Suncor Energy Foundation contributes $1 million to conservation partnership
EDMONTON, ALTA-A creative partnership involving Suncor Energy Foundation, the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) and the Alberta government will help protect more of Alberta's northern forests. The Boreal Habitat Conservation Initiative is a three-year commitment to protect boreal forest habitat in Alberta, supported by a $1-million commitment from the Suncor Energy Foundation. The investment and partnership will help the ACA identify and acquire ecologically significant parcels of boreal habitat for public conservation. The $1 million investment to conserve boreal forest is in addition to Suncor's annual capital spending on land reclamation and technology to mitigate land disturbance. An advisory group made up of ACA members and Suncor employees has been formed to guide efforts to secure boreal forest land for conservation. The initiative builds on the success of the Winagami Lake pilot project in Alberta's Peace River district. Suncor invested $200,000 in the 2003 pilot project with the ACA. The lake and its surrounding watershed are home to a wide range of wildlife, including more than 200 species of birds. Under the pilot project, 480 acres of privately owned, environmentally sensitive lakeshore property were purchased and donated for protection and conservation. The purchase completed a 15-year effort to reclaim the over-grazed shoreline. Future work is expected to focus on the Winagami Lake Plain area in the Peace River district, with purchased lands incorporated, where practical, into existing parks as part of the long-term management of these areas.