Understanding wolverines helps us develop conservation strategies. Image: Steven Gnam
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You and the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan

You and the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan
North Saskatchewan River.
The NRSP will be a blueprint for future land-use in the Alberta headwaters and the North Saskatchewan watershed. Let's make sure to get it right!

The North Saskatchewan Regional Plan (NSRP) is a land-use plan for central Alberta.

Once it is finalized by the end of 2015, the plan will be a blueprint for future land-use in the North Saskatchewan headwaters and watershed, which stretches from the Banff National Park icefields north to Edmonton, across to the Saskatchewan border and beyond.

A rich suite of wildlife call the North Saskatchewan region home, including at-risk species like wolverine, grizzly bear, trumpeter swan and bull trout. The region’s natural beauty makes it a hub for tourism, especially in the Bighorn Wildland Recreation Area, one of the most popular destinations in the entire North Saskatchewan planning region.

The Bighorn’s headwaters are the source of 90 percent of the water in the North Saskatchewan River, which provides drinking water for Edmonton, Drayton Valley, Fort Saskatchewan, the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve and surrounding communities. It’s one of the few roadless areas left in Alberta’s foothills, and a critical connection for wildlife moving between Banff and Jasper National Parks and the adjacent White Goat and Siffleur Wilderness Areas.

Competition for land use in this 85,000-square kilometer region is quickly mounting, with serious consequences for the environment that sustains our communities. The NRSP offers a rare chance to help resolve growing land-use conflict by taking a large-landscape approach to planning and offering something for everyone -- but not everywhere, all the time.

The Bighorn river valley. Photo: Erik Lizee

What We Need in the NSRP

  • Permanent protection for the entire Bighorn as a Wildland Provincial Park, maintaining the current management regime.
  • A moratorium on development in environmentally-significant areas surrounding the Bighorn, until a scientific assessment identifies other areas in need of protection.
  • A new Wildlife Corridor land use designation that identifies and preserves connectivity for wildlife between protected areas, especially along streams and river corridors.
  • Improved standards for managing our headwater forests to ensure they maintain their natural functions of flood and drought control.
  • A timely linear footprint management plan (similar to the plan announced in the final South Saskatchewan Regional Plan last July).

Public Comment Period

A Regional Advisory Committee on the NSRP was appointed by the government in 2014. The committee’s recommendations should be made public in spring 2015. At that time, a public comment period will open for the NSRP.

It’s time for everyone to get involved! Please watch this page for information about opportunities to have your say on the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan.