Fighting mountain pine beetle in Whitecourt area

L-R:Maryann Chichak, mayor of Whitecourt, Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and Jim Rennie, mayor of Woodlands County.

Spotlight Staff

The Alberta government is partnering with Woodlands County and the town of Whitecourt to combat mountain pine beetle.

The mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest and affects the activities of more than half of the major forest companies operating in Alberta.

In order to protect Alberta’s crucial forestry industry, the province is providing Whitecourt with $29,000 and Woodlands County with $26,000 for the control, suppression and eradication of mountain pine beetle on municipal and private lands.

The funds are part of the Mountain Pine Beetle Municipal Grant Funding Program which helps communities minimize the spread of mountain pine beetle infestations in their areas.

“Our best chance to combat the mountain pine beetle infestation is if our government partners with local municipalities on aggressive and proactive detection and control programs. This funding will help us work with the Town of Whitecourt and Woodlands County to do that,” says Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“On behalf of the Town of Whitecourt, thank you to the Government of Alberta for its continued support of our local mountain pine beetle program. For several years, with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s support, our community has conducted local surveys and control work to minimize the effect of an infestation. Whitecourt is heavily invested in the forest industry, and the control of this insect is vital to our economic, environmental, and social health,” says Maryann Chichak, mayor of Whitecourt.

“From a municipal point of view, one of the greatest supports from the provincial government has been the pine beetle mitigation. Keeping our forests healthy is vital to the viability of our communities in Woodlands County. This new grant will help strengthen our local mountain pine beetle program. It will assist in educating our residents and stakeholders in identifying trees infected by the pest,” says Jim Rennie, mayor of Woodlands County

Quick facts about mountain pine beetle

Mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest.

The value of pure pine stands in Alberta is more than $8 billion.

Last year, more than 92,000 trees across the province were cut and burned to help control the mountain pine beetle outbreak.

More than half of the major forest companies operating in Alberta are reliant on pine to continue operations.

 

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