There is concern among residents, elected officials, and wildlife managers that growth and development in the Bow Valley is leading to more frequent encounters between humans and wildlife.
We must reduce the risk to both humans and wildlife. This will require collaboration between various levels of government, wildlife behaviour experts, and the people that reside in and use the Bow Valley for recreation. No single agency or individual can solve this issue alone.
Canmore Mayor John Borrowman, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen, and Banff Cochrane MLA Cameron Westhead brought representatives together from area municipalities, Parks Canada, and the Government of Alberta to form a Roundtable on Human Wildlife Coexistence. Throughout the fall of 2017, they met to develop a pdf terms of reference (481 KB) for a larger initiative to focus on processes and options to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the Bow Valley.
In November 2017, a technical working group of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and subject matter experts was formed to:
• Identify trends and human-wildlife conflict mitigation programs
• Make recommendations on reducing the frequency of human/wildlife conflict
• Suggest improvements to how each agency responds to incidents
• Identify ways to change public behaviour through increased awareness and transparency
Technical Working Group Membership
- Town of Banff – Chad Townsend, Environmental Coordinator
- Town of Canmore – Michael Fark, General Manager Municipal Infrastructure
- Jay Honeyman – Human Wildlife Conflict Biologist, AEP, South Saskatchewan Region
- Brett Boukall – Senior Wildlife Biologist, Bow District, AEP, South Saskatchewan Region
- Paul Frame – Provincial Carnivore Specialist, Policy Division, Edmonton
- Melanie Percy – Ecologist, AEP Parks Division
- Debbie Mucha – Manager , AEP Parks Division
- Ron Wiebe – Inspector , Calgary Unit, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch
- Bill Hunt – Resource Manager, Banff National Park
- Hilary Young - Y2Y representative
- Tyler McClaron - Wildsmart representative
- Katie Morrison - CPAWS representative
The co-chairs of the Technical Working Group will be Jay Honeyman and Bill Hunt who will also be the primary liaison between the group and the Roundtable.
The study area extends from the Town of Banff to Seebe west to east, and between the height of land across the Bow Valley. It encompasses all federal, provincial and municipal lands within this area.
While engagement opportunities have not yet been defined, the Roundtable confirmed their intent to reach out to and engage with all relevant and interested stakeholders. Engaging with our First Nations neighbors and learning from their expertise on coexistence with wildlife, will be essential in formulating recommendations. Other engagement opportunities will be created for recreational groups, private landowners and the general public. In order to give the Technical Working Group the best opportunity to complete their work by the required deadline of March 31, 2018, engagement and communication will be undertaken in the spring (April, May) of 2018, following receipt of the Technical Working Group’s report.
The vision of this initiative is:
The Wildlife in the Bow Valley are able to effectively utilize their natural habitat with minimal human disturbance while avoiding developed areas such as town sites and campgrounds. Human wildlife conflict management is coordinated and integrated among the responsible agencies and the public understands their decisions and actions.
With collaboration among our partners and stakeholders, the Town of Canmore believes we can: reduce food sources close to areas where there is high human use, implement and enforce temporary area closures when wildlife is present, work together to address issues when wildlife crosses jurisdictional boundaries, increase effectiveness of public education, and designate and enforce areas where wildlife habitat is the primary land use.