The draft plans consider a broad range of interests and land-use activities as part of the government’s commitment to maintain a landscape that balances the needs of the environment with recreation and economic development. The sub-regional plans are specifically designed to support caribou herd recovery.

The draft plans are informed by recommendations from two of the caribou sub-regional task forces created in late 2019. The government now wants to hear what Albertans, Indigenous communities and industry think.  

“I’d like to thank the members of our caribou sub-regional task forces for their hard work and recommendations. Alberta has been leading the way in caribou conservation efforts over the past few years. These plans represent more progress on this important file. With Ottawa’s recent acknowledgement of Alberta’s strong caribou recovery actions, we are confident that our sub-regional planning process will find the right balance between protecting caribou herds while maintaining local industry and jobs.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“I am proud of the work that we did. Bringing together local knowledge and specialists in their field and having these great minds together in the same room with common goals is powerful. These plans affect everyone who cares about the land, wildlife, communities, and the families that call these areas home. I now urge Albertans to take the next 60 days to review and comment on these sub-regional plans that outline land use moving forward.”

Lisa Wardley, chairperson, Northwest Species at Risk Committee

The caribou sub-regional task forces included representatives from municipalities, Indigenous groups, the energy and forestry sectors, trappers, recreational users, environmental non-governmental organizations and other local stakeholders and knowledge holders.

The Cold Lake and Bistcho Lake sub-regional plans are two of 11 sub-regional plans that will be developed over the next five years. These sub-regional plans support a working landscape that considers the economy while also supporting caribou and other species, Indigenous traditional land use and recreational activities.

Public and Indigenous engagement on draft sub-regional plans for the Cold Lake and Bistcho Lake areas will run until May 29.

Quick facts

  • A sub-regional plan supports traditional, social, economic and environmental outcomes within a specific area by identifying when and where land uses can occur.
  • Based on task force recommendations, the three key aspects of each sub-regional plan are:
    • Guidance on where activities, including roads, oil and gas development, timber harvest, geophysical exploration, surface material extraction,and recreation, can be placed and for how long.
    • Restoration of narrow roads used by the oil and gas and forestry sectors in former projects that no longer contribute to economic activities in the region. This restoration will create more intact caribou habitat without affecting current industrial activity.
    • Monitoring environmental and socio-economic indicators to evaluate the plans and make enhancements, if needed, to ensure success.  
  • The Section 11 conservation agreement between Canada and Alberta on woodland caribou under the Species At Risk Act specifies a five-year timeline for Alberta to complete sub-regional plans that support caribou recovery outcomes.
  • Interested Albertans can register for an online information session hosted by government staff to learn more about the draft plan, ask questions and share feedback.
  • Registration is required for online information sessions and space is limited. Registration links are available on the engagement web page.
  • Information sessions will be held on each of the following dates:
    • Cold Lake sub-regional plan
      • April 14
      • May 4
      • May 20
    • Bistcho Lake sub-regional plan
      • April 21
      • May 6
      • May 18