WBR Vision

Waterton Biosphere Reserve is a special place where people work together to build resilient landscapes and communities, and where natural and cultural diversity are valued and sustained for current and future generations.

WBR Mission
By working collaboratively with individuals, organizations, governments and others, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve strives to achieve a balance between conserving biological diversity, promoting sustainable use of resources, and building the capacity of local people and organizations to positively affect their communities and the environment.

Listening to the Community 
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) acts as the convenor organization for the WBR, bringing together local community members with government, non-government organizations, and others in carrying out the mission of the WBR.

Cooperation Planning Forum in Cardston, AB – January 2015

In 2015, WBRA undertook a cooperation planning process to guide the future work and direction of the biosphere reserve. Area stakeholders including residents, businesses, industry, government, land managers, First Nations, educators, and other organizations and agencies were invited to discuss common areas of interest and opportunities for collaboration. The WBRA held public Cooperation Planning forums on January 28, 2015 in Pincher Creek and January 29, 2015 in Cardston. In addition to these meetings, the public was also invited to complete a questionnaire regarding the future of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve.

Stakeholders were asked to identify how WBRA could best support, facilitate, and enhance conservation, sustainability and education initiatives throughout the region, focusing on the three core functions of biosphere reserves:


  1. Biodiversity Conservation: What initiatives can we undertake to promote conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, and species?
  2. Sustainable Development: How can we encourage economic and human development that is socially, culturally, and ecologically sustainable (meets the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of future generations)?
  3. Logistic Support and Capacity Building: How can we best improve the ability and capability of our communities to make sound decisions for conservation and sustainable resource use through research, monitoring, education and information exchange?
Just some of the inspiring ideas shared during the Cooperation Planning Forum in Pincher Creek, AB – January 2015

Just some of the inspiring ideas shared during the Cooperation Planning Forum in Pincher Creek, AB – January 2015

Strategic Priorities for Waterton Biosphere Reserve

Following completion of the cooperation planning process, nine strategic priorities were identified. WBR will focus on the following six priorities within the biosphere during 2016-2021:

  1. Support the long-term persistence of large carnivores and ungulates by reducing human-wildlife conflict and promoting coexistence.
  2. Engage community and strategic partners through education and outreach initiatives related to conservation and sustainable development.
  3. Promote conservation of biodiversity, with a focus on issues related to species at risk and invasive species.
  4. Foster sustainable economic activities and explore opportunities for enhancement.
  5. Encourage consideration of the WBR mission in land use and conservation planning initiatives.
  6. Build organizational and financial capacity.

The three remaining priorities will be the focus of efforts in future years as capacity and funding allows:

  1. Collaborate with local indigenous communities on education/sharing around traditional land use, plants as food and medicine, and tribal knowledge.
  2.  Investigate ways to promote the development and use of small scale alternate energy (e.g. solar, wind, geothermal).
  3. Promote linkages between researchers, universities, and the local community.

Cooperation, collaboration and Community Partnerships: Action Plan 2016-2021

A five year action plan was developed to guide work on the strategic priorities and can be found in the WBR Cooperation Plan 2016-2021.

Like other biospheres in Canada, the WBR has no authority over land or water use. Everything we do depends on cooperation, collaboration and community partnerships. The WBR Cooperation Plan will serve as a starting point for moving ahead to address priorities identified by area stakeholders in a coordinated way, with a wide range of partners and potential partners as highlighted in the plan.

We will continuously seek input from area stakeholders and partners and the WBR Cooperation Plan will be periodically reviewed and updated as available resources and opportunities are identified. If you or your organization would like to get involved in the discussion or have ideas for collaborative opportunities, please let us know at:

Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association
P.O. Box 7, Pincher Creek
Alberta   T0K 1W0