Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alberta plan fails to protect headwater havens for vulnerable wildlife

Date:
November 14, 2013
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Scientists said today that the draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan released recently by the Alberta government falls far short of protecting vulnerable fish and wildlife populations and headwater sources of precious water that are cherished by southern Albertans.

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada) scientists said today that the draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan released recently by the Alberta government falls far short of protecting vulnerable fish and wildlife populations and headwater sources of precious water that are cherished by southern Albertans.

WCS Canada senior scientist Dr. John Weaver compiled and synthesized the latest scientific data collected by Alberta biologists to map key areas for iconic species that are vulnerable to industrial land uses and/or climate change -- bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, grizzly bear, wolverine, mountain goat and bighorn sheep. Expanding resource extraction and practices over the past 50 years have been rough on these native fish and wildlife of the Eastern Slopes of southern Alberta. Once-abundant populations have been diminished in many areas ... habitats have been lost, connectivity has been fractured, and genetic integrity compromised.

Based upon its scientific assessment, WCS Canada identified a 'Headwater Haven' area of 2,570 square kilometres that provides 66 percent of the most important habitats for these species on just 40 percent of the land base. It would protect 47-81 percent of the key areas for the various species.

Many important areas are not protected in the Alberta government's draft Regional Plan, which would establish about 633 square kilometres of new Wildland Parks, or just 25 percent of the Headwater Haven area. In fact, the government's plan would only protect a small portion of each species' vital habitat: bull trout 2 percent, westslope cutthroat trout 9 percent, grizzly bear 17 percent, wolverine 46 percent, mountain goat 41 percent, and bighorn sheep 44 percent.

Upon analysis of the Alberta draft plan, Dr. Weaver concluded that

"In many areas, the new parks proposed by government would only protect a narrow strip of rock 'n ice less than 5 km wide. Moreover, many of the more productive habitats along the upper river valleys and higher basins of the headwater haven were excluded from protection. Although these additional Wildland Parks represent a commendable step in the right direction, clearly they are woefully inadequate to protect the last best places for these vulnerable fish and wildlife."

To protect more of Alberta's wildlife heritage and treasured headwaters, WCS Canada recommends that vital habitats in the following areas should be designated as larger Wildland Provincial Parks or Conservation Areas with stronger conservation standards: valleys of upper Castle and West Castle River, and headwater basins of Carbondale, Oldman, and Highwood River watersheds.

Nestled between Banff and Waterton parks, the Southern Canadian Rockies in Alberta has been overshadowed by these two iconic national parks. Yet this area contains spectacular landscapes, supports one of the most diverse communities of big animals in North America, and is a stronghold for the six vulnerable species that have been vanquished in much of their range further south.

"Protecting these headwater havens with larger and better connected Wildland Provincial Parks or Conservation Areas will help ensure that these remarkable treasures of native fish and wildlife and precious water will be enjoyed by people today and generations yet to follow," said Weaver. "It would be a smart, effective investment toward a more resilient future in a changing world. Today is not too late, but tomorrow may be."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Alberta plan fails to protect headwater havens for vulnerable wildlife." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114193157.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2013, November 14). Alberta plan fails to protect headwater havens for vulnerable wildlife. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114193157.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Alberta plan fails to protect headwater havens for vulnerable wildlife." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114193157.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins