Only a few hundred years ago, much of North America was covered by grasses reaching up to 10 feet tall, while wildflowers, lichens, liverworts and other plant life flourished below. Tens of millions of bison grazed the land, wildfires maintained balance between native grasses and encroaching woody plants and trees, and grassland birds soared above. Native prairie grasslands which are comprised of a mix of tall-grass, mixed-grass, and short-grass prairie, stretched hundreds of millions of acres from Alberta to Manitoba.
Between floods and droughts (sometimes in the same year), the compounding effects of climate change are increasingly putting stress on water resources that the environment and humans depend on.
Our local Sierra Club Canada team was honoured to be invited to Edmonton City Hall for the recent announcement by the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Canada’s Minister of Tourism and MP for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. Minister Boissonnault formally announced the beginning of the pre-feasibility phase for a new National Urban Park proposed in the greater Edmonton area.
“A new National Urban Park in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region would be the dream of a century. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to that goal,” states Dr. PearlAnn Reichwein, National Urban Park Lead with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.
Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Project Town Hall
Join us for a panel discussion and Q&A session to learn more about the irrigation project and its implications for Saskatchewan.
This session is created to hear different perspectives with regards to the project, to learn from one another and to ask good questions.
Aaron Gray, Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association
Bob Halliday, Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin
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By Lindsay Boucher
This summer Johnathan Wilkinson, Former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, announced a new program to create national urban parks across Canada. Seven cities were being considered, including the greater Edmonton area. This announcement aligns with Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s goal of providing access to nature for all, protecting wildlife and habitat, and mitigating climate change with nature-based solutions.
Sierra Club Canada’s Prairie Chapter is calling on candidates and party leaders running in the federal election to act on water security.
The chapter says the prairies are a water stressed region and say leaders must come up with a plan to address the future of our drinking water, water withdrawal, and worsening droughts and floods in the region.
Election time is a unique time where your decision-makers want to hear from you about the issues that you care about.
We want to empower you to connect with your local candidates on local environmental issues that are important to you. Here are our top 5 tips on how to get started.
The Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) is one of just 18 species of bat found in Canada with the largest distribution of them all. A nocturnal, echolocating insectivore, the little brown bat measures 8-10 cm in length, weighing only a mere 5-14 grams. They range in colour from brown to red-brown, and golden-brown, with female bats presenting as larger than male bats.
The Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) is a small insectivorous songbird, best known for its swooping and soaring behaviours used to protect their nests, and when catching their insect prey mid-flight. Bank Swallows inhabit low-lying areas typically near rivers, streams, ocean coasts and reservoirs. As a colonial nesting species, bank swallows can be found in large numbers where their nests occur as numerous open cavities and holes in the sides of river banks and sandy embankments.
The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) is one of the largest North American hawk species, found throughout the southern half of the Canadian Prairie Region. Their habitat consists largely of wide-open prairie and desert land, which makes for prime hunting on their main source of prey - prairie dogs and ground squirrels.
Today’s featured prairie plant is Anemone patens also known as Prairie Crocus, Crocus Anemone, Pasque Flower or Prairie Smoke. It is best known for being the first flower to bloom following winter, often before complete snowmelt has occurred, signalling the start of spring on the prairies. This long-lived perennial flower is native to Canada and grows on open prairies, along hillsides, roadsides, dry grasslands and open woods.
The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus), a small migratory shorebird found throughout the wetlands of the Prairie region within Canada and known for its short and stout appearance, makes its home during its breeding season from April/May to August in the Prairie Regions of Canada as well as Ontario.
The topic and overall use of pesticides, insecticides and avicides may seen a confusing one, but the consequences and environmental fallout from the application of these toxins is anything but.
The Canadian Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) encompasses 467,000km² of wetland and grassland area stretching from Alberta’s Rocky Mountain foothills to Manitoba’s Red River Valley. The appearance of these ‘pothole’ structured wetlands, were formed by the movement of glaciers across North America, where the ice melted into the pools that are now the potholes wetlands we have today. The formation of the pothole region took tens of thousands of years during the Wisconsin glaciation period.
Prairies have been reduced to just 1% of their former range, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems. One way you as an everyday citizen can help is by planting native prairie plants. This can be in the form of a whole prairie garden, or even just a few native plants in a small garden bed. The idea is to create urban prairie habitat in a place where it has historically been decimated. The prairie ecosystem when left alone or properly managed supports abundant biodiversity. Prairie plants provide food and shelter to the hundreds of prairie pollinators.
Native Prairie Appreciation Week is officially celebrated in Saskatchewan from June 13-19 in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP). It is celebrated nationwide from June 17-22. However, the Canadian prairies boast many incredible ecoregions, unique wildlife and stunning landscapes that should be celebrated all the time!
Edmonton, Alberta -- The Sierra Club Canada Foundation applauds the rejection of the Joint Review Panel for the Grassy Mountain Coal Project and calls for immediate action to stop all new coal mining in the foothills of the Rockies.
Image of Big Island (Courtesy of City of Edmonton)
We applaud the recent announcement indicating a commitment to establish Big Island as a new provincial park.