Butternut Health Assessment

Butternut has been listed as Nationally Endangered by Environment Canada (2005) and as Endangered by Ontario. This is because it is being killed by butternut canker, a virulent fungus that is thought to be imported.

Living butternut trees cannot legally be cut or harmed without a permit unless they have been assessed by a Butternut Health Assessor (BHA) and judged to be “non-retainable.” A permit is required for any activities that might affect the health of a butternut that has been judged to be “retainable.” Good information on butternut is available from the Forest Gene Conservation Association.

Assessment:  Butternut may affect a proposed project (e.g., building permit application, development project, quarry operation) and the proponent must determine if butternut are on site. The first issue is whether the “potential butternut” are actually protected butternut rather than unregulated Carpathian (English) walnut, heartnut, their hybrids or black walnut. A Butternut Assessment is required if a regulated tree will be affected by the proposed activity. Verifying whether a tree is a true butternut, whether it is retainable and if it may be affected by a proposed activity determines whether it must be assessed, and if a permit is required. Mistakes can become very expensive.

Identification:  Distinguishing butternut from related exotic species and hybrids can be very challenging and the implications of mistakenly identifying other species and hybrids as butternut can add many thousands of dollars in costs and cause significant delays.

Williams & Associates staff includes BHAs who are experienced foresters and arborists with background in Environmental Impact Assessment and the development process .  We can inspect sites to

  • Determine if there are butternut on the site
  • Determine if they will be affected by an activity
  • Assess Butternut that may be affected
  • Make recommendations for retention or mitigation
  • Develop and implement mitigation plans
  • Help work through the permit process