The "Wood Buffalo" park is a vast expanse of grasslands, forests, wetlands and lakes. Its 45,000 square kilometers contain one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world, countless flocks of waterbirds and songbirds, as well as ecological cycles and relationships that remain in their natural state.
Unfortunately after an exhaustive federal study of the largest national park in Canada, it was concluded that almost all aspects of the National Park - UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 are deteriorating.
The five hundred and sixty five pages report of the park confirmed that industry, hydroelectric dams and climate change are altering natural cycles, directly affecting the delta formed by the Peace and Athabasca Rivers in northeastern Alberta.
The study published by The Canadian Press establishes that the Delta conformed by the Peace and Athabasca river depends on the recharge of its lakes and basins to retain its value of world heritage.
The study analyzed 17 environmental health measures, from the river flows to the use of them by the indigenous population, from which it was concluded that 15 are decreasing.
Currently, hydrological recharge is decreasing. Therefore, without immediate intervention, this trend will probably continue and the world heritage values of the (delta) will be lost.
Based on decades of research, the report lists 50 pages of citations, making it the most comprehensive assessment study in the region.
Don Gorber, the consultant who led Canada's environmental and climate change effort, said: "There are literally hundreds of different studies underway with respect to the park and the oil sands and the most important changes in the park, are all related to the water and / or the lack or shortage of this ".
For example, flows from The Peace River dropped by nine percent since the Bennett dam was built in British Columbia.
In the same way the flows of the Athabasca river have decreased by 26 percent. (The ice jams that once flooded the wetlands and isolated lakes no longer occur).
As a result of the aforementioned:
1- The home and habitat of the largest population of bison and wild buffalo in North America is shrinking.
2-Invasive species are replacing native vegetation.
3-Migratory birds are beginning to avoid the areas where they once arrived by the millions.
4-Indigenous peoples who depend on their boats to reach many parts of their traditional territory have lost access. (It's basically a waste of the Mikisew culture).
5-A large number of fish deaths have been recorded as a result of standing water and without oxygen.
Unfortunately, the lower water levels concentrate chemical products similar to those produced in the sandy areas.
There are records that even show the presence of heavy metals and toxic hydrocarbons in the eggs of birds.
The scientific community also wanted to express themselves in this regard, and they expressed an alert and / or warning because: "Without water, there are no birds."
Regarding the heavens, "both science and (traditional indigenous knowledge) have indicated a tendency towards low air quality at certain times of the year.
One of the largest groups of conservation scientists in the world says that Canada's largest national park is among the most threatened World Heritage sites in North America.
Only four other sites in North America are as threatened as Wood Buffalo: three of them are located in Mexico and one in the United States.
It should be noted that Wood Buffalo is the only World Heritage site in North America that has deteriorated since 2014 to this date.
After the revelations of the report, it can be concluded that governments need to ensure that the area continues to obtain the volume of water it needs to maintain itself.
The Minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna, when consulted, referred to the issue saying: "Our commitment is real".
For this reason we have decided to contribute with this great investment that will positively support the development of a plan to guarantee the future of our world heritage.
As you can see climate change and environmental damage is undeniable, it is expected that the money allocated to the conservation of the park contribute to its re-construction and improvement.