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Investigation of starling populations in BC & Assessment of the feasibility of a trapping program in the Lower Mainland

Starlings have been identified as one of the 100 world’s worst invaders. In the Lower Mainland, starlings have caused significant damage to fruit crops such as blueberries. While starling control programs have been established in other regions of BC, it is not confirmed if a starling control program would be effective in the Lower Mainland. Through analysis of data retrieved from the National Breeding Bird Surveys and observations of the Whatcom County and Okanagan control programs, establishing an intense control program in the Lower Mainland from May/June to August may decrease the damage Summer crops incur. However, a long-term reduction in abundance of starlings in the Lower Mainland is unlikely obtainable through a trapping program. Most of the data on starling control programs is not scientifically based, therefore if a control program is established in the Lower Mainland it should be accompanied by a monitoring protocol.

Pricing Program for Anaerobic Digestion Electricity in BC

Manure is a natural occurrence in the dairy production process. Large quantities of stored or land applied manure emits greenhouse gas emissions and can pose a risk to local soil and water quality. One method of decreasing these environmental risks is by incorporating an anaerobic digestion into the farming process. Anaerobic digesters are capable of converting manure into renewable energy that can be utilized on the farm. The project requests funding of $5,000 to aid in the launch of a voluntary pricing program for anaerobic digestion energy. Following similar North American pricing programs, the BC program will collect and sell the environmental attributes (such as greenhouse gas and odour reductions) from anaerobic digestion systems to consumers for 4¢/kWh. This premium, in combination with the price paid by BC Hydro (10¢/kWh), will result in a price of 14¢/kWh for dairy producers. Program development will involve a serial and parallel process and success is correlated to communication of the program.

BC Dairy Hoof Health Application

One health issue affecting many dairy cows in BC are feet and leg problems, otherwise known as lameness. The BC Dairy Hoof Health Application project proposal requires funding to develop a collective database that tracks the frequency and various types of lameness occurring on BC dairy farms. This project will require training of all BC hoof trimmers who will be able to record problems with lameness in the database. As information is recorded onto the database, research into the correlation between specific hoof health problems and herd management practices will be identifiable. The goal of this project is to eventually improve overall BC dairy hoof health. This project requires a contribution of $8, 637 from the Dairy Industry Research and Education Committee.

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