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Up to $1M approved by Saskatchewan government to battle mountain pine beetle threat

In this July 12, 2017, photo, a dead pine beetle is shown on the inside of a piece of bark peeled from a beetle-killed tree.
In this July 12, 2017, photo, a dead pine beetle is shown on the inside of a piece of bark peeled from a beetle-killed tree. AP Photo/Dan Elliott

The second year of a three-year agreement between the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta to fight the threat of mountain pine beetles in Alberta was recently renewed.

On Monday, the Saskatchewan government announced up to $1 million in approved funding to help stop the spread of mountain pine beetles into Saskatchewan’s northern forests.

“Recent studies have shown that our joint efforts are working by significantly slowing the eastern spread of the mountain pine beetle,” Environment Minister Warren Kaeding said in a release on Monday.

“Renewal of this agreement is a cost-effective, proactive approach that will continue to control beetle spread in Alberta, and support our efforts to keep it out of northern Saskatchewan.”

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The government said the outbreak of mountain pine beetles in Alberta remains a significant threat to Saskatchewan’s northern pine forests and the sustainable forest developments they support.

The outbreak has killed about 55 per cent of salable pine in British Columbia and has spread across Alberta to within 40 kilometres of the Saskatchewan border.

Renewal of the agreement between Saskatchewan and Alberta will support control efforts in areas of Alberta of highest concern for the beetle’s eastern spread.

The government noted that Saskatchewan’s ministries of environment and parks, culture and sport have collaborated to manage an established beetle population in the lodgepole pine forests of the Cypress Hills area of the province.

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No mountain pine beetles have been detected in Saskatchewan’s northern forests, according to surveys completed this fall by the Ministry of Environment.

Nearly $7.3 million has been invested toward control efforts in Alberta by Saskatchewan since the agreement between the two jurisdictions began in 2011.

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