News from October 2011

Integrating Wetlands and Watershed Planning Forum

October 24, 2011 | Posted by AB NAWMP

A forum hosted by the Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) Partnership.

Friday, November 25, 2011 (Leduc, Alberta)

Wetlands are a dominant feature of watersheds throughout Prairie Canada, and are increasingly acknowledged for their contribution to environmental, social and economic services. But what are the implications to watershed function and associated services where significant wetland loss or degradation has occurred?

This forum will:

  1. Provide a current, practical look at how wetlands are considered in watershed plans,
  2. Assess tools that relate wetland change to watershed response,
  3. Increase understanding of the role of municipalities in setting and implementing wetland actions in watershed plans, and
  4. Draw on the collective experience and knowledge of all participants to advance integrating wetlands in watershed planning.

The forum will feature experiences by the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) and partners when developing a sub-basin watershed plan for the Vermilion River, Alberta. This innovative work will provide insight and offer a possible prototype for achieving meaningful, local action within larger watershed frameworks.

A technical overview will be provided by Dr. John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan. The format will be interactive, and seeks to engage a broad cross-section of professionals whose work is linked to wetlands, watersheds or water resource management in Alberta and across Prairie Canada.

In 2012, a guidance document, Integrating Wetlands and Watershed Planning, will be prepared from the forum presentations and discussions.

NAWMP Celebrates 25 Years

October 23, 2011 | Posted by AB NAWMP

This spring, as waterfowl and other wetland species undertook their continent-wide journey back to wetlands that were their place of origin, they were unofficially also marking the 25th anniversary of an unprecedented continental conservation initiative: the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP).

It is a fitting coincidence that, upon their arrival, they experienced some of the best wetland conditions ever seen in many parts of the Canadian prairies. Their delight in these conditions was shared by the many people who helped create and have carried NAWMP‘s wetland conservation mission for the last quarter century.

About NAWMP

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan is an international action plan to conserve continental migratory bird populations, a partnership of federal, provincial, state and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, private companies and individuals, and one of the most successful conservation initiatives in the world.

The NAWMP Vision

NAWMP envisions healthy prairie, parkland and boreal landscapes that support sustainable bird populations and provide ecological, economic and social benefits to society.

Over the years, NAWMP has enabled many wetland opportunities, including:

  • Bringing an international scope to the topic of wetlands
  • Raising awareness and profile for wetlands
  • Forging remarkable partnerships
  • Leveraged funding between government, non-government agencies , industry and individuals
  • Collaborative action among partners on:
    • Stewardship (direct protection/restoration/management)
    • Research (generate information/data/tools)
    • Pilot projects
    • Policy and planning support

Major habitat accomplishments (1986–2010) include:

  • National : Approximately 10 million acres secured, 33 million acres influenced, $1.4 billion invested (half CDN, half US)
  • Regional: Canadian Prairie/Parkland: Approximately 8 million acres secured, 2 million acres influenced, $1 billion invested
  • Western Boreal Forest: Approximately 11 million acres secured, 40 million acres influenced, $100 million invested

NAWMP Beginnings

NAWMP came into being on May 14, 1986 as a cooperative, continental partnership (Canada and US) to address plummeting waterfowl populations through innovative habitat programs. This landmark plan had its roots in the prairie pothole region of Canada and the US. In fact, Canada was an important force in leading the charge. The Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV) was created to represent the Canadian Prairie Regional, and later became associated with the Western Boreal Forest. The PHJV continues to be the top priority area in North America.

NAWMP‘s origins were based on important cooperative research relating habitat change and hunting harvest, clearly pointing to degradation or loss of breeding habitat as the primary factor affecting North American bird populations. Early visionaries recognized the importance of a continental approach that recognized the full, annual life cycle needs and priorities for bird populations.

NAWMP is an unprecedented initiative, with the backing of federal, provincial and state governments, and non-government organizations in Canada and the US. Mexico joined in the 1990s. A key, subsequent development was US Federal legislation (North American Wetlands Conservation Act, NAWCA) that enabled 1:1 matching of non-federal US dollars, which was more recently amended to also allow Canadian dollars to also be matched.

NAWMP in Alberta

Preparations for an Alberta provincial plan in support of the regional PHJV Implementation Plan began in 1986. The Alberta NAWMP Plan was completed July 15, 1989. It was originally a 15-year plan to address breeding and migratory waterfowl needs that also benefited or addressed needs of agricultural producers. New planning advancements (e.g. landscape-population models) and updated plans have occurred since based on the Plan’s success.

Alberta accomplishments (1986–2010) include:

  • Approximately 3 million acres secured,
  • 0.2 million acres influenced, and
  • Approximately $400 million invested.

The Future of NAWMP in Alberta is Bright

Economic challenges across North America are countered by NAWMP’s hallmark advantages of:

  • Strong partnerships,
  • Collaborative action,
  • Ability to generate and leverage funding, and
  • A history of major accomplishments.