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The Ronald Lake Bison Herd Cooperative Management Board was created in December 2019 to advise the minister on matters related to the long-term sustainability of the Ronald Lake bison (buffalo) herd, including the sustainability of Indigenous traditional use of and cultural connection with the herd.

The Indigenous peoples of the Lower Athabasca Region have a long-standing cultural relationship with wood buffalo (Bison bison athabascae) in northeast Alberta that predates Settler presence. Wood buffalo have a profound spiritual meaning to Indigenous communities and are considered symbols of the cultural and ecological integrity of the landscape. For contemporary Indigenous peoples, where it is possible, being on the land with free-ranging wood buffalo connects them with their ancestors and a way of life that is millenia old.

The establishment of the Board is the first time the Government of Alberta has committed to a cooperative management approach to advise on the conservation and management of a wildlife population. The Board is a champion and steward of the herd and is comprised of Indigenous peoples and organizations, as well as other stakeholders, to provide sound advice to the responsible minister to achieve the Board’s vision.


The Board’s work is ongoing

Who is listening

Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas


A Ronald Lake buffalo herd that is self-sustaining, free to roam and disease free, and that supports cultural connections, traditional practices, and sustainable use.

The Board will develop and recommend to the minister a management plan for the Ronald Lake buffalo herd.

The Board will observe, monitor, advise, and provide a watchful and responsible evaluation with respect to the implementation of the approved management plan to achieve its vision, mission, and mandate.

The Board will prepare and submit to the minister or designate for approval:

  • a Terms of Reference to guide the Board’s mandate and operations
  • a Ronald Lake buffalo herd management plan
  • an annual or multi-year workplan to guide the operations of the Board
  • a proposed budget to implement the annual work

The Board will prepare and submit to the minister or designate for information:

  • an annual, or more frequent, report on the status of Board activities
  • an annual report on the implementation of the management plan
  • documents for public disclosure as approved by the Board


The Board includes members from the following organizations:

  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
  • Fort McKay First Nation
  • Fort McKay Métis Nation
  • Fort McMurray #468 First Nation
  • Fort Chipewyan Métis Nation
  • Métis Nation of Alberta Association Fort McMurray Local Council 1935
  • Mikisew Cree First Nation
  • Alberta Wilderness Association
  • Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries
  • Teck Resources Limited
  • Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance
  • Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas

The Board also includes advisory members from the following organizations and groups:

  • Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas
  • Ronald Lake Buffalo Herd Cooperative Management Board Indigenous Knowledge Committee
  • Ronald Lake Buffalo Herd Cooperative Management Board Science Committee
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Wood Buffalo National Park

Ministerial Orders

Ministerial Order 19 2019
Ministerial Order 59 2019
Ministerial Order 33 2022


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