Tuesday, January 25, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 4 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“You might leave on your adventure at plus 5, but temperatures change, and you could be looking at minus 20 by the end of the day.”
- Jeff Smith  
- CNP Rescue   
   

 

Mountain Pine Beetle numbers down in Pass
 
While mountain pine beetles continue to pose a threat to Alberta’s northern pine forests, virtually no infested trees have been identified in the Crowsnest Pass this year.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development surveyed three sites north of the Crowsnest Pass on the western side of Goat Mountain this winter, in addition to sites near the Oldman and Dutch Creek provincial recreation areas, finding only a sprinkling of fading trees.
“The threat has almost disappeared (in this area),” said SRD Forest Health Officer Brad Jones. “The decline was much sharper and steeper than we had anticipated.”
Last year’s surveys identified nearly 6,000 infested trees in the Crowsnest Pass, roughly one-third of the previous year.
This year, only 50 sites, with a total of 250 fading trees, have been identified in the Southern Rockies, the majority of which are in the Kananaskis area.
As a result, no fall and burn operations will be implemented in the area this year.
This good news comes as a direct result of the aggressive control work SRD has done over the past two years, Jones said.
In 2009, close to 4,000 trees were removed on the northern side of the Crowsnest Pass near Atlas Road and Dead Man’s Pass.
“Now there are only a handful sprinkled around Crowsnest Pass, Oldman, and Dutch Creek,” said Jones.
 
In addition to control work, Jones attributes the decline in pine beetle populations to the dry autumns and abnormally cold and harsh winters experienced in the province over the past two years.
However, Jones says the threat of pine beetles can still be seen in other areas of the province, and as close as Sparwood.
“The threat still remains in B.C.,” he said. “They are seeing a similar pattern, but they do see more areas where populations remain static.”
He added that pine beetle populations from Montana are also creeping up into the Waterton area and onward.
“With time that could just keep moving up” said Jones. “Until it is completely depleted in surrounding areas, we can’t rule it out.”
He said beetle populations could begin to regenerate after the winter, and could be “back in business” within the next three years, but that we probably will not see an increase for some time.
Additionally, SRD is still discussing a private land program with the Municipality.
“We know we won’t find much, but we want to see if there are issues on people’s private land,” said Jones.
The worst infestations in the province can be seen in and around the Grande Prairie area.
“The beetles are still doing fairly well up there,” said Jones. “Most of our control work this year has been in that area.”
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   Volume 81 - Issue 4 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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