Tuesday, February 15, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 7 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Education can only go so far.”
- Elizabeth Anderson  
- Crowsnest   
Conservation Society   


The Crowsnest Conservation Society (CCS) will be holding a public forum at the Blairmore Lion’s Hall on February 24th, following the presentation the group made to Council at the February 8th Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting.
At the meeting, CCS President Judy Cooke gave Council a brief rundown of the society’s activities and practices, and provided an update on the Strategic Plan.
The plan includes five major objectives, desired outcomes for each, and an action plan for achieving them.
The first objective is “to promote integration of wildlife connectivity measures in the operation and future development of the Highway 3 corridor.”
Through this objective, the society plans to work in partnership with the Miistakis Institute for the Rockies, the Western Transportation Institute, and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative to develop the Highway 3: Transportation Mitigation for Wildlife and Connectivity Report.
As part of this initiative, the group will also work with Dale Paton of Anatum Ecological Consultants Ltd. and Hillcrest Fish and Game on a proposal to implement mitigation measures at Crowsnest Lake for the protection of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
The second objective is “to support development that is economically and ecologically sustainable in the municipality”.
Through this, the society will consult with Council to recommend adherence to ecologically sensitive and sustainable development principles, according to the Land Stewardship Act.
The third objective will be to act as “a local voice for water conservation and stewardship”.
In order to achieve this, the society will participate in the formation of a local watershed group through the Oldman Watershed Council, facilitate public meetings to present the Integrated Watershed Plan, and work to conserve water in the community through public education and the installation of water metres.
The society will also participate in the Crowsnest River Meander and Floodplain Restoration Project in partnership with Trout Unlimited, Alberta Fish and Game, and the Alberta Conservation Project, and will also seek possible involvement in the Island Lake Project.
The CCS hopes that these actions will help to increase water usage awareness among residents, prompting decreased water usage, and promoting increased participation in events such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
The fourth objective will be to “support integration of ecologically sensitive practices in the decisions on use of public lands in an adjacent to Crowsnest Pass”.
The main goal of this initiative will be to promote and support the CCS’s BearSmart program, and to reduce the number of human/wildlife conflicts in the area.
The final objective will be to “promote awareness and enjoyment of the unique natural heritage of the Crowsnest Pass among residents and visitors”.
Through this, the CCS hopes to continue the organization of and participation in community cleanups and weed pull events, completion of the Crowsnest Community Trails system, education on recycling programs, and continuation of birding/nature education programs.
Society member Elizabeth Anderson also gave Council a presentation regarding the BearSmart program, which was initiated by the province in May 2006 following the fatal mauling of a trail user in Canmore, in order to reduce the number of human-bear interactions and conflicts.
One of the main courses of action through the program is the management of “hot spots” with an abundance of garbage or apple trees, which are known to attract bears to the community.
“Much of our work has focused on managing those attractants and promoting public safety through bear awareness,” said Anderson.
The BearSmart committee has four areas of primary focus: awareness and education of the public through bear briefs and bear awareness sessions, management of attractants within the community through the annual apple roundup and BearSmart garbage bins, encouragement of residents who no longer want their apple trees to swap them out for non-fruit-bearing ones, and hot spot bear monitoring.
Hot spot bear monitoring trains bears to stay away from developed areas by using the Karelian Bear Dogs to keep the bears away.
The committee also has a free bin loan program for waste management, wherein residents who are experiencing conflict or hoping to prevent one are offered the use of a bear proof garbage bin at no cost, until it needs to be circulated to another hot spot.
“It works really well at the small scale to deal with localized problems,” said Anderson.
She said the group also advocates for municipal bylaws which deal with waste management at the municipal level.
“Education can only go so far,” said Anderson. “Enforcement will be necessary to have complete compliance.”
For more information on the Crowsnest Conservation Society, visit crowsnestconservation.ca.
The public forum will take place on Thursday, Feb. 24th at 7 p.m. at the Blairmore Lion’s Hall, and is open to all residents.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 7 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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