The Town of Coaldale has publicized an independent third-party study conducted by Solstice Environmental Management that strives to understand the West Nile Virus outbreak that affected the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre (the Centre) in August 2018.
In August 2018, 15 of the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre's hawks and owls (birds of prey or raptors) died over the course of a few weeks. Necropsies conducted by the University of Calgary at the request of the Centre attributed the cause of the raptor mortalities to West Nile Virus.
“The Town of Coaldale empathizes with the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre for its loss last summer, understanding that the Centre is an important driver for tourism visitation to our community,” says Town of Coaldale Mayor, Kim Craig. “The point of this exercise was not to assign blame, but to understand what led to the unfortunate bird deaths in August 2018. We are motivated to work with the Centre to find solution-based strategies to minimize risk and to keep our residents and surrounding areas safe from potential threats caused by West Nile Virus in the future,” says Craig.
With the assistance of Solstice Environmental Management, a consulting firm out of Edmonton, the Town of Coaldale has committed to working with the Birds of Prey Centre to create an implementation strategy to help mitigate the risk of future outbreaks of West Nile Virus in Coaldale and surrounding area in the future. The Town is also committed to working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to spread the word about their “Fight the Bite” West Nile Virus awareness campaign.
To view the full report by Solstice Environmental Management, including details on their findings and associated recommendations, please view here.
The authors of the investigative report, Dr. Dee Patriquin and Kirk Strom, will present their findings to Coaldale Town Council at the Special Council Meeting on July 29, 2019 inside Council Chambers. While the Council meeting starts at 5:00 pm, the presentation by the investigators will begin at 5:30 pm.
We are working towards a collaborative solution with all affected parties,” says Justin MacPherson, Director of Operational Services, for the Town of Coaldale. “The Town is committed to working with Solstice Environmental Management to create an implementation plan for the recommendations contained in the report. To date, we have been in communications with the Centre to ensure they have water running into the water ponds they lease from the Town.”
For more information on protection from, and mitigating the spread of West Nile Virus, please see the Alberta Health Services website: www.fightthebite.info.