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
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
Categories
No items found.
September 20, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Announces Awards of Excellence Recipients, Celebrating Its Best and Brightest
As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program – which recognizes the outstanding men and women across Canada who have made exceptional contributions to the forest sector and to forestry communities.
Read This
September 20, 2021
PEI Senator Diane Griffin & Marc Joron of Timmins Honoured as Community Champions by Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Senator Diane Griffin and Marc Joron of EACOM Timber Corporation have been honoured with the Forest Community Champion Award.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar Receives Innovation Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar, BC is the recipient of the 2021 Innovation Award.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Janet Lane of Dryden, Ontario & Marc Bédard of Montreal, Quebec Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Janet Lane of Domtar Corporation in Dryden, Ontario and Marc Bédard of Resolute Forest Products in Montreal are recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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
September 5, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Summer Came and Went: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I was hired as a Woodlands intern with Weyerhaeuser Grande Prairie, which meant that I would be working within silviculture, operations, and planning in a split role. My summer was filled with all sorts of different jobs, such as boundary layout, block re-ribboning, drone flying, road maintenance, and many other jobs that continuously kept me on my toes.
Read This
September 4, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Drone Flights and Road Reclamation: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I’ve seen firsthand the effort that is taken to ensure that harvesting is done in the most sustainable way. Recent cut blocks are surrounded by multi-age stands, varying from 20 to 60 years old, ensuring that a large span of land is never cut at once. Having multi-age stands is important in ensuring that wildlife and biodiversity still have room to grow while we fulfill our wood needs.‍
Read This
September 3, 2021
Emma Schlosser: My Final Blog: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I wanted to use this blog to reflect on my summer and share some of my experiences. As you all know, this summer I worked at Alberta Newsprint Company, however, one thing I did not tell you in the beginning is the many different departments I worked in! So here is a fun little timeline from my summer:
Read This
September 3, 2021
Arianna Loogman: Planning from the Sky: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
Beaver dams, steep slopes, access routes, and places to land a helicopter during layout are other elements we may be looking for during this process. While data and imagery are available to help plan the blocks, seeing it from the sky can often provide a much clearer and more current picture of the forest.
Read This
Related content currently unavailable for this article.