2009-11-27

Barker Minerals Reports Successful Results from Natural Resources Canada Mountain Pine Beetle EM/Mag Airborne Survey

Barker Minerals Ltd. (BML - TSX Venture), is pleased to report that results have recently been released from a Geological Survey of Canada Electromagnetic (EM) and Magnetic Airborne Survey (The Cariboo Lake EM/Mag Survey) which identified significant positive results over Barker's Gold, Diamond and VMS project areas. The survey was supported by Natural Resources Canada and fully funded through the Mountain Pine Beetle program to assist in increasing the understanding of the most economically prospective rocks in British Columbia and what the best tools are to explore them. The results allow industry to target areas identified as having mineral deposits, thereby reducing financial risk.

The survey was completed on 200 metre line spacing. More detailed 100 metre line spacing coverage was completed over the Frank Creek and Ace project areas in order to be used as a template to identify other areas with similar potential. The survey area covered more than 80% of Barker's project areas. A soon to be released Natural Resources Canada Pine Beetle sponsored Radiometric/Mag Airborne survey over Barker's western project areas covers the remaining 20% of the vast Barker project areas and overlaps with the EM/Mag survey.

Barker's 100% owned mineral properties are located in the Cariboo Mining District of British Columbia approximately 80 km northeast of Williams Lake where they host excellent access and infrastructure and year round drilling can be undertaken if desired.

Northern Development Board Appoints New Chair and Approves $3 Million in New Investments

Northern Development Initiative Trust announced today the approval of eighteen community and industry investments totalling over $3.0 million in grant and loan funding toward new projects with a total value exceeding $9.4 million.

A significant number of investments have been committed to in communities and rural regions throughout central and northern British Columbia, including job creation incentives approved-in-principle to two companies that are committed to creating 77 new manufacturing positions. Pioneer Biomass located in Williams Lake will use the Capital Investment and Training Rebate to support the company’s expansion of wood fibre reclamation of mountain pine beetle logging waste to supply regional pellet producers. The other manufacturing company expansion will be announced in Northeast BC in December 2009.

Forestry Related Jobs On The Way

Workers in Prince George and Mackenzie benefit from more than $1.56 million through the Job Opportunities Program for pine beetle mitigation, hazard tree management, seed collection and trail maintenance.

“The Job Opportunities Program helps out people who need it most, our displaced workers,” says Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell. “Mackenzie is an outdoor recreation playground that these 68 jobs will help to maintain, thereby reducing the risk of wildfires in our forests and increasing safety for our people."

The project will create 22 jobs.

2009-11-24

Beetle funding creates immediate job openings

The $25 million in joint federal-provincial funding announced last week to help prevent mountain pine beetle infestations from moving further east in Alberta has led to immediate job creation, officials say.

In fact, bids are currently open for contractors to apply to fulfill ongoing survey work, to identify where the beetle has settled, or to remove beetle-infected trees.

These are two of the main jobs detailed in the province's plan to stem the beetle's spread further into Alberta. A flight, or migration, of the mountain pine beetle into central eastern Alberta last summer has left local areas vulnerable, from Grande Cache as far east as Slave Lake.

2009-11-23

Invasive species causing havoc, says U.N.

With the upcoming global climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December, there is doubt emerging that nations will craft an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. However, United Nations officials are hoping that nations will agree to firmer action to strengthen ecosystems, and are citing the devastation caused by the pine beetle in B.C.'s forests as a warning and an incentive.

The Montreal-based UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was set up in 1993 as a legally binding agreement between 187 countries. It considers the combined effects of climate change and invasive species to be the main drivers of the loss of biodiversity across the planet.

In a release dated November 11, the UN's CBD noted that invasive species are estimated to cause $1.4 trillion annually in damage.

2009-11-18

Forestry: Pine-beetle payback

The mountain pine beetle has killed half of the lodgepole pine forest in British Columbia since the outbreak began in the 1990s. But while the impact on the landscape and the logging industry has been devastating, lately the industry has been learning to adapt — boosting allowable cuts in afflicted areas to salvage more of the wood sooner, while finding markets for new products made from the dead timber among a range of eco-conscious buyers.

One of the best-known of those customers is Ikea Canada, which is using the distinctive blue-tinted wood (caused by staining from a fungi carried by the beetle) to make bed slats. It also used it to produce thousands of lapel pins for its sustainability campaign “Ikea Our Way.” Other buyers are using the wood for siding, flooring, furniture and picture frames. Meanwhile, one of the most innovative creations comes courtesy of Sorin Pasca, a master’s student at the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George. He found that the pine-beetle-kill wood was an especially good ingredient to mix with cement to produce a new wood-composite-like building product. He’s named it “beetlecrete.”

Looking ahead, the industry hopes that when the world’s attention focuses on the Winter Olympics in February, the decision by the Richmond, B.C., engineering firm Fast + Epp to use over a million feet of the lumber in the 2010 Olympic Oval roof will pay dividends. Already, the skating arena has received the prestigious Sports or Leisure Structures award from The Institution of Structural Engineers — affirmation enough for Archie MacDonald, a spokesperson for the Council of Forest Industries, who applauds the project as a “showcase” of the wood’s potential.

State forester, Schweitzer look to put pine beetle in Western governors' sights

There's no magic pill in State Forester Bob Harrington's office to cure Montana's mountain pine beetle infestation, but there might be a political one.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked for such a fix during his Missoula visit on Tuesday. Harrington came up empty in the magic department, but did have plans for getting the little beetle on the radar of the Western Governors Association, which Schweitzer chairs. Part of that, the pair agreed, is expanding understanding of the problem.

"It's like the war in Afghanistan," Schweitzer said. "What's the definition of winning? Where does it end?"

2009-11-17

Ravenous pine beetle reaches central Alberta

After devouring the pine forests of British Columbia, swarms of mountain pine beetles staved off starvation in July and August by climbing up treetops and hitching rides on westerly winds that blew them deeper than ever into northern Alberta.

Beetles now infest trees as far east as Slave Lake and Entwistle in spite of more than $200 million--$60 million in the last year alone--spent by the Alberta government in the last three years to contain the pest, which is as tiny as a grain of rice.

The Alberta and federal governments announced another $25 million on Monday to manage the beetle's spread from this latest outbreak.

Beetle battle gets $25-million boost

About $25 million in new provincial and federal funding will go toward Alberta's fight against mountain pine beetle this winter--with a couple hundred on-the-ground jobs likely to be created in southern Alberta.

With $10 million from Ottawa and $15 million from the province, the financial boost is a relief to those leading the fight against the tiny beetle.

Emergency funding has been coming in dribs and drabs this year due to the province's strained finances. In more affluent years, funding for the beetle battle was allocated up front for the entire year.

2009-11-16

Alberta, Ottawa add $25 million to pine beetle battle

The battle to slow the mountain pine beetle’s eastward progress across Alberta is getting another $25 million in federal and provincial funds.

Ottawa will provide $10 million and Alberta, $15 million, a joint news release said Monday. The money will go toward ground surveys to help determine the extent of beetle infestation and to remove infested trees.

After a “massive beetle flight” this summer, the insects were found as far east as Slave Lake and Entwistle.

2009-11-13

Pests are killing pine trees at an alarming rate

The photo on the cover of my recent issue of American Tree magazine depicts the frightening devastation of the pine forests of Colorado caused by the mountain pine beetle. The outbreak of this tiny insect has already killed billions of trees from British Columbia to the southern Rockies in the U.S. This is a resource we cannot afford to lose.

For decades, we have taken trees for granted, but the devastation and loss of the ash tree population in Michigan due to the emerald ash borer has helped focus our attention on the role they play in our lives.

Trees provide beauty by adding color and texture to the landscape. Trees soften and hide the hard edges created by man. Trees provide food and a haven for wildlife. Trees provide wood to build our homes. Trees give us the fruits and nuts that help us thrive. Trees provide medicinal products to treat pestilence and disease. Trees give shade and cool the earth in summer. And most importantly, trees clean the air of contaminates and carbon dioxide, and in return, manufacture life-giving oxygen. Without trees, man could not exist.

Helping B.C. Forests Recover: Tree Canada Extends ReLeaf Program to Cover Destruction from Mountain Pine Beetle

On September 21, Tree Canada launched its B.C. Fire ReLeaf program in West Kelowna with the help of local dignitaries including West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and representatives from FedEx Express Canada, TELUS, BC Landscape & Nursery Association, TREE Brewing and private land owners. The program will help replace urban and rural forests throughout the province that were destroyed by wildfire. Communities such as West Kelowna, Lillooet, Sorrento, Clinton and Kamloops were among many locations hit hard by the fires which have destroyed over 210,000 hectares in 2009.

After further consultation with B.C. communities it was decided to extend the ReLeaf program to include those areas affected by the mountain pine beetle. British Columbia is experiencing the largest recorded mountain pine beetle outbreak in North American history with over 8 million hectares (20 million acres) affected in southern and central B.C. The beetle, a native insect which affects mostly lodgepole pine, is normally controlled by cold winter temperatures.

Tree Canada is distributing coupons to B.C. residents who lost trees to the fires and the Mountain Pine Beetle so they can purchase new ones at reduced prices for their properties from designated nurseries. Municipalities, First Nation communities and small landowners who own less than 10 ha (25 acres) will also be able to apply for funds to help cover part of the cost of replanting their parks and forests. Affected residents, landowners, municipalities and First Nations can apply for assistance at www.treecanada.ca.

Invasive species pose huge threat to ecosystems, UN says

It's no longer than a grain of rice. But the mountain pine beetle is an insidious environmental predator, laying waste to swathes of forest in north-western Canada and exposing the local ecosystem to what could be a devastating new front in the battle against climate change.

The beetle is one of hundreds of what scientists call invasive species – animals, plants and organisms that “arrive, survive and thrive” in previously inhospitable territory and damage their host environment.

Now, as global warming alters temperature and precipitation patterns around the world, the threat posed by invasive species is rising, and scientists and United Nations officials are calling on participants at next month's climate change conference in Copenhagen to agree to action to strengthen their ecosystems and to protect biodiversity.

2009-11-04

Sea 2 Sky Receives Historic North American Council Resolution Adopting a Plan for Wood Fiber Supply And Biomass Plant Development

Sea 2 Sky Corporation, (OTCBB: SSKY) a leading edge Renewable Bio-Energy Company, is pleased to announce that after various competing presentations it has received the endorsement of the the Lake Babine Indian Nation of Burns Lake, British Columbia Canada (LBN) to proceed with agreements to develop the biomass resources of the Lake Babine area for alternative energy uses in North America.

Lake Babine resides in central British Columbia and the LBN has substantial volumes of fiber biomass under its control. The LBN and other indigenous peoples have been in consultations with the British Columbia Department of Forestry and various industry sectors to develop these resources for the improvement of its local economy, salvaging the pine beetle epidemic to lower greenhouse gasses and global warming and to provide employment for its local people in the new alternative energy industry (see http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/mountain_pine_beetle/ for more government details).

Sea 2 Sky's presentation involved Sea 2 Sky being able to process locally the beetle-wood biomass for sale into the North American alternative energy market. The resolution provides a framework to Sea 2 Sky that LBN will provide a sufficient amount of biomass annually on a long-term basis for local processing via the Torrefaction method. In addition, Sea 2 Sky is in the first stage of planning a state of the art biomass plant to produce renewable energy pellets, bioliquids, carbon, bio-char and other related products on local land to stimulate the local economy.

Beetle study nears completion

A study more than two years in the making is about to be sent to the province about the overall effects of the mountain pine beetle. And both Canal Flats and Radium Hot Springs have been put on the list of at-risk communities.

The actions and studies that were conducted by the Sounthern Interior Mountain Beetle Coalition and were presented to the Canal Flats Council last week by Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Area C director Rob Gay. They covered the East and West Kootenays as well as the Okanagan and grouped communities according to a variety of factors. These included a forest trend analysis, broken down by timber supply; socio-economic analysis, based on the 2006 census; and the environmental impact that the beetle had in the area.

At risk communities were ones that had a few specific characteristics. One was the per- cent of pine in their area and the estimated drop in short- to mid-term timber supply. They considered that the timber industry has been condensing into fewer and smaller mills but accepted that the pine beetle was only one of the factors involved in this. Also considered were the economic dependency of the community in terms of income, employment and municipal tax base, and the likelihood of the community to adjust to negative forest sector impacts based on the size, rate of economic growth and economic diversity.