Stand statement on proposal to spray chemical herbicides in Sea to Sky and Chilliwack forests

March 24, 2022

Stand.earth is calling on provincial decision-makers to immediately extend a public engagement period for a proposed Pest Management Plan that would see the spraying of chemical herbicides in forest lands from Squamish to Hope, including in areas around Chilliwack and Agassiz. 

Stand.earth is calling on provincial decision-makers to immediately extend a public engagement period for a proposed Pest Management Plan that would see the spraying of chemical herbicides in forest lands from Squamish to Hope, including in areas around Chilliwack and Agassiz. 

The proposal would see herbicides like triclopyr and glyphosate – which is the subject of ongoing lawsuits due to potential links to cancer – injected into broadleaf trees and sprayed from helicopters to kill native plant species, which are considered pests by the timber industry. The proposed pest management plan would begin April 2022 and last five years. The proposal has been submitted by the province’s own Crown corporation, BC Timber Sales.

Stand.earth supports calls from community members for a longer engagement period and more transparency from government agencies. The potential impacts of this plan are severe and likely to adversely impact local food and medicine sources, as well as wildlife habitat and overall forest health.

Spraying chemicals to eliminate certain plants is part of an antiquated practice to produce timber plantations, instead of supporting forest recovery after harvest. The B.C. NDP government has pledged to undertake a “paradigm shift” for forest management, specifically to value ecological and community values above timber values. The continued spraying of chemicals, especially without due public dialogue or transparency, is the antithesis to this commitment. Groups like Stop the Spray BC have long called for an end to the practice, which is widespread in the central Interior.

Communities in British Columbia are contending with multiple crises, including the impacts of megafires, floods, and slides made worse by climate change and overlogging. The protection and recovery of forests, including fire and drought-resistant species like broadleaf trees, must be an integral part of any strategy to mitigate climate change impacts and bolster community resiliency.

We call on provincial government decision-makers to honour their promises to chart a new future for forests, and stop the spray of chemical herbicides in forests across the province. We are urging the province to begin by taking the immediate step of extending the public engagement period for the Pest Management Plan in the Sea to Sky and Chilliwack Natural Resource Districts.

Members of the public are encouraged to make immediate email submissions to the BC Timber Sales Chinook Business area at Forests.ChinookTimberSalesOffice@gov.bc.ca and request an extension to the public engagement period for Pest Management Plan 18597-40/2022-27, and CC your elected representative and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy (FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca).