The forests ministry is conducting a “search and destroy” project targeting mountain pine beetles in the Lakes District during the fall and into the winter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Ministry to spend $100,000 on pine beetle control

In another initiative focussed on beetle infestations, the government plans to do a “search and destroy” project targeting mountain pine beetles in parts of the Lakes District.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) is seeking tenders on BC Bid for the scheme that is estimated to cost $100,000 and must wrap up by March 15, 2020, FLNRORD spokesperson Dawn Makarowski told Lakes District News.

The Morrison, Granisle, and Fulton Management Zones of the Nadina Natural Resource District will be covered under the project.

The ministry of forests has been conducting search and destroy projects in the three zones for a few years.

“Early indications are that the number of mountain pine beetles are slightly higher than last year,” Makarowski said.

“We have also been addressing mountain pine beetle infestation in these zones through harvesting, small-scale sanitation harvesting, and with prescribed burns.”

FLNRORD is also carrying out a survey and treatment scheme in the Nadina District targeting spruce beetles.

READ MORE: Beetle survey, treatment in region to cost $100,000

The spokesperson incorrectly stated previously that timber infested with beetles would be cut and burned. It will in fact be taken to sawmills if it’s still merchantable.

That program is estimated to cost $100,000 and will focus on about 1.5 million hectares of forest land. It is expected to be finished by Dec. 15.

While mountain pine beetles remain in the wider Skeena Region, their numbers are much lower than they were in previous years, as two officials from FLNRORD explained to a meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako in September.

LOOK BACK: Spruce beetles a growing concern, government says

Their spruce-attacking cousins are slowly becoming a problem in the Skeena Region and infestations over the six last years have grown from 90 ha in 2013 to 27,249 ha in 2018.

They are a bigger threat in the neighbouring Omineca Region to the east, where they spread from 7,653 ha in 2013 to more than 217,251 ha in 2014, and peaked at 341,000 ha in 2017, according to FLNRORD data. The infestation level dropped to 242,000 ha last year.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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