Protect Suffield National Wildlife Area

The Future of Suffield National Wildlife Area:
Prairie Grasslands or Pipelines?

Suffield National Wildlife Area near Medicine Hat, Alberta, is a special space of rare prairie grassland, sand hills and ancient glacial valleys. It's home to at least 15 federally listed species at risk, including the burrowing owl and the loggerhead shrike. But a proposal by energy giant Cenovus to add 1,275 shallow gas wells and 220 km of pipeline inside this protected area would seriously risk the future of this precious prairie habitat.

Nearly three years ago, an independent panel found that the project would likely result in significant adverse effects on species at risk and interfere with the conservation of wildlife.

Suffield NWA is located within the Canadian Forces Base at Suffield.  Environment Canada delegated responsibility for its management and protection to the Department of National Defence.  That’s why Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay is included alongside the Environment
Minister in this letter-writing action. 


Since then, Canadians have been left wondering what would be the fate of one of Canada’s last remnants of “protected” native prairie. No decision has been taken on Cenovus’ proposal and whether or not the necessary permit will be issued.

Please tell the federal government to remove the uncertainty clouding this rare prairie habitat. Send a letter to Ministers Peter Kent and Peter MacKay asking them to do the right thing for Suffield, its wildlife, and for Canadians who value their protected areas and native prairie landscapes. Say “no” to Cenovus.

Photo by Andy Teucher



  • Peter Kent
  • Peter MacKay


Re: Suffield National Wildlife Area

Dear [Decision Maker],

As you know, Canadian energy company Cenovus (previously EnCana) is seeking approval of a proposal to drill 1,275 natural gas wells and construct associated infrastructure in the Suffield National Wildlife Area (NWA). Located near Medicine Hat, Alberta, the Suffield NWA was established in 2003 to protect endangered native prairie and the many species of animals and plants at risk in the area, including at least 15 federally listed species threatened with extinction.

In 2009 a Joint Review Panel conducted an environmental assessment of this proposal and concluded that "[t]he fact that a national wildlife area was created to protect the ecological integrity of this land and the species that occupy it, suggests that great care must be taken to preserve its attributes."

The Panel also said the project would likely result in significant adverse effects on certain species at risk and consequently interfere with the conservation of wildlife if it was allowed to proceed without certain conditions first being met.

You have an opportunity to set a high bar to protect the integrity of this unique, fragile native prairie and to show that Canada's NWAs are meant for conservation, not industrial development. Please deny Cenovus' proposal and request for a permit to expand its drilling operations within the Suffield NWA.

Thank you for considering my views.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, Province Postal Code]

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