Grand Forks Flood, Forests, Forestry Presentation: The link between flood & forestry

In a presentation from professional foresters, Herb Hammond and Fred Marshall, residents of Grand Forks heard about the desperately unhealthy state of the forest in the Kettle River Watershed and Boundary region.  SEE BELOW TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION AND LINKS TO FRED’S WRITTEN PRESENTATION AND NOTES.

Because Grand Forks is the test case and the canary in the coal mine for the devastating effects of forestry practices in BC, my goal as the organizer of this presentation was to become informed about the state of our local forests and the relationship between forestry and the flooding in Grand Forks. The presentation achieved this goal and is the first step towards citizens coming together to work for healthier forests here.

The main takeaways of the talks:

  • it is possible to create more local jobs at the same time as protecting our forests
  • urgent changes are needed in regards to what timber companies are allowed to do in our forests
  • changes are required to forestry legislation and policies at a Provincial level
  • the amount of clearcutting being done and roads being built are not only contributing to increased flooding but they are devastating our forests and wildlife
  • an ecosystem based plan (rather than a profit-based-plan) is what is urgently required here
  • local citizens must form a group to speak up for and protect the forest
  • all players, including industry, government, and citizens must work together now to create thriving forests and a prosperous future – we are past the tipping point
There were approximately 100 people in attendance, including some from industry, government, and the media.   Audience feedback was very positive – about the quality, usefulness, and value of the information.  Thanks to Herb & Fred we now have a community that is filled with people who know the truth, are concerned about what is happening, and want to take action.
Taryn Skalbania from the Peachland Watershed Alliance, spoke to our group about ways that we can organize, make change, fundraise, and strategize.

After the presentation, Herb Hammond said, “Throughout the presentations, questions, and discussion, I felt community empowerment occurring.  The next step will be to harness that empowerment to lead future analyses and catalyze real change in the conservation, restoration, and management of the Kettle River watershed.  Community leadership will be necessary if focused, thoughtful change is to occur in the way that the Kettle River is managed.”He added, “We need to talk in more detail about a specific process to plan and apply principled ecosystem-based conservation, restoration, and management for climate change resilience to the Kettle River watershed.  This needs to be the next step before any further logging or road construction is undertaken.  Under the current management approaches, the watershed has become dis-functional for a spectrum of ecological processes, chief among them water conservation and climate moderation; and dis-functional for the persistence of a wide array of species.  The time for debating the need for change has past.  Now is the time to plan and implement an ecosystem-based restoration and conservation plan for the Kettle.”

I am so grateful to Fred, Herb, and everyone else who played a role in this presentation.  There was an entire team of people both local and across the province who contributed. Much gratitude goes to the USCC Hall in Grand Forks and to Gary Smith for being the moderator.

NEXT STEPS

Strategy:
I have two pieces of strategy to work on:
1)  BIG PICTURE:  joining other BC groups in working to change legislation and policies
2)  LOCAL PICTURE:  forming a local community group to fix our own watershed issues
Meeting:
A meeting is being organized for local citizens to come together, build an association/committee, and form a strategy.  I am gathering a core group of volunteers to help right now then more volunteers will be needed for a BIG PUSH to make changes and become advocates for our watershed.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

To join the campaign for a thriving local forest or just to stay informed please email me and I’ll put you on the newsletter:  grandforksflood@gmail.com
This is not going to end here.  It is just the beginning.
Jennifer Houghton, flooded Grand Forks resident
NOTES:
Here are links to some of the information Fred Marshall referred to in his talk:

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