Syncrude joined the governments of Alberta and Canada as well as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Tallcree First Nation today to announce the creation of the world’s largest protected area of boreal forest.
Syncrude contributed $2.3 million to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which made a payment for a timber quota held by the Tallcree First Nation. This enabled it to be cancelled by the Government of Alberta, which then created the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park, a conservation area of 3,300 km2. This new area sits next to Wood Buffalo National Park as well as several new and existing provincial parks.
Taken together, the parks form a protected boreal forest area of more than
an area roughly twice as large as Vancouver Island
It protects key habitat for 68 species of conservation concern and three species at risk – wood bison, woodland caribou and the peregrine falcon.
“Syncrude is proud to play a role in this remarkable initiative that provides both economic and environmental benefits for Albertans and Canadians,” said Managing Director Doreen Cole. “This agreement supports our commitment to responsible development of the oil sands while contributing to the conservation of the boreal forest for future generations. Creating this protected area is a natural extension of our reclamation efforts and furthers our commitment to biodiversity conservation.”
Syncrude’s investment provides a land disturbance offset for future mining development in addition to other commitments to reduce its environmental impacts. Syncrude’s proposed Mildred Lake Extension Project is currently undergoing regulatory review.
Birch River Wildland Provincial Park is connected to Wood Buffalo National Park, Kazan Wildland Provincial Park, Birch Mountains Wildland Provincial Park and Richardson Wildland Provincial Park.
“Canadians are ready to work together to protect the natural places that make this country unique in the world,” said John Lounds, President and CEO of Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The ecological value of our boreal forest cannot be understated – this is a conservation achievement of global significance. Through partnership, we have been able to make a significant step forward in advancing meaningful conservation in Canada.
The Syncrude Project is a joint venture undertaking among Imperial Oil Resources Limited; Nexen Oil Sands Partnership; Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership; and Suncor Energy Inc. (with the Suncor interest held by Canadian Oil Sands Partnership #1 and Suncor Energy Ventures Partnership, both wholly owned affiliates of Suncor Energy Inc.).