News

Wetlands included in the Province’s flood mitigation plan

May 2, 2014 | Posted by AB NAWMP

At the province’s watershed management symposium in Calgary, Environment Minister Robin Campbell said Alberta will spend $625 million in the next three years on flood mitigation, … including $21 million for “natural non-structural solutions” such as maintaining wetlands and healthy riparian areas.

“These kinds of projects are important because a healthy watershed is our first and often our best line of defence against both flood and drought,” Campbell said Tuesday. “The effectiveness of local mitigation projects is impacted by conditions upstream.

“It is important that we have a healthy situation in our headwaters because it adds to the effectiveness of mitigation strategies close to home rather than headwater conditions that are working against us and increasing the risk.”

Read the whole story in the Calgary Herald

Spring Wetland Forum focuses on collaboration

April 28, 2014 | Posted by AB NAWMP

In March 2014, 57 wetland professionals participated in a forum to discuss “Collaborating on Wetland Stewardship”.

Participants heard presentations on how collaboration could enhance protection and conservation, management, extension and education, and research – four key aspects of wetland stewardship. Speakers also shared further thoughts in a panel discussion and responded to questions from the audience.

Some of the day’s presentations are available for download here:

The remainder of the day was spent in three World Cafe sessions in which participants brainstormed and recorded ideas on how they could enhance collaboration in the areas of wetland protection, management, and extension.

Key points and observations gathered from the World Cafe discussions included:

  • Education is key.
  • Good intergovernmental and inter-jurisdictional relationships are essential.
  • An integrated perspective in wetland conservation and management is needed.
  • Build on the good collaborative work already being done.
  • Identify and implement appropriate new tools and approaches
  • Local support and collaboration are foundations for successful wetland stewardship.

For more information, download the Spring Wetland Forum Summary Report.

Fall Forum helps advance new Alberta Wetland Policy

December 16, 2013 | Posted by AB NAWMP

On November 13, 2013, 87 wetland professionals gathered together to discuss advancing Alberta’s new Wetland Policy.

Participants heard a detailed presentation on the new policy and plans for its implementation. The goal of the new policy is to conserve, restore, protect, and manage Alberta’s wetlands to sustain the benefits they provide to the environment, society, and the economy.

Download the Wetland Policy overview presentation >>

Through an appreciative inquiry approach participants were encourage to think about how the policy could be successfully implemented. Participants focused on previous successes of other policies and considered how those might be adapted and applied to successful implementation of the new Wetland Policy.

Learn more about the appreciative inquiry approach used during the Forum.

Read more about what took place at the Alberta NAWMP Fall Forum in the Summary Report >>

Join us at the Fall NAWMP Forum

October 24, 2013 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The Alberta NAWMP Partnership invites you to join us on November 13, 2013, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Executive Royal Inn, Leduc for this year’s Fall NAWMP Forum – Advancing Alberta’s New Wetland Policy.

The format will focus on interactive conversations following an overview presentation with intention to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the new Alberta Wetland Policy,
  • Tap the collective knowledge and successful implementation experiences of attendees,
  • Capture suggestions for a collaborative path forward.

Lunch will be provided. RSVP is required. Please note: Demand is expected to be high for this event and spots will be granted on a first come basis.

View the Fall Forum Invitation. Contact Michael Barr at m_barr@ducks.ca by November 6 to reserve your spot at this event.

New Alberta Policy Protects Wetlands

October 1, 2013 | Posted by AB NAWMP

In mid-September this year, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development released the long-awaited, new Alberta Wetland Policy.

The Alberta Wetland Policy provides the strategic direction and tools required to make informed management decisions in the long-term interest of Albertans. The policy is intended to minimize the loss and degradation of wetlands, while allowing for continued growth and economic development in the province.

The goal of the Alberta Wetland Policy is to conserve, restore, protect, and manage Alberta’s wetlands to sustain the benefits they provide to the environment, society, and economy. To achieve this, the policy will focus on the following outcomes:

  1. Wetlands of the highest value are protected for the long-term benefit of all Albertans.
  2. Wetlands and their benefits are conserved and restored in areas where losses have been high.
  3. Wetlands are managed by avoiding, minimizing, and if necessary, replacing lost wetland value.
  4. Wetland management considers regional context.

NAWMP recognizes Alberta’s new wetland policy is a major milestone in conserving Alberta’s wetlands, and Alberta’s leadership in this area is acknowledged by the entire North American wetland conservation community.

Alberta NAWMP is committed to assisting Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development in successful implementation of this new policy.

Review the new Alberta Wetland Policy

iclickers inform Spring 2013 Wetland Forum

March 26, 2013 | Posted by AB NAWMP

On March 5, 2013, 80 wetland professionals participated in a forum to discuss Wetland Restoration in Alberta: Current Status and Future Potential. Wetland restoration was clearly defined at the onset as ‘drained or altered naturally occurring wetlands.’

We recognized, but set aside for the day, a possible range of constructed/partially constructed wetlands and their associated terminology (e.g. rehabilitate, reclaim, replace, renovate, remediate, etc.).

Three speakers prepared participants for discussion by framing the topic:

  • Why wetland restoration (Academia)?
  • Current policy guidance on wetland restoration(Government of Alberta)
  • Successes and challenges in implementing wetland restoration (Ducks Unlimited Canada)

Download the presentations from:

Five panelists then convened and related their respective sector’s past, present and future connection to wetland restoration, including Urban (Calgary and Edmonton) and Rural Municipalities (AAMDC), Academia (University of Alberta/Fiera Biological Consulting), and Watershed Planning and Advisory Groups (North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance). A short Q & A session followed.

To further expose participants to the scope, variety, and distribution of Alberta’s remaining wetlands and past losses, a virtual provincial tour (Google Earth™) was conducted.

Following this activity, groups of five participants shared experiences and discussed ideas for 25 minutes around the question: How can capacity for wetland restoration be increased in Alberta? Groups recorded their ideas, suggestions, or solutions on comment sheets at each table and selected one or two key points they would like the panel to discuss.

All participants then voted electronically on the top 5 ideas, suggestions, or solutions using i>clickers™. Check out the Spring_2013_Wetland_Restoration_Forum_iClicker_Results.pdf

The final activity of the day was to reassemble the panel (same panelists plus morning speakers), then seek voluntary responses from panelists on each of the top 5 ideas, suggestions, or solutions followed by a short Q & A session.

A full summary of the forum proceedings is now available. Download it here Alberta_NAWMP_Wetland_Forum_Summary_March_2013.pdf

Join us at the Spring 2013 Wetland Forum

February 6, 2013 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Wetland Restoration in Alberta – Current Status and Future Potential

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
9:30 AM -3:00 PM
Executive Royal Inn
Leduc, Alberta

In our continuing dialogue on wetlands, the Alberta NAWMP Partnership is hosting a spring 2013 Wetland Forum on the popular topic of wetland restoration. The format will blend conventional presentations, virtual tour, and interactive conversations to enable discussion and networking among all participants. Presentations will offer perspectives from producers, municipal and provincial governments, conservation organizations, developers, and academics.

We will seek to raise awareness and knowledge on:

  • Why wetland restoration is critical to conservation and water management
  • Current policy guidance in support of wetland restoration
  • Successes and challenges in implementing wetland restoration

We will also seek your ideas on how to build additional capacity for wetland restoration in Alberta.

Who is invited to this Wetland Forum?

  • Government of Alberta (AESRD, AARD) and Government of Canada (AAFC, EC) involved with land and water resource policy, planning and operations (e.g. approvals, enforcement)
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada involved with implementation
  • Municipal Governments
  • University of Alberta
  • Other interested agencies or individuals

To RSVP, please contact:

Michael Barr
Alberta NAWMP Coordinator
m_barr@ducks.ca

Participation is limited to 75 on a first-come, first served basis.

Fall 2012 Wetland Forum Generates Ideas and Actions

December 19, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

On November 6, 2012, 68 wetland professionals participated in a forum to discuss the topic Understanding Wetland Benefits: Assessment and Valuation.

Eight speakers described why assessment and valuation of wetland benefits is important, and presented perspectives on biophysical, economic and social components of the assessment and valuation process.

Participants then explored these concepts in three separate small group sessions, considering a different question in each session. A short report summarizes the ideas and actions generated throughout the day, for participants and others to use in their respective fields of work on wetlands in Alberta.

Click on the link to download the Understanding Wetland Benefits: Assessment and Valuation Summary Report

Alberta NAWMP hosts fall Wetland Forum

October 12, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Understanding Wetland Benefits: Assessment and Valuation in Alberta

Please mark Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 9:30 AM-3:00 PM, in your calendars!

In its continuing series of Wetland Forums, the Alberta NAWMP Partnership is hosting an innovative World Café-style workshop to allow networking and discussion among partner agency staff and subject leaders on wetland benefits: assessment and valuation in Alberta.

We will draw on our collective wisdom, with help from subject leaders, to:

  • understand the current range of work on wetland assessment and valuation (biophysical, economic, social), who is leading it, and what is the state of knowledge,
  • identify information challenges and opportunities in wetland assessment and valuation,
  • explore how we can integrate wetland assessment and valuation components to support policy, planning and decision-making.

Who is invited to this Wetland Forum?

Alberta NAWMP partner agency staff from:

  • Government of Alberta (AESRD, AARD) and Government of Canada (AAFC, EC-CWS) involved with land and water resource policy, planning and operations (e.g. approvals, enforcement)
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada involved with implementation
  • Plus selected subject leaders from academic and research institutions

To RSVP, please contact:

Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator m_barr@ducks.ca

Please note participation is limited to 75 on a first-come, first served basis.

Revised North American Waterfowl Management Plan presents bold vision for the future

September 26, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Over its first 25 years, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) has become a model for international wildlife conservation.

Building on that remarkable legacy of coordinated public/private strategies for managing waterfowl, Canada, the United States and Mexico have embarked on an ambitious journey to achieve a new conservation vision. The revised “2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan – People Conserving Waterfowl and Wetlands” presents a bold, renewed vision for the future.

The Plan remains committed to conserving continental waterfowl populations and habitat. But this renewed Plan focuses on addressing those new challenges that create competition for land, water and funding, on expanding an engaged community of users and supporters, and responding to the changing needs of evolving societies while respecting and recommitting to the rich traditions that have existed since before the founding of these nations.

Download the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan to learn more.

North America's 2012 spring duck population at record high levels

July 26, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently released their 2012 report on trends in duck breeding populations.

This report is the result of an annual, coordinated operation by U.S. and Canadian wildlife biologists who assess over two million square miles of this continent’s waterfowl habitat – the North American waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey. The report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and wetlands in 2012, with comparisons to the previous year and long-term average survey data.

This year’s survey results estimate waterfowl production in North America to be at a record high – 48.6 million. That’s 7% above 2011 and 43% above the long-term continental average.

From an Alberta perspective, Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator, is pleased with what he sees in the report. “Alberta showed the greatest relative increase over 2011 across North America,” explains Barr. “At an estimated 4.85 million birds, southern areas of the province (prairie and aspen parkland) were 11% over 2011 numbers and 14% above the long term average.”

Central and northern areas of Alberta (shared with north east BC and NWT) hosted an estimated 8.8 million birds, which is 24% over 2011 numbers and 24% above the long term average. Mallard populations were especially responsive at 34% and 59% for the same, respective areas over 2011.

Barr adds, “These remarkable bird numbers remind us of the significance of Alberta’s wetlands in the continental picture.”

Click on the link below to access a copy of the 2012 survey.

Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 1955–2012 (PDF 2.3 MB)

Study Examines Conservation Easements and Effect on Land Values

May 24, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Conservation easements have long been used by conservation agencies as a tool to protect wetlands and their associated upland habitat, and to mitigate their loss.

In a recent study, Chad Lawley and Charles Towe of the Department of Agribusiness and Agriculture Economics at the University of Manitoba, examined the impact of permanent habitat conservation easements on agricultural land values in the prairie pothole region of southwestern Manitoba.

The results of their research have recently been published in a project report titled “Implicit Prices of Habitat Conservation Easements.”

Click on the link below to download a copy of the report and learn more.

Implicit Prices of Habitat Conservation Easements (PDF 389 KB)

Alberta NAWMP Implementation Plan Guides Collaboration

April 5, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The 2007–2012 Alberta NAWMP Implementation Plan provides renewed guidance for provincial
partners in collaborative conservation planning, program implementation and policy initiatives in support of the goals and objectives of the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV).

This five year plan provides the Alberta NAWMP partners with a road map for direct, extension and policy habitat program actions for both restoration and retention of wetlands and uplands in prairie and parkland Alberta.

Check out the Alberta NAWMP Implementation Plan 2007-2012

Ducks Unlimited Canada Named Conservation Champion

March 24, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

On March 21, 2012 Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) was honoured with the North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award.

The award was presented as part of the 25th anniversary of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) and the Migratory Bird Joint Ventures program.

The award recognizes DUC for their leadership in the NAWMP and the contributions they have made to the Joint Ventures program. Jamie Fortune and Henry Murkin of DUC attended a reception in Washington, D.C. where they accepted the award.

Read more >>

2010-2011 Progress Review Now Available

January 15, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The Alberta NAWMP Partnership has produced Progress Reviews since 2000. Containing everything from project descriptions and committee updates to an assessment of contributions and habitat expenditures, Progress Reviews provide a complete picture of the breadth and scope the accomplishments of the Partnership in a given year.

The most recent Progress Review is now available and provides highlights of the projects, work and accomplishments of the Alberta NAWMP partners through 2010–2011.

Click here to download a copy of the current and past Progress Reviews.

Alberta Hosts NAWMP 25th Anniversary Event

December 20, 2011 | Posted by AB NAWMP

After 25 years – still going strong!

On October 13, 2011, many board and committee members (past and present) and their invited guests attended the Alberta NAWMP 25th Anniversary lunch and celebration.

Past Alberta NAWMP Coordinator Morley Barrett spoke on the origin of Alberta NAWMP and noted how its organizational structure is unique: the founders decided not to set up an independent body; rather, they promoted a model where all partners contributed representatives in support of the partnership. This idea set the tone for an enduring and productive quarter century of mutual cooperation.

Mr. Barrett pointed out that the partnership is made up of “lots of work from lots of people” and acknowledged “turf wars, growing pains, and lots of give and take.” But despite challenges, Alberta NAWMP succeeded, and soon membership and involvement in NAWMP was considered prestigious! Mr. Barrett noted “Today, with the biggest biodiversity program in the prairies, political support and very solid wildlife programs that include and account for agriculture, NAWMP is one of the most successful (conservation) organizations ever.”

Ron Bjorge, Alberta’s Director of Wildlife and current Chair of the Alberta NAWMP Board of Directors, thanked Mr. Barrett and the rest of the founding board for their “very solid thinking” in the beginning. He commended their vision of “funding, a plan and boots on the ground. Today, we continue to focus on conservation of wetlands and associated habitats, good governance of the partnership, the promotion of beneficial policy all on a foundation of science. We have much to be proud of: this is personally some of the most rewarding work I’ve been involved with – we know what we have to do, and we know how to do it.”

David Ingstrup, Regional Director for Environment Canada and PHJV chair, spoke to the national perspective of NAWMP. “Alberta NAWMP‘s success is a factor in the success of a continental partnership, an impact registering in Alberta, across Canada and beyond.” The ongoing success of Alberta NAWMP‘s partnership is stronger than ever, evidenced by the people in this room who dedicate countless hours and contribute their talents taking us in new and interesting directions.”

Jamie Fortune, Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Executive Director, also offered his congratulations for the real effect by partners on the Alberta landscape. “While we face many challenges and competing priorities, Alberta NAWMP will fare well because of the on the ground results everywhere you go in Alberta.”

Alberta NAWMP is truly a model of enduring success: bring on the future. We are ready!

Congratulations Alberta NAWMP!

New Boreal Wetlands Factsheets Available from Ducks Unlimited Canada

November 5, 2011 | Posted by AB NAWMP

What makes the boreal forest so important?

The answer is simple: water.

Wetland types here range from less productive bogs and fens—called peat lands—to highly productive marshes, swamps, and open-water basins. In total, Canada’s western boreal forest has more than 100 million acres of surface water, with an additional 150 million acres of peat lands.

Developed by Ducks Unlimited Canada, these new fact sheets describe the general characteristics (soil, hydrology and vegetation) and ecological benefits of the five major boreal wetland types – bog, fen, marsh, swamp and open water.

Click here to download the fact sheets and learn more about these important boreal wetland types today.

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.

Flooding and Wetlands: What's the Connection?

July 15, 2011 | Posted by AB NAWMP

With climate patterns that we haven’t seen since settlement began and increased flooding rivers in Saskatchewan and Alberta, Dr. John Pomeroy explains that our traditional reliance on water control structures like dams may not be enough.

Now is the time to rethink the role of wetlands as the original, natural form of storing water in watersheds and landscapes and reducing the effects of downstream flooding.

Having drained many wetlands over the past century, we have reduced natural storage and other benefits those wetlands provide, and at the same time, added strain to our water control structures and other flood management systems.

Visit GlobalSask for a brief news clip featuring Dr. Pomeroy.

Environment Canada's Habitat Monitoring Program Supports Waterfowl Conservation

December 14, 2010 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Each year, Mike Watmough, a Wildlife Biologist with the Environment Canada’s (EC) Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) in the Prairie and Northern Region, conducts field work monitoring waterfowl habitats on the Canadian Prairies.

Working closely with wildlife biologists from the provinces and non-governmental organizations, Mike monitors waterfowl habitats for the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture, a partnership between public and private agencies who deliver the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). The Plan’s goal is to conserve migratory birds throughout the continent and return waterfowl populations to their 1970s levels by conserving wetland and upland habitat.

“We map habitats and look at certain elements like native grassland conversion or wetland drainage. The objective is to keep track of what types of land use are changing and what pressures are on the habitats so correct conservation efforts can be applied,” says Mike.

Monitoring projects look at both natural and human-made habitat changes, the latter having the biggest impacts on waterfowl populations. In the last few years, the equipment used in the field to monitor waterfowl habitats has gone high-tech.

“I’m using a high-precision Global Positioning System, satellite imagery and digital aerial photography,” explains Mike.

As part of his position, Mike is required to meet with numerous landowners throughout the year to seek permission to access their property during field work.

Mike also assists with the annual waterfowl breeding population survey – a long-standing joint program between the CWS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that tracks population trends of many waterfowl species.

Mike enjoys working closely with other organizations and admits that a team environment gives him good exposure to the different types of conservation efforts being applied across the region.

“My work is very rewarding. The data I collect is helping to implement conservation that is making a difference,” says Mike.

To learn more about how EC’s habitat monitoring program is helping to conserve waterfowl populations visit the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture website (available in English only).

Article reproduced with permission © Martin Schmoll

(Mike Watmough, a Wildlife Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in the Prairie and Northern Region, conducts field work monitoring waterfowl habitats on the Canadian Prairies.)

Wetland Forum Planned for Alberta NAWMP Partners

December 14, 2010 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Wetland Forum: Connecting and Leveraging Our Diverse Actions

A facilitated workshop for collaborative action by Alberta NAWMP partners

Considered one of the most successful conservation initiatives in the world, Alberta NAWMP has a 24-year history of successful collaboration between governments and conservation organizations working towards wetland conservation and restoration in Alberta. We have made a difference over time and we want to celebrate and share those successes.

Join us on February 1 – 3, 2011 at one of two Alberta NAWMP Wetland Forums (one each in Calgary and Leduc – locations TBD) where we will bring together field staff from Alberta NAWMP partner agencies and highlight their work to conserve and protect Alberta’s wetlands.

Through engaging presentations, interactive sessions and networking activities we will examine the values of and perceptions around wetlands and wetland conservation, learn more about our diverse actions and how we might refresh agency roles and activities, rediscover the value of partnerships and learn to better leverage our efforts by identifying collaborative needs and opportunities.

By bringing everyone together, we will aim to increase overall awareness of collective wetland conservation efforts, with the hopes that this lead will lead to improved inter-agency collaborations, enhanced actions and renewed use of NAWMP resources.

Remember, you are a part of Alberta NAWMP and your work matters. We look forward to seeing you at one of our forums. For more information please email Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator at m_barr@ducks.ca.

Backgrounder
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is an international action plan to conserve migratory birds throughout the continent. It is a partnership of federal, provincial/state and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, private companies and many individuals; all working toward better wetland habitat. The Plan brings international scope, adds profile to wetland issues, builds partnerships, leads to collaborative actions, and enables access to significant resources (e.g. knowledge, data, tools, networks, funding) to plan, implement and evaluate wetland conservation efforts.

President Obama signs on for Canada’s wetland conservation efforts

March 31, 2010 | Posted by AB NAWMP

While the world watches his plans for health care take shape, U.S. President Barack Obama has also made a significant contribution to the health of continental wetlands conservation. On March 25, 2010, President Obama signed into law a bill to allow for funds raised in Canada to become eligible match for North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) projects funded for Canada.

“This is the final step in the legislation process and great news for wetland conservation efforts in Canada,” says Jeff Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, DUC. “This legislation will allow up to 50 per cent of the non-federal match for wetland conservation projects in Canada to be funded by Canadian conservation supporters.”

The increased support and engagement of Canadian partners will prove invaluable toward assembling the funding necessary to conserve many more of Canada’s wetlands.

Learn more >>

Wetland Carbon Protocol Workshop Planned

March 17, 2010 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Several years ago, Alberta NAWMP initiated the development of a wetlands protocol within the Alberta Offset System Protocol system. The intent was to create wetland protection and restoration opportunities within an emerging and regulated carbon offset market. A protocol is required to verify and formalize carbon sequestration benefits of these wetland actions and facilitate market transactions. Climate Change Central was contracted to undertake this process. In 2009, the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture (PHJV) and Ducks Unlimited Canada also became funding partners.

The protocol development process includes three phases:

  1. Scoping,
  2. Science discussion documents, and
  3. An expert workshop.

Summary findings are then translated into a draft protocol and subjected to review by experts, stakeholders and the public prior to being approved by government. The first two phases have been completed and the third is currently underway.

The scoping phase was completed with two significant findings:

  1. There is sufficient knowledge to develop a protocol to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and removals associated with conservation and restoration of wetlands in prairie Canada, and
  2. There are quantification methodology challenges that require additional attention.

The second phase addressed implementation issues and expanded previously identified quantification challenges.

The third phase will center on two science workshops scheduled for March 17 & 18 in Edmonton. The science supporting the protocol to date comes from a variety of sources: guidance documents, literature reviews of published science, and technical experts. This information will form the basis of discussion leading to consensus on key protocol factors. In a process successfully used for other protocols in Alberta, experts will be assembled and engaged. They will help address questions posed in the summary findings and provide advice and agreement on standardized protocols, methods, and best available. The workshop will produce a report (Technical Seed Document, or TSD) that will form the basis of the protocol.

For more information, please email contact Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator, at m_barr@ducks.ca.

Wetland Restoration Needs and Opportunities in Prairie Canada

February 24, 2010 | Posted by AB NAWMP

NAWMP partners have proposed ambitious wetland restoration targets as part of the 25-year Strategic Plan for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Challenges in realizing these targets are various and real, and yet essential to achieve North American Waterfowl Management Plan goals. This past November, 22 invited NAWMP participants working on wetland restoration in prairie Canada met in Winnipeg with the purpose of examining this challenge and recommending future options.

A common concern for all wetland conservation programming is the need for a supportive provincial wetland policy. Following six background presentations, a facilitator led a round table discussion in which each participant offered two ideas to advance programming and funding for wetland restoration. A total of 32 ideas were identified and then ranked in importance.

Results showed 80% of all points were assigned to 13 ideas. The top ranked eight ideas represented 66% of all points assigned. Top priority is the development of an over-riding strategy for wetland conservation at the federal, provincial and municipal level. It would include a business case and a strategic approach to removal of barriers for both wetland restoration and retention.

Supporting priorities include:

  1. A significantly increased marketing/communications campaign;
  2. Completion of the Canadian wetland inventory and the establishment of a Canadian wetland monitoring program;
  3. Implementation of a program with a user pay wetland mitigation license such that revenues fund restoration;
  4. Removal of incentives for drainage by modifying rural municipal property taxes;
  5. Increasing national leadership on wetland issues by supporting the creation of a wetlands secretariat independent of government;
  6. Assessing the economics of both wetland drainage and restoration; and
  7. Undertaking a strong research and monitoring program on the ecological goods & services for prairie wetlands.

For more information, email Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator, at m_barr@ducks.ca.

Alberta NAWMP Science Fund Evolves

December 18, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Just as organisms and ecological communities adapt to environmental change, the Alberta NAWMP Science Fund itself is responding to a new environment. “The Alberta NAWMP Science Fund has supported a wide variety of wetland-related research in Alberta for about 20 years,” says Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator. “Most research was graduate studies, with an emphasis on birds and other wetland-dependent species. More recently, the Fund’s scope expanded to assist policy and program initiatives that were of mutual benefit to the Partners and NAWMP.”

Adapting to change

Several factors coincided to bring stimulus for change. First, new sources of funding from other agencies emerged that targeted some of the same information priorities which Alberta NAWMP had identified. “Where potential overlap was identified, we adjusted and coordinated our support with those other agencies,” offers Barr.

Second, reduced budget expectations for the coming year compelled a more strategic approach to allocating this fund, or as Plato stated: Necessity, it brings the mother of invention. Third, there was a longstanding interest in moving to a more directed approach to research support. “This convergence of factors suggested now was the time to make a move,” adds Barr.

Moving forward

Looking to 2010–11 and beyond, the Science Fund through its respective committee will continue to support a variety of wetland-related research. The change will result in fewer, but more specific studies that directly advance the goals and objectives of NAWMP and the policy initiatives of partner agencies. “Science that is aligned with current data and decision-making needs translates into informed planning and policy outcomes for wetlands”, says Barr.

Water for Life action plan released

November 20, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Action plan guides Alberta’s water management

Edmonton…Healthy aquatic ecosystems, conservation and education are priorities in the renewed Water for Life action plan. The strategy and action plan together set the direction for water management in Alberta over the next 10 years.

“Economic and population growth in Alberta over the past several years has put increased pressure on Alberta’s water supplies,” said Rob Renner, Minister of Environment. “The strategy and action plan respond to growing demand and provides the roadmap to manage and protect Alberta’s water.”

The plan lays out the actions Alberta intends to deliver over the next decade. It includes activities Alberta committed to deliver as part of its original Water for Life strategy and incorporates new actions to address the province’s emerging water challenges and current realities. The action plan also supports regional environmental objectives and Alberta’s cumulative effects management approach.

“Thanks to the success of Water for Life to date, I think all Albertans understand the need and urgency to better manage our water supplies for our communities, environment and prosperity,” said Gord Edwards, executive director of the Alberta Water Council. “This action plan signals a new era for Water for Life that we are both delighted to see and excited to embrace as we continue to work with the Government of Alberta and the entire water community to sustain our water resources long into the future.”

The Alberta Water Council’s 2006–08 implementation review acknowledged that Water for Life implementation is making good progress. The Council identified the need to: integrate and coordinate the management of land, water, air, biodiversity and the cumulative impacts of development; ensure partners have the funds and people needed to complete their work; and encourage Water for Life leaders and champions. They also made recommendations to increase focus on education and protect Alberta’s rivers, lakes and aquifers from overuse and contamination.

“The dedication and good work done by the Alberta Water Council continues to ensure Water for Life remains relevant and effective,” said Renner.

The Water for Life strategy is the blueprint for water management in Alberta, ensuring the province’s water quality and quantity supports our people, economy, and environment. Water for Life was originally released in 2003 and renewed in 2008 to meet the changing realities of our growing province. Implementation of Water for Life involves the efforts of many partners including non-government organizations, industry, provincial and other governments. The detailed action plan supports the successful implementation of the strategy’s goals and directions.

For a copy of the renewed strategy and action plan, visit www.waterforlife.alberta.ca.

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Click here for Backgrounder: Highlights of the Water for Life action plan

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Cara Van Marck
Communications, Alberta Environment
780–427-6267

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310–0000.

New faces join AB NAWMP committees

October 11, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The Partnership is pleased to welcome several new members to the Alberta NAWMP community.

The Policy Sub-committee is joined by Jason Cathcart (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development), Tracy Scott (Ducks Unlimited Canada), and Kim Schmitt (Ducks Unlimited Canada).

The Communications Sub-committee welcomes Marci Dube of Ducks Unlimited Canada.

We would also like to acknowledge those people taking on the role of Chair of the following committees:

  • Science Sub-committee Chair: Nic DeGama Blanchet, the Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Policy Sub-committee Chair: Gerry Haekel, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
  • Communications Sub-committee Chair: Krista Tremblett, Alberta Environment

Click here to learn more about the Alberta NAWMP Board and Committeess.

Partners celebrate Alberta's largest conservation easement donation

October 4, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Special dedication honours Calgary philanthropist

Doc Seaman memorialized in one of Alberta’s largest donated conservation easements.

Calgary, Alberta – September 4, 2009 – Just 10 kilometres from the small, south-eastern Alberta town of Dorothy, conservation history was made today. Family and friends of respected businessman, the late Daryl ‘Doc’ Seaman, along with elected officials and invited guests from partnering organizations, gathered at OH Ranch Dorothy to take part in a special dedication honouring Mr. Seaman’s commitment and contribution to preserving a significant part of the natural prairie landscape in southern Alberta. Today’s dedication, which also includes the property at OH Ranch Bassano, marks one of Alberta’s largest donated conservation easement and marks $500 million in land donations for Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts program.

“Mr. Seaman’s quiet commitment and passion for supporting various causes is legendary,” said Jack H. Hole, President, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). “He was also a long-time supporter of Ducks. We are honoured that his generosity continues through these donated conservation easements, and pleased to be able to recognize his contributions in this way.”

Hole and Doc’s son Bob Seaman were on hand to unveil a special bronze plaque mounted on a cairn at the OH Ranch Dorothy property. Also present was Ted Menzies, MP for Macleod, who spoke on behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minster of Environment Canada. A similar plaque and cairn have also been placed at OH Ranch Bassano to commemorate this donation and Doc’s love of the land.

Through the vision and generosity of Mr. Seaman and his family, DUC has entered into an agreement to place and hold donated conservation easements that will help protect and conserve the integrity of the natural landscapes on two of the four properties (Dorothy and Bassano) that make up the OH Ranch operation. More than 11,250 acres (45.5 square kilometres) will be protected under these agreements, making this one of the single largest donated conservation easements in DUC history.

Encompassing more than 1,800 acres of native habitat in southern Alberta, OH Ranch Dorothy is a natural jewel on the landscape. The property contains a diversity of wetlands and native upland habitat that supports a variety of wildlife species. Securing this valuable habitat under a conservation easement protects valuable wetlands and important wildlife habitat, continuing the legacy of the Ranch and of Doc Seaman, who was passionate about caring for the soil, the water and the wildlife on his land. OH Ranch Dorothy and Bassano will continue to operate sustainably as a cattle ranch.

“OH Ranch has worked with Ducks for many years, so it was a natural fit for us to further partner with them to ensure these conservation easements were placed on OH Ranch Dorothy and OH Ranch Bassano,” said Bob Seaman. “Wetland and wildlife conservation is an important component of the OH Ranch philosophy, and it’s my father’s legacy.”

A portion of OH Ranch Dorothy has also been classified through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts program as containing ecologically sensitive lands or sites that significantly contribute to the conservation of Canada’s biodiversity and environmental heritage.

“Conserving precious habitat like this is one of the best ways to help our ecosystems and species thrive and survive,” said Member of Parliament Ted Menzies on behalf of Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice. “By conserving this important area in Alberta, the Government of Canada and its partners are providing critical space for species at risk, including burrowing owls, loggerhead shrikes, ferruginous hawks, short-eared owls and Sprague’s pipits.”

For more information, contact:
Anh Hoang
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Phone: (403) 827–8762
E-mail: a_hoang@ducks.ca

Vermilion watershed project begins flowing

September 30, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

Alberta NAWMP is sponsoring the development of a sub-watershed plan for the wetland-rich Vermilion River sub-basin.

Led by the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, the project seeks to demonstrate various needs including:

  • The value of finer-scale watershed planning,
  • The importance of enlisting local stakeholder support,
  • The utility of a wetland inventory, and
  • The creation of opportunities for stewardship or recognition of Environmental Services (or Environmental Goods & Services) benefits.

The committee has identified issues and is now ‘wading in’ to the more difficult task of linking issues to causes that will lead to balanced solutions.

Click here for more information about the Vermilion Watershed Project.

AB NAWMP founder receives national recognition

September 17, 2009 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is pleased to recognize individuals and partner organizations whose activities at the national, regional, or local level result in long-term, substantial benefits to waterfowl and other wetland-associated migratory bird populations of North America.

In fall 2009, long-time Alberta NAWMP supporter and former Board member, Ken Ambrock was awarded the National Great Blue Heron Award for his leadership in founding the original, partnerships in Alberta and Prairie Canada (PHJV). Ken recently retired as Assistant Deputy Minister for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

Learn more about the National Great Blue Heron Award.