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Following a recent loss in the Federal Court of Appeal, Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq announced earlier this week that the federal government will (later) introduce an Emergency Protection Order for the Greater Sage-Grouse, or at least for those of this rapidly declining species that happen to spend all of their time on Crown land.

As to the content of the order, the Environment Canada news release states:

“The intent of an Emergency Order is to impose obligatory restrictions designed to protect the Sage-Grouse and its habitat on provincial and federal crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan with no restrictions on activities on private land, nor on grazing on provincial or federal crown lands. Our goal is to achieve the best protection for the Sage-Grouse while minimizing impacts on landowners and agricultural producers.”

Conservation groups are “cautiously optimistic”, but point out that this announcement is just a promise, not an actual order. It won’t apply to private land, and lacks specific details around oil and gas development – one of the key threats to the sage grouse – and timelines for implementation. With less than 150 grouse remaining in Alberta and Saskatchewan, we hope that the Emergency Protection Order comes in time to protect this species and its habitat. Also our congratulations to the conservation groups who have campaigned on behalf of the grouse – thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

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