|Alexander MacDonald, Nature Canada's protected areas manager, holds up a Gold Leaf award|
Alexander MacDonald, Nature Canada's protected areas manager, was on hand to accept the award at the Council's annual conference held in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“We appreciate the recognition bestowed on our efforts by the members of the Council,” said Alexander. “Canada’s wildlife depend on a strong, well-managed network of national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries that protects vital habitat for birds and species at risk."
Nature Canada received the award this year for its outstanding support to the conservation community and its sustained effort to raise awareness on national habitat conservation issues.
For more than five decades Nature Canada has championed the completion of the national parks system and the development of a connected network of protected areas on land and at sea. In recent years Nature Canada has been a strong advocate for the establishment of national wildlife areas and greater protection of the Boreal Forest.
Nature Canada is a member of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework and the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy, working to protect at least 50% of the Boreal in a network of large interconnected protected areas.
At the conference, Nature Canada released its latest report, The Underlying Threat: Addressing Subsurface Threats in Environment Canada’s Protected Areas.
The report offers solutions for protecting the natural resources below the land surface in the same way as the natural resources – like water, plants and other wildlife – on the surface. Subsurface land protection is important to the overall ecological integrity of new and existing protected areas.
“There is tremendous potential for development of oil and gas, or mineral resources found beneath Environment Canada’s protected areas, and an urgent need for clear, up-to-date policies on what is and isn’t permitted,” said Alexander. “The current permitting system is not designed to manage subsurface resource exploration and development.”
Unlike National Parks, the protections afforded national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries do not extend below the land surface to prevent development, exposing protected areas to a range of environmental problems, including habitat loss, soil contamination, and water pollution.
Read the executive summary of the report.