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CPAWS welcomes announcement of emergency order to protect critically endangered sage grouse

CPAWS welcomes the federal government's announcement that it will impose an emergency protection order under the federal Species at Risk Act for the greater sage grouse – a critically endangered grassland bird that lives in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. This will be the first time the government has issued an emergency protection measure under the federal Species at Risk Act, and will be an important step forward in fully implementing the federal Species at Risk Act. With fewer than 150 greater sage grouse left in Canada, the emergency protection order will impose obligatory restrictions to industrial use in an effort to protect the remaining habitat of this critically endangered bird.

This announcement followed a successful legal challenge by Ecojustice, representing a number of conservation organizations (Alberta Wilderness Association, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Nature Saskatchewan and Grasslands Naturalists).  While this announcement is good news and an important step forward, the all-important details of when the order will be formally issued and what conservation measures will be required have are still unknown. CPAWS urges the federal government to act quickly and to ensure effective science-based conservation measures are required under this emergency order.

The greater sage grouse has already been extirpated in BC's South Okanagan region, and less than 150 birds remain in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their population has drastically declined over the past decade, primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation from oil and gas development and roads.

Learn more about the greater sage grouse: