Amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act represent a huge conservation achievement says Nature Canada Conservation experts

Ottawa, ON (June 9, 2016) ― Nature Canada applauds today’s introduction of amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act by federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. The amendments address key conservation oversights in the original 2015 version of the Act, namely making the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity the top priority in the park’s management.

“It is important that Rouge National Urban Park, just like its national park counterparts across Canada, be managed with ecological integrity as the first priority,” says Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada, “As Canada’s voice for nature, we’re very happy to see Minister McKenna’s acknowledgement of this and we applaud and support her for improving upon the original legislation,” she adds.

Rouge National Urban Park protects one of Canada’s most biodiverse ecozones – home to a number of rare and at-risk species, and unique ecosystems that are not adequately captured in the country’s protected areas network. The park also falls on the eastern edge of one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, the Greater Toronto Area, making it an important and accessible area for millions of urban Canadians to connect with nature. Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program speaks to the same objective, citing the value of urban protected areas in addressing so-called “nature deficit disorder”.

The amendments introduced in today’s Bill improve the ecological protections for Rouge National Urban Park. They ensure that park management decisions necessarily protect natural resources and natural processes, giving nature the best chance to flourish.

“The Rouge National Urban Park represents a huge conservation achievement in one of Canada’s most heavily populated and developed regions,” says Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Senior Conservation Manager. “With today’s amendments we’re confident that Parks Canada’s management decisions for the area will enhance nature and natural processes over time – a key proviso given the unique setting for this park.” he adds.

Nature Canada looks forward to reviewing future management plans for the site to see how enhanced landscape connectivity and the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity are taken into consideration.

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To arrange an interview, please contact:

Janet Weichel McKenzie, 613-808-4642 or jweichelmckenzie@gmail.com

Alex MacDonald, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada – 613-324-7003 (mobile) or amacdonald@naturecanada.ca

About Nature Canada
Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province. Nature Canada focuses on effecting change on issues of national significance including bird conservation,  citizen science initiatives, urban nature initiatives, building a national network of conservation organizations, building a network of volunteers to care for critical natural habitat sites across Canada and being a voice for nature at the federal level.