August 2008

Suncor Energy Foundation invests in Boreal wetland conservation

Foundation invests $1.5 million in Ducks Unlimited

By S. Prasad


Suncor Energy Foundation, a private non-profit charitable foundation established by Suncor Energy Inc., invested $1.5 million in Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) as part of their efforts towards conserving Canada’s wetlands. DUC is a national, private, non-profit organization that has been involved in wetland conservation for 70 years.

The new commitment will establish a five-year partnership through DUC’s Western Boreal Program (WBP) to enhance best management practices for oil and gas operations that protect and maintain wetland and watershed health. The group’s work will include gathering and sharing examples of best practices in the oil and gas industry, coordinating research into watershed function and helping to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands to all Canadians.

“Suncor recognizes water is a precious resource that must be managed wisely,” said Gord Lambert, Suncor’s vice president, sustainable development. “We want to be part of the solution to help ensure the health of our wetlands and the surrounding boreal landscape.”

Wetland loss is continuing at an alarming rate, and much of DUC’s work involves finding unique ways of engaging landowners, industry, government and the public to conserve wetlands. Wetlands act as natural water filters, reduce the effects of floods and droughts, offer recreational opportunities and provide homes for waterfowl and other wildlife. They are also integral to the removal of carbon, thereby mitigating greenhouse gases.

Eric Butterworth, manager, territorial and boreal operations for the WBP, emphasized the importance of sustaining the wetlands. “There is a strong connectivity within the boreal forest system, which mainly consists of fens, bogs, swamps, marshes and ponds,” he explained. “We have invested in hydrology research at the University of Alberta to better understand the issues of construction in order to protect the disruption to the wetlands. Collaboration with industry is a mutually beneficial situation, and the minerals industry is very much interested in reducing their footprint on the landscape.”

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