Alberta’s three sub-regional caribou task forces took an important first step toward fulfilling their mandate to support caribou recovery while protecting jobs.
Members of the task forces, which include representatives of municipalities, Indigenous communities, industry, recreational users and environmental non-government organizations, held their first meeting in Edmonton to discuss a uniquely Albertan solution that will support both a working landscape and caribou recovery.
“Task force members represent people who work, play, raise their families, exercise treaty rights and engage in traditional land uses in areas where caribou recovery is a key consideration. I’m happy to advance this important government platform commitment and work toward solutions that are practical, balanced and grounded in socio-economic analysis and respect for our land and biodiversity.”Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
The three task forces have a total of 42 members, plus three local MLAs who will serve as chairs:
- David Hanson, MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul
- Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River
- Martin Long, MLA for West Yellowhead
The province worked with industry and local communities, including First Nations, over the summer to identify people to serve on the task forces.
The purpose of the caribou sub-regional task forces is to:
- Advise government regarding the sub-regional planning process to ensure local input is considered in the development of the draft plans
- Ensure that sub-regional plans, including caribou range plans, are subject to a comprehensive social, environmental and economic impact assessment, and
- Review and consider the Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan (Dec. 2017) in the context of more holistic sub-regional planning.
Alberta is home to 15 caribou herds. Initially, the task forces will focus their efforts on providing recommendations to government regarding sub-regional planning for Cold Lake, Bistcho Lake and Upper Smokey planning areas, which will address recovery outcomes for the Bistcho, Cold Lake, Redrock-Prairie Creek and Narraway caribou ranges.
Recommendations for the Cold Lake sub-regional plan are expected to be drafted by the end March 2020, with Bistcho following in summer of 2020 and Upper Smoky in fall of 2020.
The task forces will provide advice on the development of the remaining sub-regional plans and affected caribou ranges after work on the initial three areas is complete.
The establishment of the sub-regional caribou task forces fulfils a government platform commitment to form a caribou range task force.