Alberta Positioned To Become National Conservation Leader
— Press Release June 18, 2018
EDMONTON – Conservation groups in Alberta are commending the provincial government, the federal government, and Alberta’s First Nations on today’s National Advisory Panel report, Canada’s Conservation Vision.
“As a province we now have the opportunity to reach one of the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2020 key biodiversity goals on protected areas,” says Legault. “We hope that through the guidance provided in the National Advisory Panel and the Indigenous Circle of Experts reports we can reach and exceed our targets for biodiversity and reconciliation.”
“This report represents the most comprehensive approach to conservation efforts across Canada, and specifically in Alberta, in more than 30 years. We are celebrating the diverse voices calling for action on protected areas and reconciliation,” says Dr. Kecia Kerr, executive director of the Northern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).
“The specific focus on the Bighorn Backcountry in the Rocky Mountains west of Edmonton and Red Deer as an ‘early opportunity for progress towards Canada’s Target 1’, the international commitment of protecting an interim 17 per cent of land and inland waters in Canada by 2020, is a good indication of the region’s importance,” says Stephen Legault, program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). “We support this designation and hope to see movement towards conservation of the Bighorn in the draft management plan for the North Saskatchewan Regional Land Use Plan.”
At 6,800 square-kilometres, the Bighorn represents 1 per cent of Alberta’s land mass.
“Protecting this area would be a conservation achievement on an international scale, and would position Alberta as a national leader on the pathway to Canada’s Target 1,” says Dr. Kerr.
“Last month’s announcement of the creation of the world’s largest boreal protected area network which connects new and existing provincially protected areas with Wood Buffalo National Park was ground-breaking. Building on that announcement, Alberta can further conservation of endangered woodland caribou in the northwest of the province as outlined in the National Advisory Panel Report,” adds Dr. Kerr. “Protection of habitat for woodland caribou in the NW in the form of Indigenous Protected Areas, or Indigenous co-management of protected areas, would advance conservation of this international icon of Canada, as well as other boreal species, increase long term resilience for the forestry sector, and provide economic opportunities and increase food security for Indigenous communities.”
“The collaborative effort between Alberta’s ranching community, First Nations, regional municipalities, provincial government and conservation organizations on the ongoing conservation of the Pekisko Heritage Rangeland is a model for cooperation,” says Katie Morrison, conservation director of the Southern Alberta Chapter of CPAWS. “The Pekisko is a key grasslands landscape of rolling foothills, is home to grizzly bears and bull trout and is at the heart of Alberta’s First Nations and ranching heritage. Legal designation of this area as a Heritage Rangeland would ensure the protection of these values for generations to come”
With the release of the National Advisory Panel report, and its critical role in co-chairing the committee, Alberta has emerged as a national and international leader in conservation.
For more information:
Kecia Kerr, Executive Director, CPAWS Northern Alberta Chapter
Katie Morrison, Conservation Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter
Phone: 403-232-6686 | Email: [email protected]
Stephen Legault, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative Alberta, Crown and N.W.T. Program Director
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the biodiversity within them. Over the last 50+ years, CPAWS has played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory. Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and water so that future generations can experience Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness.
CPAWS has chapters in almost every province and territory across Canada, and two chapters here in Alberta – a Southern Alberta chapter located in Calgary and a Northern Alberta chapter located in Edmonton. As a collaborative organization, CPAWS works closely with government of all levels, industry representatives, and communities to manage our impact on a shared landscape. We also advocate for the creation of parks and protected areas for the benefit of both current and future generations of Canadians.