Alberta Puts $55 M into Beetle Fight
The Alberta government is setting aside $55.2 million to fight the mountain pine beetle this year.
“The time to attack the beetle is now, when we have the greatest potential for success in managing pine beetle populations,” said Sustainable Resource Development Minister Ted Morton.
Scientists believe last winter reached temperatures cold enough to set back populations of the forest-destroying pest in northern Alberta, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The department wants to curb the spread of beetles north and south along Alberta’s eastern slopes and halt their spread eastward into the boreal forest.
The money includes $50 million from the Sustainability Fund, used for emergencies, plus $5.2 million in the department’s base budget.
It will be used to pay for removing beetle-killed and at-risk trees, and to continue surveys for infestations. The budget will also provide funding for anti-beetle measures by municipalities, the department said.
The ministry wants to remove as many infected trees as possible before July when the beetles take flight. Each infected tree contains enough beetles to attack five to 10 more trees.
In the fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08, the province allocated $134.3 million for pine beetle programs.