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Jasper’s Species at Risk Action Plan Lacks Urgency and Detail

August 30, 2017

Parks Canada’s proposed action plan for species-at-risk in Jasper National Park does little to meet the Species at Risk Act requirements for species-at-risk action plans.

Alberta Wilderness Association’s (AWA) critique comes in its comments on the Parks Canada Agency’s Multi-species Action Plan for Jasper National Park of Canada [Proposed]. “The Jasper Proposed Plan lacks any sense of urgency and is no better than the proposal Parks Canada submitted for species at risk in Banff National Park,” says AWA’s Ian Urquhart. “AWA also believes the Parks Canada document may contravene the Species at Risk Act by not providing the details that species-at-risk action plans ‘must include’ according to the law.”

Proposed actions for seven species – woodland caribou, whitebark pine, olive-sided flycatcher, northern myotis, little brown myotis, Haller’s apple moss, and common nighthawk – are outlined in the Jasper plan.

Given the Threatened status of the woodland caribou populations in Jasper National Park and the recent sharp decline in most of these populations it is simply incorrect for Parks Canada to suggest that: “Species at risk, their residences, and their habitat are therefore protected by existing national park regulations and management regimes.” (Proposed Action Plan p. 8)

The proposed action plan also is silent about the dollars and personnel that Parks Canada will assign to addressing the plight of species at risk in Jasper National Park. “Information about concrete commitments in this proposed action plan,” Urquhart added, “is scarcer than the species themselves.”

This Jasper National Park proposal, like those prepared for Alberta’s other mountain parks, reinforces a pattern where senior Parks Canada management ignores ecological integrity’s status as the “first” priority of Parks Canada.

AWA urged Parks Canada to make the following revisions to its action plan:

  • Identify species’ critical habitat as required by section 49 (1)(a) of the Species at Risk Act.
  • Identify portions of species’ critical habitat that have not been protected as required by section 49 (1)(c) of SARA.
  • With respect to sections 49 (1)(b) and (d) correct the vagueness and indeterminacy of the proposed action plan. Provide specific financial and personnel commitments (and project details where applicable) for each of the measures listed in this proposed action plan. Assign definitive target dates for the desired outcomes in the proposed action plan.

For More Information:

Ian Urquhart, Alberta Wilderness Association, 780 937-4692

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