Adventures in Moose Fencing… New Brunswick, Quebec Go Electric

by Katy de Vries

BELLEDUNE, N.B. – The bad news is, leaves will soon be falling, which is the cue for moose to head for the highways and oncoming trucks.

The good news is, drivers hauling through Belledune, N.B. and near Lake Tourangeau, 100 kms north of Quebec City, may see fewer moose, thanks to sections of electrical fencing which have been installed in both areas.

The fencing is part of two provincial pilot projects to help prevent vehicle/moose collisions. And so far, it appears to be working, says Belledune, N.B. mayor Joe Noel.

“The trial period will run until the end of September, but basically the fence has worked 100 per cent since we put it up,” says Noel, with regards to the five-km stretch of fencing on Hwy. 11 near Belledune.

Resident Laurie Hickey couldn’t agree more.

Hickey says the governments should forge ahead and install fencing in areas densely populated with moose.

“The moose population in northern New Brunswick is so high and this fence is the answer,” she says. “I have friends who are truckers in the area and they say the department of transportation keeps putting up signs, but I just don’t see the point of signs when we have an effective solution right under our noses.”

Meanwhile, the Quebec pilot project appears to be garnering positive feedback as well, says Maria Soteriades, communications counselor for Transports Quebec.

“We haven’t done an evaluation yet, but the sense so far is that it is working really well. We expect the efficiency of the fence will be up to 80 per cent,” Soteriades says.

Quebec’s fence runs five kms along Route 175.

The cost for one kilometre of the fencing is about $20,000 but is only a third the cost of regular wire mesh fencing and is much more effective, she says.

The pilot project in New Brunswick is a three-year endeavor, while it is a one-year project in Quebec.

Reports on both projects are due out by the end of this fall.

In the meantime, Quebec is also experimenting with other ways of keeping moose off roadways, according to Soteriades.

“We now have about 40 ponds of salty water in various heavy moose populated areas,” Soteriades says. “These ponds are set back from the roads, so instead of going to the highways to get the road salt during the winter time, the moose will be content finding their salt from these ponds, and will avoid the road areas.”

It takes about three years for moose to become accustomed to these ponds in their habitat and so evaluating the effectiveness of them will take time, she adds.

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