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Posted: September 16, 2022

Shuswap project gets funds to reduce wildfire risk

Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the eastern Kootenay-Boundary region, including a project being undertaken by the Shuswap Band.

Through a provincial investment of $25 million, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has funded 22 new community projects, including six in the eastern Kootenay-Boundary region. This includes work to reduce wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and support forest recreation and ecological resiliency.

Included in that funding is $664,724 going to the Shuswap Indian Band (Kyaknuq+i?it) for planning and treatment work in an area north of the community. Fibre from the project will be fully used.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that protect people from wildfire risks and reduce emissions from slash pile burning,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Along with the historic investments in Budget 2022 to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service and double funding for proactive wildfire prevention, these new projects funded by FESBC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

Wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Kootenay-Boundary region also includes the Creston Valley Forest Corporation getting $1,249,825 to develop plans and treat areas within community watersheds in and around the town of Creston.

“FESBC is thrilled that communities will be able to continue this important work to reduce their wildfire risk to better protect their residents and important infrastructure,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “These newly funded projects take a proactive approach to reduce the risks of wildfire and many will also improve wildlife habitat, increase the health of forests so they are more resilient to climate change, and use the left-over wood waste to make green energy. Achieving multiple objectives is good forest management and good value for money.”

Work has already begun, and all projects are expected to be complete by March 2024.

To date, approved funding from the FESBC 2022-23 Funding Program totals $14 million. Additional applications through the FESBC portal are welcome and will be accepted until the $25-million fund has been allocated.

Since 2016, FESBC has supported more than 260 projects throughout B.C. Sixty-three of these projects have been led by First Nations and another 23 have significant First Nations’ involvement. FESBC projects have reduced wildfire risk in 120 communities and have created more than 2,100 full-time jobs.

FESBC is a Crown agency established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating wildfire impacts, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.

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