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Wilderness and Wildlife Defenders: Keep Canmore Corridors Clear!

November 28, 2016

Dear Wilderness Defender,

A proposed development plan by Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) in the Bow Valley near Canmore has been a concern for some time because it could affect movement of wildlife in this important corridor. The province needs your input now as discussions are being held and decisions are expected in the coming weeks!

Write to the Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks with your thoughts regarding the proposed use of these wild lands.  This is your chance to let the Province know you value keeping this wildlife corridor intact.

-Andrea Johancsik, Conservation Specialist

Take Action

Write to Hon. Shannon Phillips, Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), AEP.Minister@gov.ab.ca, and copy to Cam Westhead, MLA for Banff Cochrane, banff.cochrane@assembly.ab.ca, with your comments.

Please send a copy to Andrea Johancsik at ajohancsik@abwild.ca.

Thank you for helping Alberta’s wildlife!

20120000_bv_corridor_fracture

The Bow Corridor Ecosystem Advisory Group (BCEAG) Report 2012 shows here the disconnect between the Three Sisters and Wind Valley wildlife corridors.

The Issue

An Area Structure Plan for the proposed Smith Creek Development could impact an important provincially designated wildlife corridor.  The Bow Valley is a crucial, yet vulnerable, segment of an internationally significant wildlife corridor, and is how animals move from Kananaskis Country to Banff National Park. Without an effective corridor for wildlife movement, there is a significant risk of isolating  wildlife populations, preventing natural gene flow and negatively impacting their stability.

AWA recommends that the Province:

1. Use scientific studies to determine appropriate corridor specifications for the Three Sisters Wildlife Corridor:

Wildlife needs enough room to move, with minimal human disturbance. A functional, multi-species corridor width and slope consistent with 2012 BCEAG and recent scientific data for the Smith Creek segment of the Three Sisters Along Valley Corridor should be at least 450m wide below a slope of 25 degrees.  Wildlife will use this corridor to connect from West Wind Pass and Wind Valley to the Bow Valley, Spray Valley and Banff National Park. A wildlife corridor of this size or wider is believed to provide ample cover and grazing for wildlife moving through. Wildlife corridors with ‘soft edges’ (not ‘hard edge’ fencing) add a buffer which can give wildlife the room they need.

Additionally, abundant and well-designed highway crossings are essential for cross-valley connectivity.

2. Consider cumulative effects in an already highly developed valley:

The impact of the Smith Creek development may extend beyond its own footprint as there has already been significant development in the valley: the Trans-Canada highway, the railroad, and growing human settlements. Future proposed developments include Dead Man’s Flats and a Resort Centre to develop in the ‘unfinished golf course’. AWA and environmental colleagues have worked for decades to ensure a viable wildlife corridor.

3. Fulfill the intent of the SSRP, to maintain connectivity through the Bow Valley:

The SSRP states connectivity through major wildlife corridors like the Bow Valley is key to maintaining biodiversity. SSRP states that the BCEAG report, the Wildlife Corridor and Habitat Patch Guidelines for the Bow Valley – 2012 will contribute to the regional plan for maintaining wildlife connectivity, which recommended protecting a corridor of 100m of width for every 1km of length.

The province can be a leader in connectivity by providing clear development guidelines to ensure this important wildlife corridor is not compromised.

20090829_canmore_from_air1_ndouglas

Aerial view of Canmore in the Bow Valley showing a high level of existing development. N. Douglas, 2009.

 

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