Defending Wild Alberta through Awareness and Action
Our website provides awareness of Alberta's natural spaces and the need for action to protect our wildlife, wild lands, and wild waters for future generations.
Wild Lands Advocate article, March 2014, by Carolyn Campbell. University of Alberta biologist Rick Schneider is undertaking three studies as part of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change project led by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI). His first published work from August 2013, "Alberta's Natural Subregions Under a Changing Climate: Past, Present, and Future" explores the dramatic changes that may occur in Alberta Natural Regions and Subregions due to climate change over the next century.
2014-02-27 AWA News Release: Leases Reveal Cumulative Effects Management Absent in Alberta Tar Sands, Forests
Industrial forestry and energy leasing are far outpacing environmental protection and promised stewardship of land and water across Alberta’s public lands. New findings by Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC) show cumulative effects management of Alberta’s public lands and waters is lagging. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) wants promises for conservation and environmental protection concerns dealt with responsibly by the departments within government that Albertans put their trust in.
Wild Lands Advocate article, February 2014. A summary of recent developments concerning southeastern Alberta's sage-grouse is given, with different topics and events brought together into a single overview to give context and resonance. Topics include AWA's September 2011 Emergency Sage-grouse Summit, the 2013 establishment of the Sage-grouse Partnership, the December 2013 Emergency Protection Order issued by the federal government, the 2011-2012 efforts to translocate sage-grouse from Montana, and the January 2014 Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop hosted by the Calgary Zoo.
Dark and Dirty - Time to Dethrone King Coal in Alberta | Alberta's Response to AWA's Hidden Creek FOIP Request: the Good, the Bad and the Muddy | Losing the Boreal: A View of How Climate Change Could Shift Alberta's Ecosystems | Partnership Plus An Emergency Protection Order: A Potion to Save Greater Sage-grouse? | Focus: Alberta's Species-at-Risk | Conservation Corner: Whitebark Pine: Resistance Is Not Futile (in fact, it may be key to saving the species)
2014-02-20 AWA Wilderness & Wildlife Defenders: Speak up for the Expansion of Critical Habitat Indentification for Westslope Cutthroat Trout
On December 24, 2013, the federal government released a Proposed Recovery Strategy for Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) Alberta Population. AWA has concerns regarding the proposed Recovery Strategy. In particular we believe that the critical habitat identification is not consistent with the requirements of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and is inadequate for the successful recovery of westslope cutthroat trout. We encourage you to submit comments to push for the increase in critical habitat designation for this threatened native species.
2014-02-16 AWA Response to Environment Canada on proposed Amended Recovery Strategy for Sage-grouse: “Plan does not go far enough”
On Feb. 16, AWA sent the attached response to Environment Canada regarding their proposed Amended Recovery Strategy for the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus urophasianus) in Canada. The response was formulated in close consultation with numerous scientists and experts on the greater sage-grouse, and we are confident that it represents the best possible position based on current science and knowledge about the species.
International scientists have called on the Alberta government to eliminate its archaic wolf bounties. In letters released today, they describe Alberta wolf bounties, which are funded by private groups such as the Wyoming-based Wild Sheep Foundation and by local governments, as outdated and ineffective in managing wildlife. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and Wolf Matters welcome this call by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) wolf experts, and urge the Alberta government to modernize its wolf management and end wolf bounties.
With another 31 bears killed in 2013, Alberta’s grizzly population continues to be under threat. According to the 2013 mortality breakdown released by the Government of Alberta at the end of January, more grizzlies died in last year than any other year since 2003. A decade after the official listing of the grizzly bear as Threatened in Alberta, bears are still dying in near-record numbers in the province.
Every year the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommends new species to be added to that list and in 2014, three species were recommended to be added to the threatened list (bull trout, bank swallow and Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle) and three to be added to the special concern list (American badger, western tiger salamander and greenish-white grasshopper).
2014-01-09 AWA News Release: AWA calls on the Alberta Government to take a stronger conservation stance for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan
With the comment period ending on January 15, 2014, Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) has sent official recommendations to the Alberta government in response to the Draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP). After extensively reviewing the draft, AWA has serious concerns with the draft and wants significant changes in the final SSRP. Although there are positive strategic directions in the draft indicating a need for a cumulative effects management approach, land use tradeoffs and sufficient headwater and biodiversity protection are largely absent.
Sage-grouse recovery must remain focused on getting habitat right so the birds can recover. Postponing the Emergency Order for the Protection of the Greater Sage-grouse as requested by the City of Medicine Hat and LGX Oil and Gas Inc. would delay recovery and be counterproductive.
AWA letter to AESRD Minister Campbell updating him on our concerns about the past 18 months' logging operations in Hidden Creek in the Livingstone-Porcupine, as well as the related FOIP materials delivered to AWA and our subsequent analysis. Hidden Creek is part of the headwaters of the Upper Oldman River and a critical spawning ground for Westslope Cutthroat Trout as well as threatened Bull Trout, two species that were negatively impacted by the logging.
2013-12-20 AWA News Release: Northern Gateway Pipeline--Approval Mostly Silent on Upstream Impacts for Alberta's Boreal Forest and Foothills
The National Energy Board (NEB) yesterday recommended approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline across central Alberta to the BC coast. Many of Alberta Wilderness Association's (AWA) concerns regarding routing in Alberta were worked out with Enbridge prior to the application being made. AWA welcomes the panel's condition for a Linear Feature Management and Removal Plan (LFMRP) for one of Canada's most threatened caribou populations in the Little Smoky area, but AWA is also calling for more attention by Alberta and the federal government to the upstream impacts of energy development.
The Recovery Strategy for the Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada was posted on the SARA Public Registry in January 2008. Section 2.6 (Critical Habitat) was replaced in October, 2009. This 2013 Amended Recovery Strategy for the Greater Sage-Grouse is for the purposes of  Amending all sections of the Recovery Strategy based on the most current information;  Amending the Replacement of Section 2.6 based on updated information;  Identifying critical habitat throughout the species’ recent range in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
2013-12-18 Recall of the Wild - Greater Sage-Grouse: Reflections From Somone Who's Lived a Life on the Land
Wild Lands Advocate article, December 2013, by Ralph Heydlauff. The disappearance of the traditional rancher means collective engagement will be key for modern grassland range management. Responsible management is reflected in the health of Sage brush mini-ecosystems and in turn the presence of local species such as the Greater Sage-grouse.
Wild Lands Advocate update, October 2013, by Sean Nichols. The information regarding a pipeline spill of 9.5 million litres of waste water near Zama City was not released to the public until nearly ten days after the incident. This raises questions about the ERCBs ability to timely disclose crucial spill information.
Wild Lands Advocate article, October 2013, by Jason Unger. A new wetland policy for Alberta now includes management of wetlands in Green Areas, but its effectiveness to fulfill environmental outcomes is highly uncertain.
2013-12-15 FOIP Response into Hidden Creek Logging Operation Raises Questions about AESRD Decision-Making
Wild Lands Advocate update, October 2013, by Sean Nichols. After ten months of waiting, AWA finally received information on the license granted to Spray Lake Sawmills to log in Hidden Creek last winter.
Wild Lands Advocate update, October 2013, by Carolyn Campbell. The Alberta government will be developing range plans for the Little Smoky, A La Peche, and Cold Lake Caribou populations. AWA will participate in an advisory board with the goal of achieving self-sustaining Caribou populations through habitat protection and restoration.
Wild Lands Advocate article, October 2013, by Brittany Verbeek. On September 15, 2013, fifty people gathered to hike to the top of Table Mountain to display large banners stating "Protect the Castle". Aerial shots captured the enthusiasm of the participants and the message of concern of the public for the Castle Wilderness.