Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site Action Plan
Wood Buffalo National Park
The Government of Canada is committed to the protection of ecologically significant parts of the Canadian landscape. One of these places is the Peace-Athabasca Delta within and adjacent to Wood Buffalo National Park.
The Government of Canada and its partners released an action plan in 2019 to stabilize this world heritage site for future generations.
The plan is being implemented in partnership with the governments of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia (through a Federal-Provincial-Territorial coordinating committee), BC Hydro, and in collaboration with the 11 Indigenous partners of Wood Buffalo National Park. Input was sought from and incorporated into the plan from industry associations, non-governmental organizations and the general public.
The Action Plan outlines a long-term program of work with identified actions which run until 2026. The Government of Canada has committed $87 million to ensuring the Action Plan’s successful implementation – an unparalleled investment in support of conservation action in a national park in Canada.
The Action Plan aims to:
- Strengthen relationships with Indigenous partners in support of the cooperative management of the park
- Co-develop an integrated monitoring program, using both science and Indigenous knowledge, to measure the health of the park, in particular the Peace Athabasca Delta and the other natural features for which the park is recognized.
- Co-develop with Indigenous partners the design, and construction of a field station in the Peace Athabasca Delta as a base of operations to support ecological monitoring and cultural use activities by Indigenous communities.
- Undertake a suite of hydrology-related science, monitoring and management work to support ecological integrity and traditional use by Indigenous peoples in Peace Athabasca Delta system. This includes the development of an environmental flows framework informed by state of the art hydrological modelling.
- Assess existing weirs in the Peace Athabasca Delta, and investigate options to design, and potentially construct, adjustable water control structures in support of a local hydrological regime which can improve ecological functioning and Indigenous use of target areas in the Peace Athabasca Delta, specifically at Dog Camp (Quatres Fourches) and Big Egg Lake.
- Increase the connectivity of ecosystems and enhance protection for species through collaboration with the Government of Alberta and Indigenous partners, including the establishment of Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland on the southern boundary of WBNP.
- Foster collaboration with partners, including the Government of Alberta, BC Hydro, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Indigenous partners to identify circumstances under which a strategic flow release of water from the Site C dam reservoir could be used to enhance a natural ice jam flood event within the park to encourage flooding of the Peace Athabasca Delta.
Implementation of the plan is now well-advanced with over two-thirds of the actions completed or underway. Long term monitoring of the health of park ecosystems, using a braided approach of science and traditional knowledge, is key to understanding and mitigating issues affecting traditional Indigenous use and the ecological integrity of the park over the long term. Updates on progress can be found on the project page.
Partnering is Key
Parks Canada recognizes the contributions of all partners who are actively contributing to the implementation of the Action Plan. It is this collaboration from a range of partners, both Indigenous and crown government and agencies, that is vital to its successful implementation.
First Nations and Métis peoples have occupied and used the lands, waters, and resources of Wood Buffalo National Park for generations and continue to do so. They rely upon the park’s resources to sustain their livelihoods, way of life, and culture. Indigenous partners play a leadership role in the implementation of the Action Plan and are actively engaged with Parks Canada and other crown government partners in advancing shared work under the Action Plan.Report for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee 2022
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