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.
Wildlands Advocate article, February 2012, by Brittany Verbeek. Despite coal development's significant negative impacts on land, air, and water quality, its exploration, mining, and combustion remains a large part of Alberta's exports and electricity generation. A recent tailings pond spill into tributaries of the Athabasca River from Sherritt's Obed Mountain Mine exemplified the potential hazards of coal mining.
There is an urgent need for the immediate removal of all nine of Alberta's bat species from the Non-Licence Animal List. Hibernating and migratory bats are facing imminent risk of significantly reduced populations from White Nose Syndrome and wind turbine deaths, respectively, and require formal protection instead of being considered “pests.”
Audio clip (14m:15s) from Terra Informa and CJSR radio highlighting the tailings pond spill at Sherritt International's Obed Mountain Coal Mine, the subsequent leak into the Athabasca River and effects on river ecosystem and species. Includes interviews with USask researcher Tim Jardine and First Nations researcher Dr. Makere Stewart-Harawira. Supplemented by a YouTube video recording from the first Obed public forum at the UofA.
Today (March 18) is the last day in the consultation period on the proposed federal recovery strategy for ‘southern mountain’ woodland caribou, which includes four threatened Alberta populations. Comments are accepted until midnight Pacific time. If you (and any friends you know who care about caribou) can spare a few minutes today to send comments to the federal government, it could make a real difference – the boreal caribou recovery strategy improved thanks to public comments.
2014-03-14 AWA News Release: Alberta’s Ongoing Energy Leasing Undermines Federal Caribou Recovery Strategy
Alberta has auctioned 5400 km2 of new oil and gas leases/licenses allowing surface disturbance within its threatened woodland caribou ranges since October 2012, the date when the federal caribou recovery strategy mandated provinces to start developing plans to protect caribou habitat. Alberta has also announced that by April 30, 2014 it plans to sell a further 30km2 of leases/licenses in five caribou ranges. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) calls on the Alberta government to stop undermining caribou survival chances and halt new leasing in its caribou ranges.
In late 2012 a video was posted to YouTube depicting a number of riders driving OHVs through the Swan River wilderness wetland, known to contain at least eight documented species of fish, and protected by a Class ‘A’ designation. The person posting the video and one of the OHV riders were subsequently charged following a joint investigation by the RCMP and AESRD. During the course of the investigation, AESRD undertook a survey of the creek's wetlands and their fish populations, noting deviations and declines from expected populations, compiling the results into this report. “Given the sensitive nature of these fish to disturbance,” the report concludes, “it is not unlikely that some numbers were destroyed by OHV operation in the spawning beds of the stream outlet.”
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).