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AWA Letter Request: Re-establishing regular meetings with Alberta Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

November 1, 2023

On November 1, AWA wrote to the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, requesting a meeting to discuss AWA priorities. The text of this letter is included below:

 

Dear Minister Schulz,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) on June 26, and responding to our written concerns on greater sage-grouse decline and bison reintroduction in Alberta.

As discussed in the previous meeting, AWA would like to normalize regular meetings with you and your department. Historically, AWA met regularly with the Minister of Environment, representing over 7500 members across Alberta and beyond to address environmental issues that affect all Albertans. We would be interested in scheduling an annual meeting with you to discuss AWA’s conservation priorities and other concerns that are within your ministerial jurisdiction, as well as to provide you with a better understanding of our organization and its history.

Since our last meeting, AWA has been actively working with local and regional groups to address environmental issues. We have helped to improve our understanding of Alberta’s remaining natural areas by hosting biodiversity surveys in the Cardinal Divide and working with the Prairie Conservation Forum and University of Toronto to map connectivity and wildlife movement in the Alberta prairies, sharing our knowledge with students and the public. We have also continued our stewardship of the Beehive Natural area, as well as reported on the state of Alberta’s Bighorn Backcountry and Public Land Sales. Additionally, we have spoken out against short-sighted projects that would cause devastating and irreversible damage to sensitive and endangered ecosystems, supporting local communities in their struggle for recognition and protection of crucial natural features and resources. From the overwhelming support we have received for our work, it is clear that many Albertans care about protecting and conserving our province’s beautiful natural spaces and biodiversity.

We would be grateful if you could schedule a meeting with us in November or December to continue the conversation on AWA’s conservation priorities and provide an update on sage-grouse in Alberta. Included with this letter is a briefing note outlining a list of important topics we would like to discuss with you.

We look forward to hearing from you and working together in the future.

Sincerely,

ALBERTA WILDERNESS ASSOCIATION

Ruiping Luo
Conservation Specialist

Cc: Hilary Cleminson, Policy Advisor.
Christopher Thresher, Chief of Staff.

 

Included in this email was a briefing note outlining AWA priorities, available here.

These priorities included:

  • A need for completed Land-Use Planning with responsible and sustainable development, protecting or recovering wildlife and ecosystems and including diverse consultation.
  • Expanded support for Indigenous-led conservation especially in management and stewardship of lands.
  • A review of Alberta’s wildlife policy and alignment with conservation.
    • Completing responsibilities under the Conservation Agreement of Woodland Caribou.
    • A review of Alberta’s bison policy and reconsideration of classification.
    • Stronger protections for sage-grouse.
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