AWA News 2011
In a highly significant decision, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) yesterday refused permission to Altalink Management Ltd. to build a new transmission line in the pristine landscape of southwestern Alberta’s Livingstone Range.
A new report is launched Tuesday October 25 - Sustainable Forests, Sustainable Communities: The Future of Alberta’s Southwestern Forests. Citizens and associations from communities throughout southwestern Alberta have joined together to document serious concerns with current industrial-scale logging practices, and present an alternative vision for the management of Alberta's southwestern forests.
2011-08-18 AWA News Release: Alberta’s Woodland Caribou in Peril. Newly-revealed Documents Show Scientists Trying to Sound the Alarm
The plight of Alberta’s woodland caribou has become so desperate that Alberta government scientists are recommending that the species be downgraded from a threatened species to an endangered species, according to newly‐released documents. Although the province’s Scientific Subcommittee recommended the downgrading nearly a year ago, still the government is failing to act.
2011-09-01 AWA News Release: Last Dance for Sage-grouse? Just 13 Male Birds Remain in Alberta, as Recovery Fails
In 2011, just thirteen male greater sage-grouse were counted in Alberta. Without emergency action to protect sage-grouse habitat, the species will die out in Alberta, and the finger of blame will be pointed squarely at provincial and federal governments which have failed to act.
Motorized access density in southern Alberta’s Ghost Watershed is more than three times that officially recorded by the Alberta government, and more than four times the maximum recommended in the province’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan says a new report released August 8.
2011-10-25 News Release: Southwest Alberta groups release new recommendations for sustainable forest management
Today sees the release of a new report, Sustainable Forests, Sustainable Communities: The Future of Alberta’s Southwestern Forests. Citizens and associations from communities throughout southwestern Alberta have joined together to document serious concerns with current industrial-scale logging practices, and present an alternative vision for the management of Alberta's southwestern forests.
2011-09-08 AWA News Release: Save our Sage-Grouse! Recommendations from Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit
Desperate measures are needed if Canada’s most endangered wildlife species, the greater sage-grouse, is to be saved from extinction in Canada. This is the overwhelming conclusion coming from the Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit, held in Calgary, Alberta September 7-8, 2011.
Late this past week billboards across Calgary and Edmonton began flashing a public service announcement about the plight of greater sage-grouse in Alberta. On the heels of a very successful two-day Emergency Greater Sage-grouse Summit the bill boards are an attempt to answer the void of information and awareness available about how serious things really are.
2011-10-19 AWA News Release: Premier Redford Sticks to Her Campaign Promise, and Cancels Notorious “Potatogate” Land Sale
Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is delighted to congratulate Premier Alison Redford on honouring her campaign commitment to scrap the notorious “Potatogate” public land sale.
Media Briefing 2: Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit - Recommendations to Save Alberta’s “Most Endangered Species”
Media Briefing 1: Emergency Sage‐Grouse Summit - Last Ditch effort to Save Alberta’s “Most Endangered Species”
2011-08-04 AWA News Release: How to Prevent More “Potatogates”: New Report Makes Recommendations on Future Public Land Sales
The “Potatogate” land deal, which generated a huge outpouring of public opposition in Alberta in fall 2010, could easily happen again if substantial changes are not made to the way the provincial government handles sales of our public land.
2011-04-21 Lethbridge Fish and Game Association and AWA: Call for federal policy addressing game farming and Chronic Wasting Disease
The AWA participated in a press conference organized by the Lethbridge Fish and Game Association regarding the current and critical state of the game farming industry in Alberta, and in Canada.
An important clarification about the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) and property rights by University of Calgary law professor Nigel Bankes has confirmed that ALSA does not extinguish property rights.
2011-02-22 AWA News Release: Alberta Ignores Caribou Scientists Again. Caribou Betrayed by Government Inaction
Alberta’s long history of failed recovery of woodland caribou took another downwards lurch this week, when the Alberta government admitted that it would be ignoring the advice of its own scientists to downgrade this charismatic species from threatened to endangered. Despite clear evidence that caribou numbers continue to decline, twenty-four years of inaction look set to continue.
2011-05-17 AWA News Release: Growing Call for Trail Closures on May Long Weekend: Conditions are Too Wet for Motorized Access
The Alberta Government is under increasing pressure to demonstrate that motorized access in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes is being managed sustainably – by closing trails over the May long weekend. Continuing wet and snowy conditions mean that even low levels of activity would lead to unprecedented damage to trail networks. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) supports motorized access organizations who have called for a temporary suspension of motorized trail use. AWA is calling for the Alberta government to suspend all motorized trail use in the Eastern Slopes until conditions have substantially improved.
2011-07-29 ENGO News Release: Federal Court Overturns Minister’s Decision Not to Recommend Emergency Protection for Caribou
The federal Environment Minister’s “out of the blue” decision not to recommend emergency protection for woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta ignored scientific evidence and must be set aside, the Federal Court said late yesterday.
Environmental groups are in Federal Court today to fight for immediate protection of caribou habitat facing unchecked oilsands development in northeastern Alberta. Ecojustice, on behalf of the Pembina Institute and Alberta Wilderness Association, is seeking a court order to force Environment Minister Peter Kent to recommend emergency protection of critical habitat for threatened caribou herds in northeastern Alberta.
The recent failure of the 45-year old Plains All American Rainbow pipeline, which discharged 4.5 million litres (28,000 barrels) of crude oil into boreal wetlands and forest in northwestern Alberta, raises significant concerns about pipeline integrity and operator and regulatory response.
2011-06-07 ENGO News Release: Grizzly Bear Deaths Too High in the Castle Region: Rally Planned to Protest Logging
New Alberta Government data obtained by conservationists show that Grizzly Bears in Alberta’s Castle region are dying at an unsustainable rate. In 2010, 5 grizzly bears out of a population of 51 died in the Castle region and one was trapped and relocated out of it. These six bears represent 11.8 percent of the population lost to the region in a single year.
The Lakeland Country tourism proposal in the recently released draft Lower Athabasca Integrated Regional Plan presents a major opportunity for local citizens to weigh in on the special values of their region. AWA has developed a plan to encourage conversations throughout the Lakeland region about water-based recreation and tourism opportunities and increase citizen participation in the process.
2011-02-07 AWA News Release: Bill 29 ‘Suspended.’ Is Alberta Parks Ministry Finally Listening to Albertans?
Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) congratulates Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation on her apparent decision to withdraw the deeply unpopular Bill 29, the draft Alberta Parks Act.
Breaking its promise to develop oilsands in an environmentally responsible way, the Government of Alberta in its newly released Lower Athabasca Regional Plan has fallen far short of its own and international targets for protecting northeast Alberta’s ecosystems for future generations.
Even though grizzly bears were listed as "threatened" last June, grizzly bear mortality in Alberta reached unsustainable levels in 2010. An estimated 29 grizzlies died in Alberta, approximately 4.2 percent of the population. This level of mortality is much higher than the 2.8 percent mortality rate suggested as “sustainable” in the Alberta government’s own 2010 report, Status of the Alberta Grizzly Bear in Alberta.
The Government of Alberta’s latest announcement that it will transfer 84,000 acres of tax recovery land to local municipalities follows a recent pattern: a failure to consult the Alberta public and a failure to recognize the importance of nationally significant native grasslands.
The future for Alberta’s grizzly bears, designated as threatened in 2010, remains uncertain while the threat of a continued spring hunt hangs over them. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is calling for the hunt suspension to be extended: a five-year moratorium at the very minimum.
2011-08-29 AWA News Release: Updated Northeast Alberta Plan Confirms Weak Conservation Measures Favouring Oilsands Development
The Alberta government's updated Draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan confirms irresponsible tar sands development by postponing all land disturbance limits and biodiversity goals, and by actually reducing already insufficient proposed protected woodland caribou habitat.
2011-12-09 AWA News Release: Time to protect Alberta's Castle and Bighorn on International Mountain Day
On the occasion of International Mountain Day, December 11, Alberta Wilderness Association calls on the Government of Alberta to secure important water sources and grizzly habitat by protecting the Castle and Bighorn areas of Alberta for future generations.
Parks Canada’s newly-announced Southern Mountain Caribou Conservation Strategy, including a captive breeding and reintroduction program, will fail in Alberta without a stronger focus on habitat protection and restoration. Alberta Wilderness Association calls on federal and provincial governments to deal with the root cause of Alberta’s plummeting caribou populations: habitat destruction by human disturbance.
AWA and other environmental organizations release an open letter to Albertans asking them to support the return of some conserved water to rivers for ecological benefits.
2011-10-04 AWA News Release: AWA Welcomes Premier-Designate Redford’s Promise to Protect Alberta’s Endangered Wildlife
Alberta Premier-designate Alison Redford committed during her campaign to suspend the public land sale known as “Potatogate” that would see 16,000 acres of native prairie converted to intensive irrigated agricultural use. She also made other important environmental commitments.
Alberta environmental organizations will be holding a Grizzly Bear News Conference, at 10:00 a.m., Monday September 19 2011. The groups will make a bold new call for major changes in land management in Alberta to restore habitat for the province’s threatened Grizzly Bears. Will any of the province’s aspiring political leaders commit to take action to recover grizzlies?
On August 30, the Alberta government again placed 16,000 acres of Cypress County native grassland up for sale for conversion to intensive irrigation agricultural use. These are all the same lands that were pulled from an impending secretive sale last November after widespread public criticism.
With a long overdue federal recovery strategy for Alberta’s critically threatened woodland caribou anticipated to be only weeks away, the Government of Alberta has quietly signed a new 20 year Forest Management Agreement (FMA) with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac) that closes the door on protecting caribou habitat in northeastern Alberta.