Government of Canada announces further investments to control the mountain pine beetle in Alberta

December 18, 2007

This release is available in French.GRANDE PRAIRIE - Members of Parliament Mr. Chris Warkentin (Peace River) and Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead) today announced $4 million in funding for the monitoring and spread control of the mountain pine beetle in Alberta. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources.

"Today's investment further demonstrates our Government's commitment to fighting the spread of the mountain pine beetle eastward into the boreal forest and across Canada," said Mr. Warkentin. "This funding will give the province of Alberta greater capacity to initiate targeted control actions in priority infestation areas."

Alberta will receive $4 million in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, with an additional $2 million to be shared by British Columbia and Alberta for the Peace River Region.

"We are now presented with a critical window of opportunity during which we must continue with targeted spread-control measures to further reduce beetle populations in areas at risk," said Mr. Merrifield. "The funding announced today will ensure resources are used effectively to slow the spread of the beetle infestation."

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has partnered with the provincial ministries in Alberta and British Columbia to develop a Mountain Pine Beetle Threat Assessment to identify priority areas for spread control activities.

This funding follows on an earlier commitment of $1 million to Alberta this fall for detection work conducted to assist with the assessment and identification of priority areas.

Combined with this federal support for beetle control on provincial forest land, the federal government is also funding beetle control and habitat adjustment in the federal Rocky Mountain parks in both Alberta and British Columbia.

In January 2007, the Government of Canada announced the Mountain Pine Beetle Program, a $200-million investment to slow the eastward spread of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, to recover economic value from impacted forests and to protect forest resources and communities. To date, $46 million of the program has been invested in controlling the eastward spread. Today's announcement is another important step towards long-term improvements in the economic future of communities affected by the beetle.
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FOR BROADCAST USE:

MPs Chris Warkentin and Rob Merrifield today announced $4 million in funding for further mountain pine beetle monitoring and spread-control efforts in Alberta. The goal will be to further enhance efforts to slow the spread of the mountain pine beetle infestation eastward toward the boreal forest.

Media may contact:

Louise Girouard
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

The general public may contact:
Mon-Fri, 8:30-4:30 EDT
Telephone: 613-995-0947
TTY: 613-996-4397 (teletype for the hearing-impaired)
E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

Natural Resources Canada

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