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News Release

Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Greater Sage-Grouse

OTTAWA, Ont. – December 4, 2013 – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, announced today that the Government of Canada published an Emergency Order to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Species at Risk Act. The intention to go forward with an emergency order was announced on September 17, 2013. The Emergency Order will come into force on February 18, 2014.

“Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving our rich biodiversity,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “Our goal with this Emergency Order is to achieve the best protection for the Sage-Grouse while minimizing impacts on landowners and agricultural producers.”

The Emergency Order addresses imminent threats to the survival and recovery of the Sage-Grouse by protecting important habitat for this species on provincial and federal crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Order will also introduce restrictions on activities on these lands that impact Sage-Grouse populations. The Order does not apply on private lands. The Order does not limit grazing on federal or provincial crown lands. The Order, along with important voluntary stewardship measures, is anticipated to help stabilize the Sage-Grouse population and begin its recovery.

The Greater Sage-Grouse, an endangered bird under the federal Species at Risk Act, is one of the many species that depends on the unique prairie ecosystem of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. In 2012, there were estimated to be between 93-138 adult birds in Canada.

The Government of Canada will continue to work cooperatively with provincial governments, industry, landowners and others to protect Greater Sage-Grouse habitat by implementing voluntary stewardship measures that complement the Emergency Order. Already, more than $1 million in funding over the next three years has been committed 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 Section 80 of 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. This is the first time since the Act’s inception that this mechanism is being invoked.

For more information, please see the Questions and Answers on the Emergency Order and Order Summary that are available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

For more information, please contact:

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

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

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