In 1997, Ducks Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited Canada founded the Western Boreal Forest Initiative, dedicated to protecting wetland and waterfowl habitats in the region. Since that time, many other partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, numerous resource development companies (forestry, oil, and gas), and The Pew Charitable Trusts, have joined this effort. In the northern portion of the region (above the 60th parallel), DU and its partners are working to permanently protect wetland and waterfowl habitats with the support of aboriginal communities that wish to maintain traditional ways of life, including hunting, fishing, and trapping.
Farther south, below the 60th parallel, in the so-called boreal plain, DU and its partners are working closely with natural resource managers in both the public and private sectors to ensure that development activities are conducted in accordance with best management practices that have minimal impacts on wetlands and waterfowl populations. In 2002, DU signed a five-year, $1 million agreement with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries to develop a watershed-based conservation plan for their 14.3 million-acre forest management area. This exciting project is the first step in the development of a far-reaching conservation blueprint for industrial forests on the boreal plain.
Partnerships are extremely important to the Western Boreal Forest Initiative. The success of this very important endeavor would not be possible without the support of numerous aboriginal communities, provincial and federal government agencies (especially the U.S. Forest Service), corporations, and foundations. The Pew Charitable Trusts, for example, has recently committed $12 million to DU in support of the boreal forest initiative, the largest grant ever received by the organization. DU’s corporate partners include Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, BC Hydro, SaskPower, Suncor Energy, Syncrude, Temebc Industries, TrueNorth Energy, and Weyerhaeuser Canada.