October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
Stewardship: no fence for Frayne
Group mucked around in rubber boots to remove a quarter-mile of old, run down wire fencing
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
A group of volunteers from different parts of Alberta came together to perform an act of sterwardship because they love the outdoors and care about the environment: they removed approximately 400 metres of an old wire fence on the Frayn property in Blairmore. The fence, which was initially installed for grazing purposes, has not been in use for many years now and posed a concern for wildlife living in and crossing through the area.
Pass Herald Reporter
A group of about a dozen volunteers mucked around in rubber boots to remove a quarter-mile of old, run-down wire fence on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Frayn property.

The fence posed a hazard to wildlife and waterfowl that live in or pass through the 76-acre Frayn property, which is predominantly wetland and riverbank habitat in Blairmore west of Crowsnest Crossing, right along the municipal community trail.

“We have resident moose here in the summer. We’ve seen deer in here quite a lot. There’s a bald eagle nest on the far side and you get a lot of smaller animals like coyotes running through and lots of waterfowl. There’s quite a few species of ducks that come in here for the summer. There’s good nesting habitat and good feeding, shallow ponds,” says Tony McCue, natural area manager for the Crowsnest-Castle Watershed.

“It’s also an eyesore for anyone who uses this pathway,” adds Zoe Arnold, conservation volunteers coordinator.
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According to McCue, the fence was originally used for horse and cattle grazing, but with no livestock kept on the range for many years now, the wire fence was in a dilapidated state.

“We’ve replaced it with this wood rail fence in 2015,” says McCue. “This is visually more appealing and still keeps people out, but it’s easy for wildlife to pass through.”

Volunteers came not only from Crowsnest Pass, but even as far as Calgary, Bragg Creek and High River.

“All these people are here because they have a passion for conservation. They want to help restore the landscape and make it wildlife-friendly. It gives people a chance to get out and get their hands dirty,” says McCue.

The Frayn property is jointly owned by the NCC, Alberta Conservation Association (AWA) and the Alberta Fish and Game Association. The three wildlife conservation organizations acquired the land in the early 2000s after its previous owner, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, closed its operation in Canada.
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Later that evening, the NCC invited Peter Sherrington, research director with the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation (RMERF), to give a special presentation at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre about his 11 years observing the birds of the Crowsnest Pass and Beaver Mines areas.

The NCC has several properties in the Crowsnest Pass area. This past year, they removed an old fence on two properties, did an amphibian survey on the Frayn property, and removed invasive species like knapweed on another.

NCC stewardship projects are winding down for the season, but are generally held weekly from April to the end of October all across the province and include projects like removing a fence, planting trees, removing weeds, species surveillance and trail maintenance.

Those interested in participating in future stewardship activities can visit conservationvolunteers.ca
October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
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