WWF-Canada statement on crude oil spill in central Saskatchewan

TORONTO, July 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Elizabeth Hendriks, vice-president of freshwater conservation for World Wildlife Fund Canada, is available to provide insights into the impacts of the North Saskatchewan river oil spill. In response to the spill, she has made the following statement:

"This troubling spill impacts nature, wildlife and people, and given publically available data on spills, this spill should not be a surprise. WWF-Canada's analysis of the Battle sub-watershed, released in June, 2015, shows that an oil spill was likely to happen. Pipeline indicators based on past pipeline incidents scored high. The higher the threat, the higher the likelihood of an incident happening.

The freshwater threats assessment for this watershed shows that it is already facing overall high threats, poor water quality and very high threats due to pollution and habitat fragmentation. The longer the oil stays in the water, the more likely it will dip below the water's surface, making it more difficult to clean. Action is required. If not, the oil will make its way to the bottom of the river bed. If it accumulates there over a long period of time it will further degrade the water quality. As the oil spill travels and becomes more widespread, the risk for contamination will occur and more wildlife and people be at risk.

Pipelines will continue to exist for some time, and with them the threat of spills. So we need to solutions to minimize those spill threats. Water data is one key component of the solution to oil spill threats by providing a solid foundation for decision-making and planning.

WWF-Canada's Watershed Reports show we lack the data needed to understand the cumulative impacts of these pipelines and other factors that impact water health. Open data, transparency and on-going water monitoring is required if we are to minimize the threat of spills and limit the negative impacts those spills that do happen in the future. We have a responsibility to share this information and work together with government, environmental NGOs and communities to protect our waters. WWF-Canada commends the government of Saskatchewan for dedicated investment into agencies, such as the Water Security Agency, that can monitor river-water quality throughout the duration of the event, and invest in resources into long term assessment and recovery of water quality and habitat."

For more details about WWF-Canada's Watershed Reports, visit watershedreports.wwf.ca

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit wwf.ca


For further information: Rowena Calpito, communications specialist, rcalpito@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-489-4567 Ext. 7267


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