Federal gov’t contributes $331K for tree planting after 2021 Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

File photo of the Nk'Mip Creek wildfire in the South Okanagan on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Courtesy: Greg Reely

Thousands of trees will soon be planted in the South Okanagan, two years after the Nk’Mip wildfire scorched 19,000 hectares near Oliver, B.C., during the summer of 2021.

On Friday, the federal Ministry of Natural Resources announced that it was contributing $331,000 to the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Nk’Mip Creek wildfire restoration project.

According to the ministry, the money comes from the 2 Billion Trees program, which has a goal of nationally planting two billion trees over 10 years.

For the South Okanagan, and the lands burned by the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire, that money translates into 70,000 trees.

“Recovery efforts in these sensitive areas of the Reserve post-wildfire are essential to replenish wildlife habitat and provide refuge from predators and the elements,” said Nk’Mip forestry manager Vern Louie.

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“Combined with the positive carbon-capturing effects these trees and shrubs will have, it’s an important project, and we are happy to have support from Natural Resource Canada.”

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“Planting fire-resistance trees such as trembling aspen, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and western larch will not only sequester carbon but also improve biodiversity and wildfire resiliency in the project areas,” said professional forester Peter Flett.

The federal government says planting the right tree in the right area at the right time enhances Canada’s ability to fight against climate change.

“Canada’s commitment to plant two billion trees is a key part of our collective effort to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss,” said minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

“Today’s announcement will further advance efforts to expand our forests, helping to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, improve air and water quality, restore nature and biodiversity and create sustainable jobs.”

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