Page 04 Nation - Epoch Times | Print Archive

4 | JULY 25  31, 2014
BC First Nation works
to preserve historically
important trees
Continued from 1
A fishing boat cruises on the Milwaukee River near Lake Michigan, an area designated for cleanup because of decades of toxic pollution, Sept. 12, 2013.
Ottawa has announced new funding for four cleanup projects around the St. Clair River in Southwestern Ontario.
Great Lakes cleanup
efforts get new funding
By Kaven Baker-Voakes
In the ongoing effort to clean up
the Great Lakes, the federal government is committing new funding worth $418,000 to four projects around the St. Clair River in
Southwestern Ontario.
The 65-km St. Clair has been
listed as one of the Great Lakes
Areas of Concern. It was placed
on the Remedial Action Plan, a restoration plan, in 1987.
“Fish and wildlife habitat on
both sides of the St. Clair River
have been considerably altered due
to industrialization, urban development, diking, drainage for agricultural purposes, and the development of navigational channels,”
notes a Michigan Department of
the Environment report on the St.
Clair River Areas of Concern in
“There were 43 areas of concern in the Great Lakes. These are
areas that were identified as having experienced high levels of environmental harm. So 12 of those 43
were Canadian, 5 were shared, and
the others were in the U.S.,” Colin
Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to
the Minister for the Environment,
said in an interview.
“Work has been completed on
three of the Canadian areas. By
2019 we anticipate being able to
complete remedial action for a
further five Areas of Concern,
but there is more work to be done.”
The Great Lakes Water Agreement penned between the U.S. and
Canada in 2012 requires that reme-
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The city of Sarnia, a region
the US Environmental Protection Agency has listed as a major
source of concern due to its high
industrial and agricultural practices, will receive $75,000 of the
new funding to improve its wastewater monitoring of flows into the
St. Clair.
Another $90,000 will go toward
creating 4-10 km of shore buffers
around the river and to restore 40
acres of wetland.
The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority will receive $110,000
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Kaven Baker-Voakes is a freelance
reporter based in Ottawa.
to restore natural stone along a section of the St.Clair, while the Essex
Conservation Authority has been
granted $138,000 to improve water
quality in the Detroit River.
“Each group has its individual project that they are working
toward,” said Claire Sanders with
the Essex Conservation Authority.
“There has been a huge amount of
work done in these Areas of Concern and there is a long way to go.”
A total of 27 new projects worth
$1.5 million are slated for restoration around the Great Lakes
between 2014 and 2015.
“It is a work in progress. What
we have to do is continue what was
done today,” said Carrie.
The two-year project will record, track, manage, and
interpret CMTs using spatial analysis in geographic
information systems (GIS)—a computer system that
integrates, edits, and analyzes various kinds of geographic information.
The work will take place in the traditional territory
of the Heiltsuk Nation, which includes much of the
area known as the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Heiltsuk have partnered with Interfor—one
of the Pacific Northwest’s largest producers of wood
products—on the project, which is funded with a conservation grant from Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
“Culturally modified trees preserve a partial but
compelling record of Heiltsuk presence on the land and
utilization of forest resources, and are an integral part
of our culture and heritage,” says Jennifer Carpenter,
Culture & Heritage manager for the Heiltsuk Nation.
“Detailed analysis of CMT types and locations helps
us track and monitor these and other archeological
features so they can be protected.”
CMTs usually have a wide variety of features, including scars where planks or bark have been removed.
The bark had a host of uses, such as in canoe caulking and canoe bailers, bridge lashings, and tool handle wrapping. It was also used to make rope, fish nets
and fish traps, baskets, mats, boxes, clothing, blankets, ceremonial regalia, diapers, wound dressings,
sanitary napkins—to name just a few.
Planks were also cut from the trees to make canoes,
shelters, and other wooden necessities. Some of the
bark was always left to allow the tree to live.
In addition to B.C., culturally modified trees can
be found in parts of the United States, Scandinavia,
and Australia. Features on Australian CMTs include
toe-holds to facilitate tree climbing, as well as smokeand access-holes to catch wildlife such as possums
and birds.
According to “Text in Trees,” a 2006 academic paper,
CMTs are recognized as unique archaeological features in that in many cases, they can be very precisely
dated through dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating.
“They are history written on the landscape,” the
authors wrote.
It was only around the beginning of the 1980s that
scientists began recognizing that the trees are important sources for the history of certain regions. In fact,
they are such a mine of information that they have
been designated CMT archives.
The logging of old-growth forests has put CMTs in
jeopardy, however, and some First Nations have registered the trees on their traditional lands in an effort
to protect them. Protected trees are registered, classified, and, if possible, dated.
Rhiannon Poupard, manager of First Nations &
Forestry Partnerships with Interfor, said the project’s
database will “help fill in any gaps” and the maps and
reports produced by the spatial analysis in GIS will
improve the lumber company’s forest management.
“We recognize the unique ties that the Heiltsuk have
to their lands and this project will help us to better
identify, respect, and manage this unique heritage
resource,” she said.
Information gained through the database research
will be shared with local First Nations and forest professionals.
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