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You are here: Home News 2013 2013-05-03 AWA News Release: Alberta Defers New Energy Leasing in Two Caribou Herd Ranges
 

2013-05-03 AWA News Release: Alberta Defers New Energy Leasing in Two Caribou Herd Ranges

For the first time, Alberta is deferring the sale of new mineral rights across the entire range of two of its fifteen caribou herds until Cabinet first adopts range plans describing how critical habitat will be protected to recover those two populations. In a letter yesterday to Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA), Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes stated that effective immediately, new mineral rights sales will be halted across the Little Smoky and A La Peche herd ranges northeast of Jasper National Park until range plans are approved in 2014. AWA welcomes this decision by the Redford government as a good first step in the survival chances of these two caribou herds.

For the first time, Alberta is deferring the sale of new mineral rights across the entire range of two of its fifteen caribou herds until Cabinet first adopts range plans describing how critical habitat will be protected to recover those two populations. In a letter yesterday to Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA), Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes stated that effective immediately, new mineral rights sales will be halted across the Little Smoky and A La Peche herd ranges northeast of Jasper National Park until range plans are approved in 2014. AWA welcomes this decision by the Redford government as a good first step in the survival chances of these two caribou herds.

“We greatly appreciate the Redford government’s leadership in taking a step that previous Alberta governments have not taken, to stop adding new lease pressures to these caribou when they are already far past the levels they can tolerate,” says Carolyn Campbell, conservation specialist at Alberta Wilderness Association. “This is an important first step in maintaining habitat necessary for these two herds’ survival. We look forward to additional positive steps by government and industry as we work towards restoring caribou populations and their ranges in Alberta.”

The federal government’s boreal woodland caribou strategy, finalized in October 2012, mandates that provinces will develop range plans for woodland caribou survival. Caribou range plans will describe how critical habitat will be protected to attain a minimum of 65% undisturbed habitat over time, and provide a range-specific path forward for the recovery of that caribou population.

Industrial disturbance of caribou habitat is recognized as the underlying driver of steep declines in Alberta’s caribou populations. The Little Smoky range currently has less than 5% undisturbed habitat. This rights sale deferral decision affects two of the fifteen Alberta caribou populations on provincial lands.

For more information:
    Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association (403) 283-2025

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