The Ronald Lake Biodiversity Stewardship Area (BSA) is a plan developed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation to protect an area immediately south of Wood Buffalo National Park from development.
The proposed BSA area includes watersheds that flow into Wood Buffalo National Park, habitat of the Ronald Lake Bison Herd and other values that support the way of life of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. Protecting this area is part of a larger vision of securing the future of the Peace Athabasca Delta, which is critical to the continuation of Mikisew’s way of life and an important, yet vulnerable, part of the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site.
The idea for the BSA came about through consultation with Mikisew community members. Through that engagement, the BSA was identified as a priority protection area by elders and land users. The BSA also aligns with Mikisew’s petition to have Wood Buffalo National Park added to the List of World Heritage in Danger and Mikisew’s submissions regarding the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan. Most recently, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission recommended that an effective buffer zone be established south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
Mikisew has been working since 2016 to secure the support of government and industry for the BSA. Most recently, Mikisew established a BSA Working Group with Teck Resources Ltd. to develop an engagement plan to move the BSA initiative forward and has presented the BSA to a number of senior government officials and industry representatives. To date, government and industry have been supportive of the BSA concept and have expressed interest in working with Mikisew to make it become a reality.