Aurelia Jas: The Forbidden Site Prep Tool: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program

Aurelia Jas
  |  
September 5, 2021

As a means of site preparation, Weyerhaeuser sprays a small amount of their blocks with herbicide to reduce the amount of competing vegetation. It is only in select blocks that are overly covered with vegetation and is dire need of a helping hand. My silviculture supervisor, Tyler Niles, asked me to spearhead the project (while he went on vacation to get married, congrats!) and ensure that it was completed within government parameters. I got a set list of blocks that were to be sprayed, and I needed to walk them to ensure that all waterways had 40-meter buffer boundaries flagged off and check to make sure that all other ephemeral streams were either dried up or not flowing. The last thing we want is to get chemicals into a waterway! As I thoroughly enjoy strolling through cut blocks, I was more than happy to help Tyler with this project. I even found a moose shed in one of the blocks!

Moose shed that I found in a block while setting up buffers.
Flagging off water buffers around a stream.

Another big part of the project was to ensure that the contractors were spraying in the proper conditions of less than 25 degrees Celsius, winds less than 10km/h, and a relative humidity of 40% or higher. The parameters were pertinent to abide by because higher temperatures/lower humidity the plants would harden off and not absorb the herbicide, and higher wind speeds/lower humidity raises the risk of off-target application. Herbicide is always a touchy subject in forestry and many frown upon it, but when used carefully it is an effective tool that helps reduce competing vegetation and the cost of site preparation. The chemical that was used for our backpack spray program (this means boots to the ground type of application rather than aerial) was Arsenal, also known as Imazapyr. It is a non-selective herbicide that kills off brush slowly over a matter of weeks. This herbicide has very low toxicity levels to humans and animals, does not cause eye/skin irritations (don’t go putting it in your eyes!), and stays within the first 20 inches of soil with no leeching (Bell 1997). It is interesting to note that Arsenal is only toxic to a single enzyme that is produced in plants, making it a very viable herbicide option (Bell 1997).

A couple sprayers walking together and spraying the blocks.

Using my kestrel (a device that measures all sorts of climate parameters) I would take two readings a day to ensure that the sprayers were spraying within the parameters. The backpack program was of course during one of our heat waves when temperatures were soaring way above 30 degrees Celsius, so I had to cut the spraying off early most days. Having a regulating Weyerhaeuser representative out on the spraying site daily was important for proper readings and to ensure the sprayers were applying the herbicide correctly. I didn’t want anyone spraying too carelessly or quickly to ensure that all vegetation was covered. I had morning meetings with the crew leader, planning which blocks they should do next based on where I had already buffered off waterways. Overall, the project went smoothly as there was always proper communication between me and the crew leader. I made sure to always work a day or two ahead so that the contractor never ran out of blocks to spray.

It was a little nerve-wracking to oversee such an integral project, but I’m glad that Tyler trusted me enough. I made sure to bombard his email inbox with daily updates and readings, so he had something to read when he got back from vacation. Jason McLean, the other Silviculture supervisor, helped me with my immediate questions and concerns (and occasional minor panics) whenever I needed.  

Bell, C. 1997. Using arsenal for brushy species control. California Exotic Pest Council. Symposium Proceedings. 3 pp.  

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
kpatterson-baker@fpac.ca
(613) 563-1441 x 314
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
Categories
No items found.
July 20, 2022
Forest Sector Supports New Global Network for Young Professionals
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to lend its support to the Global Network for Forestry Young Professionals (ForYP).
Read This
July 18, 2022
Canada's Forest Sector Announces Winners of 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2022 Green Dream Internship Program.
Read This
July 6, 2022
Canada’s Forest Sector Applauds Federal Action on Universal Access to High-Speed Internet
The federal government announced new rules which will govern the upcoming 3800 MHz spectrum auction, a move that will increase both the speed and availability of mobile and internet service across Canada.
Read This
June 3, 2022
Two Recipients Named for National Forestry Innovation Awards
In advance of World Environment Day, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is proud to announce the inaugural winners of the Chisholm Awards for Innovation in Forestry
Read This
September 21, 2020
Lisa Raitt Honoured As Community Champion By Canada's Forest Products Sector
Forest Products Association of Canada recognizes former minister Lisa Raitt's leadership in the forestry sector with Forestry Community Champion award
Read This
November 13, 2019
The Search for Canada's Greenest Workforce
Canada's forest industry is a top employer and global leader in sustainability, forest management, clean technology and innovation
Read This
March 21, 2019
Standing Tall with Canada's Forest Workers on International Day of Forests
Forest Products Association of Canada celebrates forestry communities, workers and world leading forestry management for International Day of Forests
Read This
February 20, 2019
Opinion | Workforce Diversity - Canada's Forest Sector Branches Out
Forest Products Association of Canada embraces diversity and encourages women and indigenous to join the forestry workforce
Read This
August 10, 2022
Forest Products Sector Calls for Action on Critical Supply Chain Issues
Ask any business sector what the basic principles of supply chain management are – and the answer invariably comes down to affordable and reliable transportation services. Unfortunately for Canada’s forest products sector, the present system is neither affordable nor reliable.
Read This
August 5, 2022
Andy Goodson: The Wins and Woes of Flagging Road: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
"I'd rather drag a firehose through hell than write an email."
Read This
August 5, 2022
Bailey Brokenshire: Blog: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
For the first few weeks at Tolko, my three coworkers and I spent our days meeting everyone in the Woodlands division, organizing equipment and going through various field and online training.
Read This
August 5, 2022
Cody Oliver: Blog: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
Welcome to my first blog, I’d like to use the first blog as an opportunity to introduce myself, where I come from and some other fun things.
Read This
Related content currently unavailable for this article.