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New bear attractant reduction program launched in Elk Valley

Cost-share program will give residents money to remove or replace fruit trees or install electric fences
Elk Valley Coexistence Initiative is offering residents and ranchers money to remove their fruit trees or to build electric fences to reduce human-bear conflicts (Photo by Scott Tibballs)

Elk Valley Coexistence Initiative has launched a new cost-share program to help resident reduce bear attractants on their properties.

Elk Valley residents and local ranchers and farmers can apply for financial assistance to remove or replace their fruit trees, and for funding to install electric fencing around fruit trees, gardens, and livestock.

Wildlife biologist Clayton Lamb said the program was launched to reduce human-bear conflicts.

"Conflicts between people and bears are a common occurrence here, but there are proven solutions to this issue, and we want to make it easier for residents to take the measures that discourage bears from entering residential or farm areas," he stated.

Residents can get up to $400 to remove or replace a fruit tree through the program, with additional free information on suitable tree replacement species, including alternatives that have flowers in the spring but do not produce fall fruit, like the Princess Kay Plum.

They are also eligible for a 50 per cent cost share on materials up to $1,000 for electric fence installation, with free expert advice on design and installation from a team that has installed over 500 electric fences in the Kootenays.

The Elk Valley Coexistence Initiative is financially supported by Biodiversity Pathways, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Teck, and the provincial government.

Funds are limited and will be provided on a first-come-first-serve basis. Residents can apply for funding and get information by contacting

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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