Crop Damage Control 2004


Velma Hudson


The Waterfowl Crop Damage Prevention Program (WCDPP), administered by the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), assists Alberta cereal grain producers in preventing and/or controlling damage to crops from waterfowl during the fall migration period. The WCDPP activities include 1) direct assistance to producers through installation and maintenance of waterfowl scaring equipment on affected crops, 2) the provision of alternate feed for waterfowl at bait stations, and 3) the operation of distribution centres that provide scaring equipment free of charge for producers to borrow.

In each year, program activities begin in early August and continue until approximately 70% of cereal crops are harvested. In order to avoid conflicts with recreational waterfowl hunting opportunities, effort is made to terminate program operations by the Friday preceding the October Thanksgiving weekend. In 2004, poor weather delayed harvest and the program continued until early October in the southern and central areas of Alberta and until mid-October in the northern regions.

In 2004, 11 field personnel worked in 23 active control areas. Scaring equipment was available through 25 distribution centres located in local businesses and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD) offices. One-hundred-and-ninety-one potential cases of waterfowl damage were handled by ACA field staff, while distribution centres issued scare cannons for use on 139 potential waterfowl damage locations. The number of reported waterfowl damage cases was 56% higher in 2004 than in 2003.

In 2004, the ACA operated 10 bait stations and one lure crop to provide alternate food sources for waterfowl. A total of 18,199 bushels of barley were provided at bait stations with an estimated duck use of 1,985,999 days and a consumption rate of 0.44 pounds/duck/day. The total number of duck-use days at the bait stations in 2004 was 7% higher than that in 2003.

The 2004 program expenditures totaling $324,000 was cost-shared equally by the Alberta Conservation Association and Environment Canada.

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