WHEREAS the Mountain Pine Beetle is having a devastating impact on both pine trees and the forest industry in Alberta; and
WHEREAS time is of the essence in combating and controlling the Mountain Pine Beetle, as well as the sensitive timing of the implementations of these control programs on public as well as private lands; and
WHEREAS the beetle infested trees are a fire hazard to our community’s businesses and residents and implementing Fire Smart programs is key in the reduction of this hazard for the safety and well being of Alberta’s citizens; and
WHEREAS as a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle killing our pine population a reforestation program needs to be initiated and commenced; and
WHEREAS the Mountain Pine Beetle should, at the very least, be controlled and the identified fire hazard areas controlled by means deemed necessary to decrease the hazard;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Province of Alberta to label the Mountain Pine Beetle crisis as an urgent issue and create a mechanism to expedite programs and funding during this forestry crisis including reforestation to re-populate our ever depleting woods and natural areas that is one of the province of Alberta’s renowned features.
Mountain Pine Beetle continues to be an increasingly serious pest in Alberta. The summer of 2009 saw another in-flight from the west, which further worsened an already severe problem for pine trees and the health of Alberta’s forests.
The current cut and burn control work funded by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development is hampered at times by lack of further programs and funding, as well as the timing of the funding availability.
As the Mountain Pine Beetle leaves a dead population of pine trees behind on public and private lands, this creates a serious fire hazard for adjacent businesses and homeowners. It should also be noted that the last few years have been extremely dry with total fire bans being ordered for long periods of time to control wildfires.
Reforestation follow-up will be key in rejuvenating and promoting our forest industry.
Resolution 1-10S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Province of Alberta to create a mechanism or process that allows timely funding approval of start up and continuation over March 31st for Mountain Pine Beetle control work. The result should be that Mountain Pine Beetle control work, once started, can continue without stoppage until the end of the control window, October through April/May the following year.
Resolution 6-09F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province’s priorities for Mountain Pine Beetle be expanded to areas of new risk and infestation where there has been little control effort to date; and that funding for the Mountain Pine Beetle program be increased to assist with control efforts in these areas.
Sustainable Resource Development:
The Alberta government is committed to managing pine beetle infestations to ensure populations remain low, in an effort to limit the number and intensity of outbreaks.
Again this year, the Alberta government declared a forest health emergency for mountain pine beetle (MPB) and has committed a total of $30 million from the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund for aggressive control and rehabilitation efforts.
Continued aggressive action is our most effective tool to control the spread of pine beetles in our forests. Growing infestations must be detected as early as possible, aggressively treated and controlled until the desired population level is achieved.
Our objectives are to minimize the spread of beetles north and south along the Eastern Slopes and prevent beetles from spreading further east into the boreal forest. Efforts are focused on the areas with greatest connected pine forest – south of Grande Prairie, east to the Town of Slave Lake, and south along the foothills to the U.S. border. In southern Alberta, populations are lower than in recent years because of the aggressive provincial control program, no in-flights, and high overwinter mortality.
To prepare for reforesting these areas, Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) has been increasing the amount of seed collected. Ten-year seed reserves are targeted for seed zones where the beetle threatens forest sustainability. Industry partners also increased cone collections through a Forest Resources Improvement Association of Alberta grant program in areas where active harvesting was taking place.
SRD has also implemented the MPB Municipal Grant Program to help local governments manage beetle infestations on private land. Approximately $19 million has been provided since 2006. This year, the County of Grande Prairie, Town of Whitecourt, Town of Canmore, Woodlands County, Yellowhead County, and the Town of Swan Hills received funding. It is anticipated that the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass may also apply for funding. SRD approved $363,234 for municipalities this year, not including the Crowsnest Pass.
Contact: Dan Lux, Senior Manager, Forest Health Section, 780- 644-2246
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) continues to actively work towards Mountain Pine Beetle eradication. The Government of Alberta issued a news release in June 2012 highlighting that $40 million was been allocated specifically to combat mountain pine beetle infestations. Similar levels of have been carried forward in the 2013-14 budget for forest management and wildfire management, deeming the status of this resolution to be Accepted.