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007 Berry Season Ends, Whirling Disease and Quagga Mussels, and New Fossils Found

This week we look at ways we can avoid bear problems now that the berry season is over. We also look at the horrible news of whirling disease in Banff and also talk about another potential invader, the quagga mussel. Finally, we look at a new fossil disco

Story 1 – The End of the Buffaloberry Seaon

For the past 6 weeks or so, we have been talking about a bumper crop of buffaloberries. However, since they only last until the first frost of autumn, the berries have now disappeared and bears will be moving onto other fall foods. This means it is especially important to harvest and fruit trees you may have on your property as bears will be looking to replace the high-calorie buffaloberries. This year has seen great crops of crab apples, Nanking cherries, mountainash and even choke cherries and these can all attract bears that have been feeding near the townsite into the townsite. Let’s try to keep our communities bear free.

Story 2 – Whirling Disease Found in Johnson Lake

This week officials confirmed the first case in Canada of whirling disease, in Johnson Lake in Banff National Park. This is devastating news on many levels. Johnson Lake is one of the few lakes in Banff that actually warms up in the summer to allow swimming and is always packed with people enjoying the water, whether swimming, paddling or picnicking. The lake is now closed until further notice until the extent of the infection within the larger Bow River watershed can be determined. Whirling disease affects the trout and whitefish in the area and can have devastating effects on fish populations.

Story 3 – Quagga Mussels

While whirling disease is here, likely to stay, quagga mussels are one of the potential invaders that have yet to find its way into Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. However, like whirling disease it is a one-way introduction so both the Alberta government and Parks Canada are doing mandatory inspections of all watercraft visiting Alberta waterways. Let’s keep Alberta quagga free!

Story 4 – New Fossil Discoveries from the Burgess Shale Formations

The Burgess Shales are one of the most important fossil beds on the planet. They represent perfect timing, around 550 million years ago, the time of the greatest explosion of life in the history of the planet. They also add unprecedented levels of preservation – even preserving animals that had no