Citizens Win! MoF will NOT spray, due to public pressure!

Sat, Jun. 30, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Frank's Store

Thanks to groups and people who opposed spraying, MoF has canceled the spray program in the upper Shuswap watershed.

Although a step in the right direction, it may not be sufficient to restore the health of a damaged ecosystem so Bee SAFE has asked the Ministry to begin a Health Restoration Project. Thank the Ministry and tell them you also want to see Health Restoration Projects - contacts below. Also see the letters written by Bee SAFE below.

To tell elected officials that you want restoration of plant diversity instead of pesticide programs, feel free to use part or all the letter written by Bee SAFE available at and phone or email these people:

Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson
Telephone: 250-387-6240 or 1-800-663-7867 or 250-319-4262
copy: AND 
250-387-8739 or 250-503-3600


Ms. Maclauchlan,

Thank you for listening to the concerns of citizens and cancelling the spray program in the Greenbush and Sugar Lake area.  We sincerely appreciate your listening and understanding.

We also appreciate that MoF uses B.t.k. because it has an organic designation and claims to only kill Lepidoptera in their early larval stage, but knowing that all organisms share commonality in the biochemical processes of our cells, we fear that substances that kill one organism have negative effects on others. Although animals may not die from the result, over time they may develop cancers and suffer other negative consequences. Experience teaches us that adopting the precautionary principle is best for as I'm sure you know, when citizens started worrying about the impact of minute quantities of PPP (personal care products, pharmaceuticals and pesticides) in water, MoE also thought there was nothing to worry about.  However, results of impacts to aquatic life now show there is much to worry about indeed.  We also believe that McGill University's Journal of Pesticide Reform has a point when it states that “Large-scale applications of B.t. can have far reaching ecological impacts. B.t. can reduce dramatically the number and variety of moth and butterfly species, which in turn impacts birds and mammals that feed on caterpillars. In addition, a number of beneficial insects are adversely impacted by B.t.”

However we understand the concerns MoF has regarding possible infestations and agree that not spraying alone may not be sufficient to restoring the health of the forest ecosystem depending on its state at this time. Since diversity and ecosystem health are the first lines of  defense against infestations, we would like to see all MoF's management programs shift from particular defensive actions such as spraying, towards integrated health restoration actions such as restoring diversity in the forest ecosystem.

Ecosystem Restoration Programs bring enormous ecological, social, health and economical benefits. Healthy forests play a crucial role in replenishing oxygen, absorbing carcinogenic pollutants in the air and purifying lakes and rivers.  Ecosystem Restoration Programs that operate throughout the world, including the one in the Rocky Mountain Forest District, state that they benefit plants, animals and people by:

reducing forest fragmentation, therefore increasing habitat for local species
protecting species at risk
replacing invasive plants with native vegetation
reducing wildfire management costs
encouraging utilization of forest restoration by-products
providing local jobs in a variety of sectors
encouraging ecological, economical, and social sustainability.

While Bee SAFE cannot help in the technical design of such programs, we are willing and able to help in its implementation. Our members consider themselves stewards of our watershed, and would be happy to partner with other organizations such as the Cherryville Water Stewards, the Cherry ridge management committee, as well as the Ministry to begin an Ecosystem Restoration Program in the Upper Shuswap. Please let us know whether this is of interest to the Ministry.

Huguette Allen, Jane Emlyn, Carla Vierke


Crowd gathers in Cherryville to oppose Spraying

On Saturday June 30th, close to 100 people gathered in Cherryville to mark their opposition to the Ministry of Forests' plan to spray 20,000 litres of pesticides at the headwaters of the Shuswap and to tell the Province they want “Health restoration Programs”  not further degradation programs.

“The Upper Shuswap River watershed includes protected areas, the interior rainforest, and the Monashee Provincial Park, all of which will be affected by spraying against the Looper moth” said Carla Vierke as she welcomed people from as far as Ashton Creek to Saturday's rally. “The Ministry of Forest tells us that this spray program has been planned since 2008, showing how pesticides have become an integral part of the Province's arsenal to manage forests for the logging industry. Healthy forests that have plant diversity that provide balanced habitat for a variety of species have no need to spray” continued Vierke.

Aline Piché, who spoke on behalf of the Cherryville Water Stewards whose motto is “Protect the Source” was followed by Don Elzer who published extensively in and said that he worried about the conflicting information coming out of the Province regarding the caribou. “Who is looking after the impacts of what is happening in the forests? BC Parks tell us that spraying is necessary to protect critical cedar-hemlock habitat for Caribou while the provincial government tells us the Caribou herd's low numbers cannot be sustained, so they are allowing it to become extinct. Naturalists argue that numbers are higher than claimed and that abandoning the herd would open the area up to more logging and heli-skiing in what is sensitive Caribou range. What are we to believe?”

As the rain started pelting down on everyone, Priscilla Judd sang a song she'd written, expressly for the rally, linking clearcut mountainsides to recent mud slides and pesticides. As people stood under umbrellas and rain coats, holding up their signs for all to see, Carla Vierke reminded everyone that this rally was only the beginning, that although 100 people could not immediately stop the helicopters, their perseverance would win out as long as they remained determined to take back the forest.

Of further concern to Bee SAFE is the fact that contrary to the claims made by the Ministry, Foray 48B is not inoffensive to other species and is not a solution to restoring forest health. Huguette Allen: “Working with nature is the solution, not against it. The Journal of Pesticide Reform of McGill University says that large applications of B.t (the active ingredient in Foray 48B) can have far reaching ecological impacts, dramatically reducing numbers and variety of moths and butterfly species, further impacting birds and mammals that feed on caterpillars. And Foray 48B affects mammals including humans, causing corrosive damage to eyes, skin, digestive systems, provoking cancers, allergies, asthma. We don't need the surfactants, sulphuric acid, and other contaminants used as inert ingredients in our watershed. Bee SAFE's letter to the Ministry made it clear that we're concerned that spraying is motivated by economic factors instead of ecological factors.”

-- see also Vernon Morning Star coverage at 

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Bee SAFE is opposed to the Ministry's plan to spray 20,000 litres (that's 10 tonnes, or 4 litres per hectare over 5,000 hectares) of Foray 48B in the upper Shuswap Watershed!

1. Spraying is not an ecologically sound solution:
Infestations such as the Hemlock Looper, the Spruce budworm and the Pine Beetle are the result of out of control logging. When a forest becomes imbalanced, when certain insects or plants have lost their predators, targeting the insects usually results in more unpredictable chain reactions . As prize-winning author Andrew Nikiforuk states in his book Empire of the Beetle, “Misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy, and a hundred years of fire suppression created a volatile geography that released the world's oldest forest manager from all natural constraints.”

The Journal of Pesticide Reform from McGill University states that “Large-scale applications of B.t.can have far reaching ecological impacts. B.t. can reduce dramatically the number and variety of moth and butterfly species, which in turn impacts birds and mammals that feed on caterpillars. In addition, a number of beneficial insects are adversely impacted by B.t.” .htm

Infestations are the forest's way of coping with sick ecosystems and should be a warning to us . Sound solutions would aim at restoring the health of the forest by rebalancing the plant diversity and not having monoculture, which in turn would increase the numbers of predators such as birds and bats . Spraying substances that will further decimate their numbers is not a solution.

2. Foray 48B is not inoffensive to mammals, including humans:
As stated in the Journal of Pesticide Reform from McGill University referenced above: “Foray 48B is irritating to rabbit skin, and Foray 48B is moderately irritating to rabbits' eyes ..... A memo from Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Foray 48B, states that "It is possible that someone that already has developed an allergy to one of the components of Foray 48B or has asthma . .. could be affected by exposure to small quantities of Foray 48B”.

The inert ingredients in BT products are potentially the most toxic components of the formulation . The little public information available about these trade-secret ingredients show that they can cause serious environmental and health problems such as severe corrosive damage to the eyes, skin, mucous membranes and digestive systems. Sulfuric acid, present in Foray 48B, can cause severe deep skin burns and permanent loss of vision.

Have the health effects and suffering that spraying Foray 48B will have on the birds, bats, bears and other mammals been considered by the Ministry? Has the Ministry considered replacing a pesticide spraying program by a health restoration program that would include increasing plant diversity as well as the numbers of birds and bats, and doing all that is necessary to increase their chance of survival?



We are concerned that plans to spray pesticides aerially instead of implementing a health restoration program may be motivated by economic factors rather than by ecological factors . Therefore we would like to know who are the individuals and companies that will benefit from this spray program. Please provide us with the names of the pesticide distributors, the pesticide makers, the consultants as well as helicopter pilots and any others who will receive payments from such a spray program.

We look forward to a prompt answer and hope to that the Ministry will consider replacing a pesticide spraying program by a forest health restoration program.