Aerial photo of the Edmonton river valley and the North Saskatchewan River.

The North Saskatchewan River Valley is a regional biodiversity core area.

Natural Connections Integrated Conservation Plan is Edmonton's plan for the protection, management and restoration of local natural areas and biodiversity, and the engagement of the community in that effort. The plan applies an outcome-based, ecological network approach to the conservation of Edmonton's natural areas systems. It includes three components: a Strategic Plan, a Biodiversity Action Plan and a Biodiversity Report.

  • The Natural Connections Strategic Plan includes guiding principles, goals, system outcomes, strategic directions and strategies.  
  • The Biodiversity Action Plan outlines roles, responsibilities, timelines and performance indicators.
  • The Biodiversity Report includes information about Edmonton's conservation governance system, and an inventory of City and community biodiversity initiatives.

Natural Connections Integrated Conservation Plan supports the City's Natural Area Systems Policy C531.

Edmonton's Ecological Network

A healthy ecological network has several components:

  • A wide vegetation corridor along major watercourses (for example North Saskatchewan River and its tributary watercourses)
  • Several large natural areas known as core areas (for example Whitemud Ravine, Big Island)  
  • Connectivity for movement of species among the core habitat areas, either through wide, continuous corridors or a series of 'stepping stones' (smaller natural areas throughout a more developed area)
  • A diverse mixture of natural areas throughout the developed parts of the city that can serve as wildlife habitat or connect other, larger natural areas

Edmonton currently has all of the components of an ecological network. With careful planning that encourages the protection of these key elements and the restoration of degraded natural areas and linkages, this network could be sustainable in the long term.

Ecological Network Map

This map shows Edmonton's ecological network, including core areas, stepping stones and linkages.

Plan Development: Background Information

To see background reports and information about the development of Natural Connections, including the State of Natural Areas Report and the public engagement process, go to Background Information.

The "Conserving Edmonton's Natural Areas: A Framework for Urban Conservation" was released in 2011 and outlines the strategies for conserving Edmonton's natural areas and facilitating broader community discussion. This report has two volumes:  Volume 1- Executive Summary and  Volume 2- Technical Report .