Edmonton is an urban wilderness! Living and moving in its nearly 3,900 hectares of protected natural areas are deer, coyotes, beavers, skunks, porcupines and the occasional moose. These animals, along with 178 bird species, fish, reptiles and amphibians, share the city’s vast natural areas.
The City of Edmonton initiated an award winning Wildlife Passage Program to ensure these critters safe passage throughout the city. The program was recognized with two awards: the 2015 Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Environment Award and the Alberta Emerald Award.
Since 2009, the Wildlife Passage Program designed and constructed 27 wildlife passage structures in Edmonton and the surrounding area. These structures have reduced wildlife collisions by 51 per cent since installation. The plan also includes wildlife consideration in all transportation and drainage projects.
“A wildlife passage connects natural habitats, promotes biodiversity and prevents isolation of populations,” says Gary Klassen, general manager, sustainable development. “These wildlife passages forge an important link between nature and our growing city and prove our commitment to protect the biodiversity within Edmonton.”
Edmonton’s forward-thinking and responsible plans will hopefully inspire other Canadian cities to follow in its footsteps and show the same care for the wellbeing of Canada’s famously abundant wildlife.
Fact: The Edmonton river valley is the largest urban park in North America, consisting of about 27,400 acres of natural parkland that is home to nearly 250 different species of wildlife.