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WWF-Canada: Athabasca River Plan Must be Based on Best Available Science

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - March 20, 2014) -  "WWF urges Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to use the best available science in its plan to manage the Lower Athabasca River by including a provision for an Ecosystem Base Flow (EBF). Up to this point, the plan has lacked the critical inclusion of EBF, also known as a low flow cut-off. This is the threshold where withdrawals from the river must cease in order to protect the aquatic ecosystem when it is most sensitive. In other words, EBF is the river's safety net. Without it, water withdrawals for the bitumen mining industry could cause significant harm to nature and wildlife that depend on the river.

For six years, WWF has engaged in the development of the plan and has consistently advocated for the inclusion of EBF. We're not alone. The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, which reviews scientific issues for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, supported the inclusion of a low flow cut-off for the lower Athabasca River. A plan for the Athabasca based on the best available science would certainly heed this guidance and include the necessary provision of an EBF. It would also set a significant Canadian precedent for one of our country's most iconic rivers." 

David Miller, President and CEO, WWF-Canada

Resources

WWF-Canada "Securing Environmental Flows in the Athabasca River" report:

http://assets.wwf.ca/downloads/wwf_canada_athabasca_report.pdf

NGO joint media release supporting DFO's recommendation for low flow cut off (2010):

http://www.wwf.ca/newsroom/?8142/Environmental-groups-support-DFOs-recommendation-for-clear-withdrawal-limits-on-the-Athabasca-River

Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat process (Science Evaluation of Instream Flow Needs for the Lower Athabasca River):

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/SAR-AS/2010/2010_055-eng.html

About WWF

WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. www.wwf.ca

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