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Photo contributed: Tolko
Photo contributed: Tolko

Pine Beetle continuing to attack

by - Story: 38008

The Mountain Pine Beetle continues to be the biggest threat to forests, parks and private property throughout the Central Okanagan.

That is the conclusion of a report prepared for Kelowna City Council.

Urban Forestry Supervision, Ian Wilson, says the latest estimates indicate about 500,000 ponderosa pine trees will be lost as a result of the beetle by 2013.

"Cooler summer weather in 2007 helped to delay the MPB flight and reduce the severity of attack," says Wilson.

"Over the winter, however, parks crews identified more than 500 infested trees on city property that have now been removed from a dozen sites throughout Kelowna."

Wilson says the largest concentration of attacks were found at Dilworth Mountain, Knox Mountain and Mission Ridge parks, as well as some private properties in the Mission and along Kelowna's lakeshore.

In 2007, the City received approximately $400,000 in funding from Service Canada along with $188,000 through the Union of B.C. Municipalities to assist with pine beetle control, fuel modification and disposal of infested wood from private properties.

Wilson says more funding will be applied for through Service Canada and both senior levels of government for 2008.

"As the pine beetle outbreak progresses, it will be necessary to increase tree removal and logging activities on public lands in order to remove hazards. Rehabilitation activities are currently underway in affected areas, and will need to be expanded accordingly."

He says about 9,500 seedlings have been ordered for planting in Spring of 2009. More will be ordered as required.

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