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.
2014-07-25 AWA News Release: Parks Canada Rejection of Maligne Lodge in Jasper is Good News for Wildlife, Ecological Integrity; Development Concerns Remain
In a decision announced on July 25, 2014, Parks Canada has rejected a 66-room luxury hotel proposed for the shores of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. The hotel proposed by Maligne Tours Ltd. would have been situated in the middle of important habitat for several threatened wild species, including grizzly bears, harlequin ducks, and the mountain caribou recently designated as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) applauds this decision, which recognizes the importance of the ecological integrity of our mountain parks. At the same time, we note that 13 other elements of the Maligne Tours proposal that were accepted by Parks Canada raise ongoing concerns about commercial developments in the park and may continue to threaten those wild species.
2014-07-23 AWA News Release: South Saskatchewan Regional Plan: A Missed Opportunity for Protection of Important Natural Landscapes
The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan released today by the Alberta government is a small improvement from “business as usual” but remains a missed opportunity for meaningful protection of the region’s natural landscapes.
The Wonder of Willmore | Going Home | Get Out There: Voices of Experience | Floods Are Not a Water Management Problem | Conservation Corner: To Tell You the Truth | Focus: Alberta's Species at Risk
The Alberta government is proposing fixed roof camping cabins in Alberta’s only backcountry canoe circuit in Lakeland Provincial Park. In AWA’s view, the cabins will increase mechanized access pressures and be a step towards urbanizing this important, relatively non-mechanized regional wilderness area. They are completely unnecessary given numerous nearby alternatives for fixed roof RV camping and rental cabins in rustic lakeside settings. Please take a moment to write or comment online to Alberta Parks by July 7 during the public consultation period.
2014-06-25 AWA News Release: Today’s Alberta Sales of Endangered Caribou Habitat Ignore Public Opposition and Science
Despite opposition from Alberta’s three main opposition parties, two major daily newspapers, and major hunting and wilderness organizations, more endangered caribou habitat will be auctioned today by the Alberta government for new oil and gas leases. The leases in 264 hectares of endangered mountain caribou range in west central Alberta and 264 hectares of threatened boreal caribou range in northeast Alberta allow new surface disturbance, making survival chances even worse for the caribou. The Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) asks for a halt to new energy leasing in endangered caribou ranges until effective rules to protect the herds are in place.
This week, Alberta’s Energy Minister visits crude oil customers in Delaware, Philadelphia and New York City while endangered caribou habitat is slated to be auctioned June 11 for new oil and gas leases. The leases allow new surface disturbance, making survival chances even worse for the caribou. The Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) wants American consumers of Alberta crude to know that halting new energy leasing in endangered caribou ranges is critical.
2014-06-04 AWA News Release: Impending Alberta Energy Leasing in Endangered Mountain Caribou Habitat Counter to New Federal Recovery Strategy
The federal southern mountain caribou recovery strategy finalized yesterday sets a goal to increase all populations, maintain current distribution and restore habitat in core and buffer areas in and around ranges. The strategy confirms that Alberta’s upcoming new energy lease sales of 900 hectares in June and July (and sales of 1000 hectares in May) allowing more surface disturbance in crucial caribou winter range will further undermine survival of its endangered caribou. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) calls on the Alberta government to stop energy leasing, including the 500 hectares planned for sale June 11, until range action plans are developed to ensure the recovery of these mountain caribou.
2014-06-03 AWA News Release: AWA Applauds Charges Laid Against Plains Midstream for Red Deer River Crude Oil Pipeline Spill
The Canadian and Alberta governments recently laid charges against Plains Midstream for its June 7, 2012 pipeline spill of 460,000 litres of high-sulfur-content crude oil into the headwaters of the Red Deer River. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) supports the laying of these charges under both federal and provincial laws as a step towards better management of the risks of Alberta’s aging pipeline network.
Wildlands Advocate article, April 2014, by Nigel Douglas. The Sage-grouse Partnership (SGP) and the fate of greater sage-grouse rely on persevering ambassadors of the land like David and Ralph Heydlauff. The Heydlauff family has been ranching on the same lands in southeastern Alberta for over a century.
2014-05-22 Alberta Wilderness & Wildlife Defenders: Help Stop New Energy Leasing in Endangered Mountain Caribou Ranges
The Alberta government plans to sell new energy leases in endangered mountain caribou ranges. Last week, the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal editorial boards plus all opposition parties called for a halt to this leasing. I am hoping that you can help: please ask Alberta’s Energy and ESRD Ministers to halt new lease sales and commit to range plans that protect remaining habitat and restore the forests the caribou need to survive. - Carolyn Campbell, AWA Conservation Specialist
Wild Lands Advocate article, April 2014, by Brittany Verbeek. Neonicotinoids have rapidly become the most widely used pesticide in the world. They are frequently applied as seed dressings to protect the entire plant from pest insects. However, there is growing evidence these pesticides have adverse effects on aquatic organisms, terrestrial invertebrates including bees, birds and mammals.
Wild Lands Advocate article, April 2014, by Carolyn Campbell. The Oil Sands Regional Bird Monitoring Program 2012 report indicated that approximately 40 percent of migrating birds observed near the tailings ponds were landing on the ponds. Although only a small portion of birds landing were found dead nearby, there are concerns about long-term effects of birds landing in bitumen containing ponds.The need for stronger regulations to remove tailings ponds from the landscape is overdue.
2014-05-12 AWA News Release: Alberta Plans More Oil and Gas Lease Sales Where Endangered Mountain Caribou Live
In early May, Alberta’s ‘mountain’ caribou were assessed as Endangered - in immediate danger of extinction - by Canada’s Species at Risk Act scientist advisors (COSEWIC). Yet the Alberta government plans to sell off a further 1,765 hectares of energy leases in these endangered caribou ranges from May 14 to June 25, in apparent disregard of the habitat crisis facing its caribou. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) calls on the Alberta government to stop undermining caribou survival chances and to halt new leasing and surface disturbance within caribou ranges.
Mismanaging Alberta's Wolves: Where's Our Humanity? | Bee Aware - The Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides | Birds and Tar Sands Tailings Ponds: Ever Safe to Land? | Sage-grouse Protectors | Former Senior Parks Canada Staff Urge Ottawa to Reject the Maligne Tours Resort Proposal | Two Bits?: Woodland Caribou Are Worth More than That | Focus: Alberta's Species at Risk
A 2015 hunting season for Alberta's sandhill cranes is being proposed. Proposals in previous years have been turned down but increased pressure from hunting groups has once again revived the consideration of a hunt. AWA has consistently opposed hunting sandhill cranes in Alberta for several reasons listed below. Please take a few minutes to write to ESRD Minister Robin Campbell and urge him to turn down a 2015 hunt of the magnificant sandhill crane.
2014-05-02 AWA Wilderness & Wildlife Defenders: Protect Garner Orchid Fen Natural Area in Northeast Alberta
The beautiful, ecologically significant groundwater-fed wetlands of northeast Alberta’s Garner Orchid Fen Natural Area are threatened by a proposed nearby residential development. Lac La Biche County Council recently voted to postpone a re-zoning decision to further consider environmental impacts to the Garner Orchid Fen. Please take a minute to write to the Mayor to urge stronger long-term protection of this important Natural Area.
Only three percent of the $625 million announced yesterday by the Alberta government for the next three years of flood protection work will support flood and drought-buffering wetlands, forests and river corridors. 97 percent of the funds are assigned to projects to further harden river banks, or to build or expand weirs, dams and reservoirs. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) asks the Alberta government to implement ecologically-sound watershed management principles to better protect Albertans from future floods and droughts.
Wildlands Advocate article, February 2014, by Sean Nichols. AWA received a response back from the FOIP request to ESRD regarding decision making to log Hidden Creek. The FOIP materials clearly demonstrated the warnings from Fish and Wildlife were hushed and swept off the table in order for the Forestry Service and Spray Lakes Sawmills to move ahead with clear cutting.