Human-Wildlife Coexistence in the Bow Valley
There is concern among residents, elected officials, and wildlife managers that encounters between humans and wildlife in the Bow Valley has become more frequent.
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.
Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen, Canmore Mayor John Borrowman 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.
The Human-Wildlife Coexistence (HWC) Technical Report was created to provide recommendations to reduce conflict between wildlife and humans in the Bow Valley. The report will be used by the management organizations in the Bow Valley as a guide to enhance human-wildlife coexistence. The report:
- Identifies trends and human-wildlife conflict mitigation programs
- Makes recommendations on reducing the frequency of human/wildlife conflict
- Suggests improvements to how each agency responds to incidents
- Identifies ways to change public behaviour through increased awareness and transparency
The Wildlife Coexistence in the Bow Valley Report was released in June 2018:
- Human Wildlife Coexistence in the Bow Valley Report (PDF)
The vision of this initiative:
- Wildlife in the Bow Valley is able to effectively utilize the 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 Banff aims to 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.
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 – Darren Enns, Manager of Development Services
- 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 are 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.
In order to give the Technical Working Group the best opportunity to complete their work, engagement and communication was undertaken in the spring of 2018, following receipt of the Technical Working Group’s report. A summary of feedback collected through email and at open houses in Banff and Canmore was reviewed by the Technical Working Group and the Roundtable in the fall of 2018. This feedback is valued. Some additional opportunities for input by interested groups and individuals may be provided as recommendations from the report move toward implementation.