Local perspectives will play a larger role in caribou recovery planning following the establishment of three sub-regional caribou task forces in Alberta.
Regional experts, including representatives of municipalities, Indigenous communities, industry, recreational users and environmental non-government organizations, will provide recommendations to government regarding land-use planning and caribou recovery actions. The three sub-regional planning task forces will focus on the northwest, northeast, and west-central areas of Alberta, where caribou habitats exist.
“In accordance with our commitments made during the election, we are looking to develop a common-sense approach to protecting Alberta’s woodland caribou populations while balancing economic and employment concerns. We will be engaging experts and stakeholders in a variety of areas – Indigenous communities, industry, biologists and hunters and trappers to name a few – to create a made-in-Alberta solution that protects jobs and access while ensuring woodland caribou populations thrive long-term.”Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
“We are pleased the Government of Alberta is making caribou a priority and engaging with key stakeholders and local communities. Regional perspectives should be considered in land-use planning and caribou recovery, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers appreciates the opportunity to participate in the process.”Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
“Creating caribou sub-regional task forces that involve all key stakeholders is fundamental in continuing to move this file forward. As a municipal leader, I believe these task forces will help to ensure the overall sustainability of caribou in Alberta, and ensure that a land use-centred foundation is utilized that considers all users of the land base. Having municipalities at the table provides for a balanced approach to consider the socio-economic impacts of potential plans from a sustainability and viability perspective.”Maryann Chichak, mayor, Whitecourt
The province will work with industry and local communities, including First Nations, over the summer to nominate representatives to participate in the sub-regional task forces. Other stakeholders and affected land users will have opportunities to contribute to working groups or planning committees working under the guidance of the task forces. It is expected that the task forces will begin their work this fall.
All Albertans will have an opportunity to shape sub-regional range plans that result from the recommendations of the task forces through a thorough public engagement process.
The mandate of the task forces includes support for a working landscape that will balance social, environmental and economic interests.
The establishment of the sub-regional planning task forces fulfils a government platform commitment to form a caribou range task force.
The province is also gathering public feedback on the draft agreement with the federal government for caribou recovery under Section 11 of the federal Species At Risk Act. Albertans can provide their feedback at talkaep.alberta.ca until Oct. 6.