Government of Canada taking action to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse

OTTAWA, Sept. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, announced today the Government's intention to introduce an Emergency Protection Order for the Greater Sage-Grouse in the coming months.

The intent of an Emergency Order is to impose obligatory restrictions designed to protect the Sage-Grouse and its habitat on provincial and federal crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan with no restrictions on activities on private land, nor on grazing on provincial or federal crown lands. Our goal is to achieve the best protection for the Sage-Grouse while minimizing impacts on landowners and agricultural producers.

"Through a combination of stewardship measures we are addressing the imminent threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We will be working with provinces and stakeholders over the coming months to implement these measures."

An Emergency Order would build on efforts the Government of Canada is already taking to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse. We are partnering with the Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Alberta, the Calgary Zoo and other stakeholders such as the Alberta Conservation Association on several innovative new projects to support the long term recovery of the Sage-Grouse populations. We have already committed to providing over $1 million in funding over the next three years for projects to protect Sage-Grouse and other species at risk in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Additional funding will be available under the Habitat Stewardship Program to support landowners and other stakeholders in protecting Sage-Grouse.

An Emergency Order under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) can be used when a species faces imminent threats to its survival, and current protection measures are deemed inadequate. An Emergency Order for Greater Sage-Grouse would protect the habitat necessary for the survival of the species. This would be the first time since the Act's inception that this mechanism is being invoked.

The Greater Sage-Grouse is an endangered bird that depends on the unique prairie ecosystem of southeastern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. The Sage-Grouse population in Canada has declined by nearly 98% since 1988, with less than 150 birds now remaining in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.

Related Information:
Canada's Species at Risk Act: Taking Action for Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada

SOURCE Environment Canada

For further information:

Jennifer Kennedy
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

Environment Canada's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/environmentca

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(Également offert en français)