A pair of activists are hosting a discussion at UNBC Wednesday night about the negative effects glyphosate spraying has had on our forests and declining moose population.

James Steidle and Herb Martin say it’s become the biggest issue for trappers and hunters in the region right now and the herbicide is killing trees like poplar – a vital source animals need in order to eat.

Both are of the opinion if spraying was eliminated, it would provide a positive spin-off for the local job market.

“Glyphosate aerial spraying you’re going to have manual brushing jobs, you can have up to 500 more jobs around Prince George every summer if you stop this spraying right now, I mean there is no argument against it, it’s just common sense.”

“When you have a starving moose population does it make sense to take away all of their food, we’ve known for 30 years that a block they don’t spray means 200 to 300% more moose food than a block that gets sprayed, it’s proven that moose will spend far more time on a block that hasn’t been sprayed, so we’re spraying every last block south of Prince George to kill the food and habitat moose depend on. That’s got to stop.”

A silent spring in a once bustling forest after being sprayed. Photo courtesy of stopthespraybc.com.

A recent study on the moose population in our forests 10 years ago also provided some startling results.

“In the moose study they did south of Prince George we used to have three hundred percent more moose out there 10 years ago, when they put the collars on the moose to analyze why they are all disappearing, those dead moose they recovered saw forty percent of them die of starvation while the other ones are getting wiped out by predators,” added Steidle.

“We have to ban aerial herbicide spraying, like tomorrow, and we need to legalize aspen trees, why are aspen forests illegal in our forests around Prince George and that is the reality of it. You can’t have an aspen forest bigger than one hectare in any replanted block, this is crazy when moose depend on aspen forests.”

Aspen forests would benefit the area in more ways than one according to Steidle.

“You let those aspen trees grow, you’re actually going to get more productive forests because they don’t actually compete with pine on a one-to-one basis and you will have more trees if you count aspen. Not only that, you’re going to get forests that aren’t going to burn because aspen doesn’t burn when they have leaves on them, your actually creating forests that are healthier with more wildlife, more productive and that are more resilient in the wake of all these forest fires we’re seeing.”

When the spray begins in August all the conifers are shut down, anything else that is still going is killed leading to dire effects for flora and fauna, songbirds, small mammals who all rely on aspen and if it gets wiped out everything suffers.

The meeting gets underway at 6:30 PM at room 7-152.

You can also sign their petition called Stop the Spray BC by clicking here.

Over 6,600 signatures are on the petition with the goal of reaching 7,500.