Free workshop will focus on electric fencing, solutions to protect crops and animals. Photo: Submitted

Free workshop will focus on electric fencing, solutions to protect crops and animals. Photo: Submitted

Electric fencing workshop coming to Nakusp

Those interested in attending can email newdenver@wildsafebc.com for registration and details.

WildSafeBC and Grizzly Bear Solutions are teaming up to host an electric fencing work shop in Nakusp at the beginning of July.

Cora Skaien, WildSafeBC coordinator for New Denver, Nakusp, Silverton and the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), will be joined by Jillian Sanders, with Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions (GBCS).

The duo will discuss electric fencing solutions with the goal of effectively deterring bears from livestock and crops.

“The workshop is intended for people who want to learn how to install effective electric fencing to protect their chickens, bees, livestock, fruit and crops from grizzly and black bears,” said Sanders.

“A properly installed and maintained electric fence is very effective to deter bears, and it helps people grow and raise food without bear conflicts.

“It also enables bears to move through low elevation habitats and stay out of trouble, increasing safety for both bears and people.”

That’s the goal for both WildSafeBC and Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions in a nutshell – ensuring people and wildlife can safely coexist.

Skaien added the workshop will cover a variety of topics from specifics and effectiveness of electric fencing to locations, supplies and partnerships.

They will have a demo fence that will be set-up on-site, along with a powerpoint presentation and question and answer period.

There is no cost for the workshop, which takes place at the Nakusp Community Centre on Tuesday, July 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Both Skaien and Sanders have extensive knowledge when it comes to wildlife, and the workshop aims to address ways of coexisting with animals that also call the Kootenays home.

Sanders has been working in the field of grizzly bear conservation for the past 21 years, and started setting up electric fencing to protect her own bees, chickens and small livestock.

Since then, she has been working with GBCS with the goal of improving human-grizzly bear coexistence through education, collaboration, and the use of practical tools.

She primarily works in the Kootenays, but has also done work in other areas of the province. Since 2013, she says, GBCS has helped to install almost 500 electric fences.

Skaien works with WildSafeBC, which she says is the provincial leader in reducing human-wildlife conflict. She also has extensive knowledge in ecology and restoration.

“This is my third year with the program. My background is more broadly academic, wherein I studied plant herbivore interactions in an evolutionary ecology context and conservation in the Gulf Islands,” Skaien said.

“Since finishing my graduate degree, I have worked as a private contractor for many restoration projects in the Gulf Islands and as an Ecological Modelling Consultant for the BC Ministry of Forests to help forecast wildfires and investigate the impacts of silviculture on huckleberry and buffalo berry production and linking that to impacts on grizzly bears.”

There are many considerations that come into play when considering electric fencing, as Skaien says in a fact sheet that is provided to workshop attendees.

The fact sheet notes that in some instances, secondary exclusion fencing may be required to keep out predators like cougars, or smaller animals that may be able to duck under the fence.

“The use of electric fencing is only recommended when the attractant that the electric fence is protecting cannot be dealt with in some other manner,” Skaien explained.

“For example, if garbage can be removed from an area then that would be preferable to setting up an electric fence around the garbage.”

She ads that all fences must be constructed within the guidelines of municipal, regional, provincial or sometimes federal regulations.

There are many components of electric fencing systems that need to be correctly followed, like the manufacturers instructions.

Electric fencing also requires the proper power system and they need to be CSA or ULC approved.

There is also a how-to guide and many other instructions that will be shared.

Advanced registration is required in order to attend.

Those interested in attending can email newdenver@wildsafebc.com for registration and details.

When registering please provide your name, where you live, how many people will be attending in your group and your contact information.

The workshop details can also be found on Facebook by searching for the ‘Nakusp Electric Fencing Workshop’ event.

bearsgrizzlyKootenay Boundary Regional DistrictKootenaysNakusp