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SRD gets more money


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April 20, 2005


New dollars to protect Alberta's lands, forests, fish and wildlife :clap:


Budget includes more staff and upgraded firefighting airplanes


Edmonton... A $20 million increase in Sustainable Resource Development's (SRD) 2005-06 operating budget will result in more staff to manage provincial lands, forests, fish and wildlife for the long-term benefit of Albertans. At the same time, a $17.4 million increase to the ministry's capital budget will be primarily used to upgrade the province's firefighting airplanes and airtanker bases.


"With increasing pressures from population and industrial growth, Albertans asked us to step up our stewardship efforts, increase the number of resource managers on the landscape and protect critical wildfire infrastructure. So that's what we're doing," said David Coutts, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. "Resource management is more than allocating resources, it also involves outreach and education. Budget 2005 will help resource managers increase their efforts at the community level."


Increased operational funding highlights include a three-year commitment to:


$4.4 million ($13.2 million over three years) will enhance outreach and education, resource management and enforcement activities in the key areas of land, fish and wildlife (including hiring over 40 full-time and seasonal staff).

$2.6 million ($7.8 million over three years) will boost efforts to help prevent the spread of mountain pine beetles in Alberta's forests.

$2 million ($9 million over three years) will go toward fisheries revitalization.

$600,000 ($1.8 million over three years) will be used to promote forest product and market diversification through a strategic alliance with Forintek, a national research and development organization.

$1.5 million ($4.5 million over three years) will fund reforestation of older cutblocks held by Community Timber Program permit holders and small quota holders.

Increased capital funding includes:


$12 million ($24 million over 3 years) to begin upgrading seven airtanker bases across the province to improve the safety of wildfire operations.

Starting in 2006-07, SRD will receive a $28 million increase over two years to upgrade provincial airtankers (water bombers) to better protect Albertans and their communities from wildfires.

The ministry's 2005-06 operating budget increases to $225 million, as compared to $205 million in 2004-05. Its 2005-06 capital budget increases to $28.2 million, as compared to $10.8 million in 2004-05.

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