc recognizes that it takes time and some money to develop good ideas and we are willing to support those people that have good restoration ideas. We’ve had success in the past and find that the proposals we’ve supported yield a return of about 5 to 1. That is, for every dollar we’ve spent, we’ve received 5 in return from various funding envelopes.

Two other projects fit into this catch all category and are prescription development projects in two separate wildfire impacted areas. As wildfire areas are discreet units and restoration investments are generally safe from industrial impacts due to the area being burnt, we assessed and are coming up with prescriptions to restore riparian areas, roaded areas, fish passage issues, and an incorporation of climate change considerations in the prescriptions (mainly involving adjustments to stocking standards). Implementation will proceed over the next couple of years.


Administration: We have a goal to be self-sustaining within a two year period from the time that the provincial government first provided us funding to hire our manager. We are 6 months into this period and things are already looking very positive. We need to administer enough funds that carry an administrative allowance to cover the costs of our manager. In our first year we are close to completing this goal. We should meet it in the second year of support. Besides our staffing, administrative budgets needs to accommodate the usual aspects including insurance, communications, expenses, meetings and miscellaneous items not covered off by an operating budget.


Significant Changes in 2017

  • Financial support from the provincial government enabled us to hire a manager for the society. A competition was held and we were fortunate to hire Mr. Marc Steynen, RPF who started September 2017. This has allowed the society to significantly expand both its delivery and communications capacity.
  • The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a new funding opportunity and SERNbc is onboard, so far with 7 approved projects. We look forward to an ongoing relationship.
  • The SERNbc AGM was held in May 2017 and as a result we have a total of 17 directors. Directorship has expanded to include individuals from the three regions in northern BC including the North East, Skeena and Omineca. Over-time we will work towards balanced geographic (amongst the regions) and organizational (representing the variety of institutions and organizations with common values) representation. Overall BOD is also under discussion. We are now actively delivering projects throughout northern BC.
  • We have become a business member of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), a global community of restoration practitioners, and now have access to tools, content, professional development and a broad community of practice.
  • Note, changes to logo and name. Check it out.


SERNbc is presenting initial results of the road rehabilitation project to the Northern Silviculture Committee during their meeting in Prince George (UNBC) on February 28th, 2018.

Plans are in place to deliver a quarterly update to members and interested parties starting in 2018.

An information session was held January 16, 2018 in Terrace, providing interested parties with an information exchange opportunity with SERNbc. Provincial government, First Nations and the consulting community was present and we look forward to a developing and ongoing relationship. Everyone was very engaged and we have high expectations for a multitude of projects developing. Further information will be derived through the above mentioned Skeena ecosystem restoration scoping project.

Work has begun and will continue with the intent to build teams of individuals, by region in the north, who will assist with the identification and delivery of projects according to local priorities. SERNbc will lead the development of these more formal structures but will step back to provide strategic direction and oversight when the teams become functional.