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Winnipeg, Canada

Chamberlain E.C.,Simon Fraser University | Rutherford M.B.,Simon Fraser University | Gibeau M.L.,Parks Canada
Conservation Biology | Year: 2012

Some conservation initiatives provoke intense conflict among stakeholders. The need for action, the nature of the conservation measures, and the effects of these measures on human interests may be disputed. Tools are needed to depolarize such situations, foster understanding of the perspectives of people involved, and find common ground. We used Q methodology to explore stakeholders' perspectives on conservation and management of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in Banff National Park and the Bow River watershed of Alberta, Canada. Twenty-nine stakeholders participated in the study, including local residents, scientists, agency employees, and representatives of nongovernmental conservation organizations and other interest groups. Participants rank ordered a set of statements to express their opinions on the problems of grizzly bear management (I-IV) and a second set of statements on possible solutions to the problems (A-C). Factor analysis revealed that participants held 4 distinct views of the problems: individuals associated with factor I emphasized deficiencies in goals and plans; those associated with factor II believed that problems had been exaggerated; those associated with factor III blamed institutional flaws such as disjointed management and inadequate resources; and individuals associated with factor IV blamed politicized decision making. There were 3 distinct views about the best solutions to the problems: individuals associated with factor A called for increased conservation efforts; those associated with factor B wanted reforms in decision-making processes; and individuals associated with factor C supported active landscape management. We connected people's definitions of the problem with their preferred solutions to form 5 overall problem narratives espoused by groups in the study: the problem is deficient goals and plans, the solution is to prioritize conservation efforts (planning-oriented conservation advocates); the problem is flawed institutions, the solution is to prioritize conservation efforts (institutionally-oriented conservation advocates); the problems have been exaggerated, but there is a need to improve decision-making processes (optimistic decision-process reformers); the problems have been exaggerated, but managers should more actively manage the landscape (optimistic landscape managers); and the problem is politicized decision making, solutions vary (democratizers). Although these 5 groups differed on many issues, they agreed that the population of grizzly bears is vulnerable to extirpation, human use of the area should be designed around ecological constraints, and more inclusive decision-making processes are needed. We used our results to inform a series of workshops in which stakeholders developed and agreed on new management strategies that were implemented by Parks Canada. Our research demonstrates the usefulness of Q method to illuminate people's perspectives and identify common ground in settings where conservation is contested. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

McCune J.L.,University of British Columbia | Pellatt M.G.,Parks Canada
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2013

Phytolith assemblages in terrestrial soils have the potential to reveal local shifts between open savannah and conifer forests in the past. On southeastern Vancouver Island, this could help quantify the range of variability of Garry oak savannahs prior to European colonization, and the degree of influence of indigenous people in maintaining open savannahs. We catalogued the phytolith morphotypes found in 72 of the most common plant species in this system, and extracted phytoliths from two soil cores on either side of the boundary between a conifer forest and an oak savannah. Grasses are the most prolific producers of phytoliths in savannahs. In forests, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) produces large, distinctive asterosclereid phytoliths. Phytolith assemblages from soil cores showed that phytoliths from grasses dominated, even in soils from the forest, where grasses are rare. However, the presence of asterosclereid phytoliths reliably distinguished between Douglas-fir forest and Garry oak savannah habitats within 20. m of the vegetation boundary. This finding may be useful for reconstructing past vegetation not only on Vancouver Island, but also across a large geographic area in North America where grasslands tend to be invaded by Douglas-fir following fire suppression. The use of the phytolith record from terrestrial soils at local sites where the history of human occupation is well-known could help establish the degree of influence of indigenous peoples in maintaining open savannahs on southeastern Vancouver Island. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Symons C.C.,Queens University | Arnott S.E.,Queens University | Sweetman J.N.,Parks Canada
Polar Biology | Year: 2012

We determined the limiting nutrient of phytoplankton in 21 lakes and ponds in Wapusk National Park, Canada, using nutrient enrichment bioassays to assess the response of natural phytoplankton communities to nitrogen and phosphorus additions. The goal was to determine whether these Subarctic lakes and ponds were nutrient (N or P) limited, and to improve the ability to predict future impacts of increased nutrient loading associated with climate change. We found that 38% of lakes were not limited by nitrogen or phosphorus, 26% were co-limited by N and P, 26% were P-limited and 13% were N-limited. TN/TP, DIN/TP and NO 3 -/TP ratios from each lake were compared to the Redfield ratio to predict the limiting nutrient; however, these predictors only agreed with 29% of the bioassay results, suggesting that nutrient ratios do not provide a true measure of nutrient limitation within this region. The N-limited lakes had significantly different phytoplankton community composition with more chrysophytes and Anabaena sp. compared to all other lakes. N and P limitation of phytoplankton communities within Wapusk National Park lakes and ponds suggests that increased phytoplankton biomass may result in response to increased nutrient loading associated with environmental change. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

News Article | November 24, 2015
Site: www.renewableenergyworld.com

Idenergie reported in mid-November that it had signed a contract with Parks Canada to install and monitor 10 hydrokinetic turbines in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks in Alberta and British Columbia.

News Article | August 25, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Back in 1845, explorer John Franklin left England with two ships, the HMS Erebus and Terror, to find a way through the storied Northwest Passage—which, back then, was mostly locked up in year-round ice. Things didn’t go well. The ships disappeared, as did Franklin and his crew, spawning a mystery that’s become the stuff of legend. In 2014, a Canadian expedition finally found the remains of the HMS Erebus in the labyrinthine waters around Nunavut, a northern territory that includes most of the Canadian Arctic archipelago. Now they’re going North again to look for the Terror. One of Deep Trekker's underwater drones, operating in Honduras. Image: Deep Trekker To find its sunken remains—and to check up on Erebus—Parks Canada’s underwater archaeologists will be using an arsenal of high-tech equipment, including two portable underwater drones built by an Ontario company, Deep Trekker. Deep Trekker’s robots were partly inspired by president Sam Macdonald’s keenness for the many shipwrecks scattered through the Great Lakes. “I was interested in having a cool toy for checking out shipwrecks in Ontario,” she told me, adding that Tobermory, on the Bruce Peninsula, is her favourite place to dive. It’s famous for sunken ships. The ROVs that Parks Canada is using in the Arctic “are round,” she said, “about the size of a basketball.” They only weigh 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds), and they’re extremely portable: When we spoke, Macdonald had just gotten back from Hawaii, where she was using one to check out the wreck of the USS Arizona, a battleship that sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. “I carried my own [ROV] on the airplane with me, so they travel well,” she said. Batteries are mounted on the device, so the tether that connects it to the ship is relatively thin, reducing drag. “That’s important because in the water, [the tether] can be overwhelmed by the current,” she said. These robots can take video or use sonar if there’s poor visibility, and with a manipulator arm, they’re actually very handy—collecting samples, slicing ropes, and testing the thickness of the hull. Just like with sending a rover to Mars, deploying a drone underwater means that people are kept out of harm’s way. “Because [the wreck is] so ancient, and freezes and thaws every year, you don’t want to send a diver in there,” she said. Parks Canada declined to comment on the mission, which officially starts at the end of August and wraps up in mid-September. (“An interview is currently not possible as the team is already travelling up north for the mission,” a spokesperson said. Media is barred from participating the expedition because of its “limited operational window,” says a statement.) Operating an ROV under the ice. Image: Deep Trekker “I’m a shipwreck junkie,” Macdonald said of the Franklin ships. “I’m hoping they’re able to gain insight into what happened. It’s quite a storied event—epic if you will. [The ships] have been trapped in the ice for so long.” She’s hoping that finding the Terror wreck will give “some clues on how [the explorers] were living their final days in the Arctic.” Deep Trekker, whose robots are used for aquaculture or police and military purposes alongside underwater archaeology, is fielding more requests for jobs in the Arctic, Macdonald said, as the once-impenetrable ice melts. An image of the Northwest Passage captured via satellite, acquired Aug. 9, 2016. Image: NASAEarth Observatory Franklin wouldn’t recognize the Northwest Passage today. He and his crew were lost trying to find a navigable path across the top of the world. There’s a strange symmetry to the fact that, as Parks Canada seeks out his missing wreck, thousands of paying passengers are trundling through the Northwest Passage on a monster cruise ship. You don’t need to look any further than that for proof of how much the Arctic is changing.

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