Tuesday, March 15, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 11 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Everybody has a right to be in the backcountry.”
- Karl Giesler  
- Quad Squad President   
   

 

 
Fell and burn control work has been carried in the Crowsnest Pass since the beginning of March, as crews work to eradicate Mountain Pine Beetle infestations in the area.
Control work began earlier this month, after private ground surveys were conducted in February within the municipality to determine the number of beetle infested trees.
“We’re now winding down to the final little bit,” said Chief Administrative Officer Tully Clifford. “At this point we are mainly looking to raise awareness about the program among residents, and encourage them to contact us if they are unsure about trees on their property.”
Aerial surveys conducted by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development in January identified only about 250 fading trees in the Southern Rockies, the majority of which were found in the Kananaskis.
Only a sprinkling of infested trees were identified in the area north of the Crowsnest Pass on the west side of Goat Mountain, with a few more located in the Oldman and Dutch Creek areas.
Surveys conducted in February by the municipality identified a number of additional fading trees near the Alberta/B.C. border, south of the Lakes and north of Sentinel, likely due to beetle populations migrating from Sparwood and the surrounding area.
Ground crews will continue to be in the area for the next couple of weeks, using helicopters and large burn piles to dispose of the faded trees.
Burning of the infested trees will kill beetle larvae living under the bark, and prevent the emerging beetles from attacking healthy trees.
Residents are encouraged to identify any additional affected trees on their property and report them to the municipality.
 
Approximately $14,000 in provincial grant funding has been allocated for the program this year, and Clifford estimates the municipality has spent close to a million dollars on the program to date.
Residents are encouraged to contact the municipal office if they have questions or need assistance with infested trees on their property.
SRD Forest Health Officer Brad Jones said the program serves to eradicate infested trees on private lands, which do not fall under the scope of the province.
Jones said of 25 sites surveyed by SRD within the Crowsnest Pass, only three were flagged as containing fading trees, and no new trees have been identified since original surveys in January.
“We didn’t find any surprises in the end,” said Jones. “Numbers are down dramatically from previous years.”
He did caution that this does not mean an indefinite victory over the forest pest, and that beetle populations could regenerate within the next few years.
“Now we just have to pick up the bits and pieces where we can, and enjoy the reprieve,” said Jones.
Extensive control work is also being conducted in the northern part of the province, in an area bounded by Grande Prairie in the northwest, Hinton in the southwest, and Slave Lake in the east.
About 170,000 infested trees have been identified in that area, which approximately 600 contract workers are currently working to remove.
The province is providing up to $15 million for the contract work, and has spent about $30 million in disaster assistance to combat the beetle populations, municipal grants, seed collecting, and pheromone monitoring so far this year.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 11 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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