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BOREAL WATERSHED INITIATIVE MAKES PROGRESS

Released on March 1, 2012

Significant progress has been made in the Boreal Watershed Initiative, which was established in 2011-12 to assess and maintain the ecological integrity of Saskatchewan's northern watersheds. The Ministry of Environment has been working with partners to address potential environmental concerns and to identify sustainable management practices in the region.

"Over the past year, numerous sampling and monitoring projects have taken place to identify and assess potential environmental issues regarding development in the boreal region," Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. "We are very pleased with the work that has been done in year one of the program."

The ministry identified six priority areas to address; water resources, aquatic ecosystem health, air quality, soil quality, biodiversity and traditional land use and knowledge.

Program highlights for 2011-12 include; 227 northern lakes sampled to identify acidification, monitoring the air quality at 11 different locations to identify potential acid deposition, developing satellite remote sensing tools for enhanced monitoring of water quality and sampling soil at 110 locations to address the buffering capacity.

Inventories of historical monitoring and assessment data are being captured digitally, to make information readily available for decision making by the ministry and also available to stakeholders. It will also allow for First Nations and Métis expertise being used to assist in the data collection and identification of sensitive traditional knowledge and information.

The five-year project is designed to ensure environmental protection of the region. Cost of the activities carried out in 2011 is nearly $1.6 million with the province contributing $1 million. The additional funding will be provided by Areva, Cameco, Environment Canada, the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, Queen's University, University of Alberta, University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan.

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For more information, contact:

Michele McEachern
Environment
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0412
Email: michele.mceachern@gov.sk.ca

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