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Media Briefing 2: Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit

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- Recommendations to Save Alberta’s “Most Endangered Species”

7 Sep 2011

What?        Media Briefing, Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit recommendations
When?       Thursday September 8, 2011
                   11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Where?      AWA office, 455 – 12th Street NW, Calgary

Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is hosting a two-day international Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit, Wednesday September 7 – Thursday September 8.

At the end of the summit, participants will present a series of emergency recommendations for sage-grouse recovery. AWA invites media personnel to join some of North America’s leading sage-grouse scientists (11:00 a.m., Thursday September 8), to discuss those recommendations.

Background

One of Alberta’s most charismatic birds, the sage-grouse has justifiably been referred to as Alberta’s “most endangered species.” In 2011, just 13 male birds were recorded in Alberta, a 98 percent decline since 1968. Though the species was first listed as At Risk in Alberta in 1996, habitat has continued to be destroyed, and sage-grouse have continued to decline. University of Alberta biologist Dr. Mark Boyce has said that the loss of Alberta’s sage-grouse would be "the first case where the oil and gas industry has caused the extirpation of a species from Alberta.”

At the Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit leading North American sage-grouse scientists are discussing the current state of knowledge around the plight of Alberta’s sage-grouse population and developing emergency recommendations to halt the imminent demise of the species.

Briefing participants will include:

  • Dr. Mark Boyce, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Cameron Aldridge, Colorado State University
  • Cliff Wallis, AWA Vice-president

For more information:

  • Nigel Douglas, AWA Conservation Specialist: (403) 283-2025
  • Cliff Wallis, AWA Vice-president: (403) 271-1048

Biographies

Dr. Cameron Aldridge completed his Ph.D. in Environmental Biology and Ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in 2005 on the subject of sage-grouse habitat in Alberta. He is currently a full research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, where he is continuing his partnered research with the US Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center working on a variety of sagebrush-steppe conservation issues, including sage-grouse. 

Dr. Mark Boyce received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1977 and is Professor, and Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife, at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton. He has been honoured with many awards including the William Rowan Distinguished Service Award in 2008 from the Wildlife Society and the International Conservationist of the Year in 2007 from Safari Club International Foundation. He has worked on several sage grouse research projects and used that data for an affidavit to assist the Federal Court in its decision to compel the Government of Canada to designate critical habitat for greater sage-grouse in Canada.

Mr. Cliff Wallis, a Professional Biologist, has been working on conservation of grasslands in Alberta, including sage-grouse habitat, since the early 1970s. He has been the AWA’s lead on cooperative conservation projects to protect and manage prairie habitats in southeastern Alberta and assisted Ecojustice by preparing an affidavit on in the successful legal fight to get critical habitat designated in Canada.

Other scientists and observers attending the summit have been working on sage-grouse either in their capacities as federal or provincial government researchers or regulators or as conservationists and landowners concerned about Alberta’s disappearing prairie habitats and the species at risk that rely on them.

Posted September 7, 2011 by AEN

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