The agreement under Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act with the Government of Canada for the conservation and recovery of woodland caribou in Alberta adds strong protection against the federal government issuing an Environmental Protection Order, which would devastate industries operating in areas near caribou habitat and cost Albertans jobs. The agreement also commits Alberta to the continued work of its caribou task forces to help government build sub-regional plans.
“The Section 11 agreement is good news for Albertans who live and work in areas near caibou habitat. This agreement avoids the disasterous effects that would be brought on by an Environmental Protection Order and underlines the importance of maintaining the province’s lead role in the development of a made-in-Alberta solution that supports caribou recovery. With significant input from the province’s caribou task forces, we will continue to work toward practical, balanced solutions that respect our wild species, our land and the livelihoods of Albertans.”
“This brings Alberta one step closer to a fair and balanced plan to address caribou recovery. In the signing of this Section 11 agreement, it is good to see the importance of a working forest, the socio-economic impacts on communities, and how important a healthy forest is for multi-species habitat all taken into account. As our caribou task forces continue to build their sub-regional planning recommendations, strategies to protect our province’s caribou herds while supporting a working landscape will take shape.”
“Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. is encouraged that the governments of Alberta and Canada have finalized a Section 11 agreement, as it provides a framework to advance caribou conservation solutions in the context of Alberta’s complex cumulative effects landscape. We remain committed to working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, environmental groups, the energy sector, and governments to advance solutions for caribou conservation, while sustainably managing forests within our tenure.”
“The natural gas and oil industry applauds the Alberta government for bringing forward a Section 11 agreement with the federal government to develop caribou management plans. For a number of years energy producers have been collaborating with local communities on this effort and have restored caribou habitat through the reclamation of more than 1,200 kilometres of seismic lines in northeastern Alberta and provided research on caribou ecology and landscape relationships, and wildlife response to restoration efforts. With this agreement, Indigenous communities, local governments and industry can continue to forge a path forward that will help save Alberta’s caribou populations and ensure a strong economic future for all Canadians with sustainable oil and natural gas development.”
Alberta’s three caribou task forces have been developing sub-regional planning recommendations over the past year that include strategies to recover caribou habitat and populations over time. Alberta is home to 15 caribou herds.
In August 2019, Alberta announced plans for three sub-regional caribou task forces including representatives of municipalities, Indigenous communities, industry, recreational users and environmental non-government organizations. Their mandate was to advise government about the sub-regional planning process, taking into account socio-economic factors and the draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan.
Canada-Alberta Section 11 agreement
Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act allows the federal government to enter into a conservation agreement with another government, an organization or a person to benefit a species at risk or enhance its survival in the wild. Such agreements must provide for the taking of conservation measures and any other measures consistent with the purposes of the Species at Risk Act, including: monitoring the status of the species; developing and implementing education and public awareness programs; developing and implementing recovery strategies, action plans and management plans; protecting the species’ habitat; and undertaking research projects in support of recovery efforts for the species.
The draft Section 11 agreement was shared with the public and stakeholders in 2019 and feedback helped inform the final agreement.