UNESCO threat results in water management money for Wood Buffalo world heritage site

Under a UNESCO threat to review Wood Buffalo Park's world heritage site status due to oil sands and hydro development, federal Environment Minister provides $60 million for water management. The massive park lies in along the Slave River from Lake Athabasca.

OTTAWA — The federal government says it will provide $60 million over three years to restore the environment of Canada's largest national park.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the money will help answer some the concerns expressed by the United Nations about Wood Buffalo National Park.

Wood Buffalo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the agency has told Canada that the park's status could be reviewed if threats aren't addressed.

They include upstream hydro development, oilsands development and climate change.

Wilkinson says the money is to fund ongoing monitoring and research, such as looking into weirs and other water controls to ensure adequate flooding in the vast river delta.

He says Environment Canada's enforcement branch continues to look for the exact source of oilsands contamination that is starting to seep into some of the park's water.

Wilkinson has released a report to UNESCO detailing Canada's efforts to address the agency's concerns.

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