As part of the Biodiversity section of our Watershed Management Plan, work has begun on Habitat Conservation and Management. Habitat management is the management of human activity to ensure that habitat remains or is restored to allow other animals to survive and thrive on the landscape. Habitat management can take many forms, and there are many tools we can use to help make this happen.
Intact habitat is crucial to maintain biodiversity. Our watersheds are very much human-dominated landscapes, with agricultural lands comprising about three-quarters of the land base and linear developments, such as roads, railways and pipelines, crisscrossing the landscape. These factors contribute to the fragmentation and degradation of natural ecosystems and habitats, and as such contribute to a weakening of the overall biodiversity and ecological integrity of our watersheds.
Though much emphasis has been placed on protected areas like provincial and national parks, there are other means of managing habitat on the working landscape, such as through conservation easements and shelter belts. These areas provide excellent habitat and corridors that ensure animals have safe places to live and thrive.
Wildlife, birds, insects, amphibians, and other animals all share the environment with us and our livestock. By working with all watershed stakeholders, we hope to identify how we can maintain space for wildlife and ensure continued success as we all make our living off the land and water resources. Learning and understanding how we can manage our landscape and activities to make space for wildlife is an important part of watershed sustainability.