Protecting Edmonton's Biodiversity
The City of Edmonton has three main goals related to the protection of natural areas and biodiversity: to secure natural areas, manage natural areas, and engage the community in this work. Here you will learn more about some of the ways the City is achieving these goals.
1. Secure Natural Areas
Borrowing StrategyIn the last several decades, Edmonton has lost many natural areas as land has been converted for development. However, as the incredible value of natural areas became clear, the City made it a priority to protect as many natural areas as possible. The surest form of protection is to purchase natural areas for conservation, and in 2009 the City borrowed $20,000,000 to do this, leveraging an existing fund to make payments on the loan.
Edmonton and Area Land Trust
Between 2004 and 2006, the City fostered the creation of a local land trust, which resulted in six partners (the Edmonton Community Foundation, Edmonton Nature Club, Legacy Lands Conservation Society, Land Stewardship Centre of Canada, Urban Development Institute and the City) coming together in 2006 to form the Edmonton and Area Land Trust. That year, the City provided an operational endowment of $2.5 million to the fledgling organization.
Ecological Information RequirementsWhen new development is proposed, the City requires that specific information be provided about natural areas, including how they connect to one another and to other natural areas in the city. Obtaining this information about the existing "ecological network" enables the City to make informed decisions about how land is developed. More information about these ecological information requirements can be found in the Planning Applications section.
2. Manage Natural Areas
Natural Area Management Plans
For each natural area that the City acquires, a Natural Area Management Plan is created. This plan sets out management priorities for the area, as well as specific management tasks to be carried out by City staff, developers and volunteers.
Wildlife Passage Engineering Design Guidelines
The City of Edmonton is committed to protecting local and regional ecological connectivity. The intersection of roads and road crossings with natural habitats can limit wildlife movement and reduce ecological connectivity. Wildlife passages are one way to promote wildlife movement through more developed areas. They can range from simple measures (e.g., wildlife crossing signage or strategically placed vegetation plantings) to more complex structures (e.g., wildlife underpass).
The City's new Wildlife Passage Engineering Design Guidelines will promote the maintenance or enhancement of urban biodiversity by ensuring that wildlife populations are able to disperse throughout the City. This will ensure that wildlife is able to access areas in order to fulfil their life cycles, and will prevent populations from becoming fragmented or isolated. The guidelines will also help alleviate safety concerns associated with wildlife-vehicle interactions.
3. Engage Edmontonians in Stewardship
Master Naturalist ProgramThe Edmonton Master Naturalist Program engages community members in learning about and stewarding local natural areas. Program participants take a 3-week course, held annually, in exchange for 35 hours of related volunteer work.
International Biodiversity Week in Edmonton
In May 2011, graduates of the City of Edmonton Master Naturalist Program held Earth Alive, an event in celebration of the UN-proclaimed International Biodiversity Day (May 22). This official celebration kicked off Edmonton Biodiversity Week, proclaimed by Mayor Mandel, and included hands-on learning and festivities of all kinds: workshops, presentations, live music, a puppet show, and awards for a youth art contest. In all, the day was a great success, and we warmly thank our partners and sponsors!