Caribou in Jasper National Park© Mark Bradley
To protect our country’s landscapes on behalf of Canadians, Parks Canada continues to play a vital role in the development of a network of national parks that represents the diversity of Canada’s natural regions and landscapes. The Agency also ensures that all marine areas in Canada, including the three oceans it borders and the Great Lakes, are protected for the benefit of future generations. Here are a few examples of initiatives currently under way:
Wild horses on Sable Island © Parks CanadaA landmark agreement has just been signed between Canada and New Brunswick to designate Sable Island as a national park reserve of Canada.
Other projects are under review to create:
Parks Canada also implements innovative measures, including co-operating with partners and stakeholders, raising public awareness and carrying out conservation activities which, all told, contribute to protecting species at risk that live in its network of parks, historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
Very innovative measures to save a very unique species! The survival and recovery of woodland caribou is integral to maintaining the ecological integrity of the mountain parks. On November 25, Parks Canada released a new Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada’s National Parks to support the conservation efforts of the Southern Mountain Caribou. To support that strategy, Parks Canada has also concluded a partnering arrangement for a captive breeding program for woodland caribou with the Calgary Zoo and Province of British Columbia. This great initiative aims at reintroducing or augmenting wild herds in Jasper, Banff and British Columbia. Find out about the strategy and the captive breeding program, and to know more about this amazing species in general, please visit our Woodland Caribou – Southern Mountain Population page.
Wildlife camera picture of a female caribou and her calf, in Pukaskwa National Park © Parks CanadaMore about caribou! To monitor wildlife numbers and movement in national parks, cameras are deployed at strategic locations along known trails and natural travel routes. These camera “traps” capture movements of wildlife by infrared motion sensing technology. This photo shows a female caribou and calf captured on camera during the 2010-2011 winter season in Pukaskwa’s national park, providing the first evidence of a caribou born in the park in over a decade!
An adult black-footed ferret © Parks Canada / M. LockhartConservation efforts recognized abroad: In October 2011, as part of a black-footed ferret recovery program, Parks Canada and its partners released 15 other ferrets in Grasslands National Park, with the help of over 70 high school students. From volunteers involved in intensive night-time spotlight surveys, biologists and veterinarians who are putting their skills in the service of conservation, to groups of students participating in this learning experience, the black-footed ferret has brought together a wide variety of people from across the country. For more information about this fascinating animal:
Are you familiar with the Garry oak ecosystems? Breathtakingly beautiful, these biologically diverse ecosystems are home to more plant species than any other ecosystem on the coast of British Columbia. What’s more, some of these species can’t be found anywhere else in Canada! Discover the measures taken by Parks Canada to recover these unique ecosystems.
Assessing and protecting fragile islets like this one is among the objectives for the waterway. © Parks CanadaProtecting the more than 40 species at risk that live in and around Ontario’s Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site is a challenge. Well over a million boaters and other visitors use the waterway every year; there are some 120,000 private landowners along its 4,500 kilometres of shoreline, winding its way through 46 jurisdictions.
Parks Canada has engaged the waterway’s many stakeholders in creating a new Heritage Values Mapping System to identify areas of natural, cultural, scenic and recreational importance. While Parks Canada does not regulate development, it does have an interest in seeing that decisions affecting species at risk are supported by the best information available. This system will assist regulatory agencies and encourage waterfront landowners to think about ecology and heritage values when developing their section of the shoreline.
For more information, visit the Trent Severn Waterway Wildlife site.
At Parks Canada, protection also means ecological rehabilitation. Many of the measures we are taking to protect our natural treasures involve returning landscapes to their original state. Whether it be restoring a trail, giving fish access to blocked channels or reseeding fragile areas, every initiative, big or small, enables us to recover the ecological integrity of our parks and the health of our marine ecosystems.
A few examples:
Glacier National Park takes pride in ten major success stories related to recovery and rehabilitation.
Parks Canada staff is using a velocity metre to determine the speed of the water through the culvert in Terra Nova National Park © Parks CanadaHurricane Helps Fish Cross Roads: A fish may travel thousands of kilometres through the ocean to reach its spawning ground—only to be stopped metres from its destination by a poorly designed culvert. Steep, smooth-bottom culverts can create currents that overpower fish trying to swim upstream, while culverts with large drops from their outflows present fish with an impossible leap.
A multi-year program to make culverts in many national parks across Canada more fish-friendly is underway—with some help from an unexpected source. When Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland in 2010, the damage it caused to roads and streams actually presented opportunities to advance ongoing aquatic connectivity work in Terra Nova National Park. Parks Canada staff acted quickly to repair and replace damaged culvert systems and make further improvements to stream passageways. Today, fish are better able to move through streams and salmon have been discovered upstream from the highway for the first time in recorded history!
To learn more, watch the video ‘Brookes on Brooks’ on Parks Canada’s YouTube channel.
Volunteers gathering whitebark pine seeds in Waterton Lakes National Park © Parks Canada / Sean LemoineWhitebark Pines Keep On Giving: A tree with gifts beneath is a popular Christmas tradition, but whitebark pines keep on giving year round. These pines have large nutritious seeds eaten by birds, squirrels, bears and other wildlife. Their shade helps reduce spring floods and maintain streams through summer.
Unfortunately, whitebark pines are threatened. Fire suppression allowed other trees to replace whitebarks and an introduced fungus has killed over 90% of them. Luckily, Parks Canada staff and volunteers are working hard to nurse them back to health by protecting their cones and collecting the seeds to grow and plant healthy seedlings. So far, they have planted 1,800 seedlings, with good survival.
Is there a more meaningful gift than their efforts to conserve these threatened pines?
Lake Sturgeon © Parks CanadaLake Sturgeon Research: Pukaskwa National Park is home to Canada’s largest freshwater fish – the Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens). The Lake Sturgeon was once abundant in several areas of Lake Superior; however intensive fishing and habitat destruction has led to a decrease in populations. As a result, Lake Sturgeon has been assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSWEIC). Pukaskwa is working with the Anishinabek Fisheries Resource Centre and Trent University to document Lake Sturgeon in nearby rivers. The catch, release and documentation of Lake Sturgeon will assist researchers in the recovery of this freshwater giant in Lake Superior!
Laurie Wein, Action on the Ground project manager for Gwaii Haanas, with bait © Parks Canada / Andrew WrightSGin Xaana Sdiihltl’lxa: Night Birds Returning aims to re-establish nesting seabird colonies on several islands in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area, and Haida Heritage Site. Rats were first introduced to Haida Gwaii in the late 1700’s. Voracious predators, rats have devastating effects on seabird species at risk, the Ancient Murrelet, songbirds and native small mammals. Recent research shows rats are also impacting invertebrate populations, the diversity of plant species and the intertidal zone. Over three years, Action on the Ground-funded crews will partner with Island Conservation to set and monitor specialized bait stations on several remote islands in an effort to eradicate this invasive species. For more information on Action on the Ground in Gwaii Haanas contact Laurie Wein at Laurie.Wein@pc.gc.ca.